The College of William and Mary is currently designing its up-and-coming Integrative Wellness Center, which will be completed in 2017. The IWC will incorporate the Counseling Center, Health Center, Office of Health Promotion and a satellite office of Campus Recreation into one central building, which will be located where the lodges currently stand.
The most notable aspect of the Center is its goal of holistic health that incorporates mental and physical health. By taking a rounded approach, the IWC is promoting self-care through community education and involvement. Wellness then becomes more than treating an illness — it becomes a routine in which self-care is prioritized in all aspects, both mental and physical. This holistic approach to wellness can eradicate the stigma that often surrounds sensitive topics, especially mental health. Moreover, the central placement of the IWC on campus will also combat the stigmatization of mental health specifically by incorporating the Counseling Center into an openly organized building, rather than a highly isolated corner of Blow Memorial Hall. By placing the Counseling Center in a large building central to campus, it affirms that health, and notably mental health, is a priority that students can feel comfortable addressing openly.
Internal improvements within the departments are still necessary to bring students a higher level of care. Without internal efforts, the integration of services will not result in a holistic approach at all, and would cause tension between branches within the IWC.
Given all of this potential, integrating student health and wellness services is not enough to overcome any current problems each department currently faces. Internal improvements within the departments are still necessary to bring students a higher level of care. Without internal efforts, the integration of services will not result in a holistic approach at all, and would cause tension between branches within the IWC.
In order to reach the IWC’s holistic goal, each center will need to address its own internal problems before the move into the IWC. Most notably, the Counseling Center should have a full-time psychiatrist hired by the time it moves its office. The other centers should likewise be sure that their basic services are at the highest possible level of provision. Incorporating alternative medicines such as yoga, biofeedback and acupuncture is a great idea, but if basic treatment and education services are not met, these new provisions will have little positive effect.
Madeline Bielski recused herself from this Staff Editorial.