Office of Wellness
Supporting the School of Law’s mission to cultivate highly competent, socially responsible legal professionals, the Office of Wellness believes that a healthy emotional life is fundamental to personal, academic, and professional success. Honoring individual strengths and differences, core values, and the lifestyle demands of legal study, our office provides compassionate, professional services supporting emotional balance and growth while encouraging individuals to reach their potential.
Our free and confidential direct services include:
- Screening and assessment (currently enrolled students)
- Individual, group, and couple’s counseling (currently enrolled students)
- Emergency response
- Area, community, and campus referrals
- Student, faculty, and staff consultation
- Wellness and mental health-oriented educational programming
And additionally, in collaboration with other university offices:
- Psychiatric evaluation and treatment
- 24-hour emergency response
Wellness may mean many things, subjective in-part to each individual, dependent on unique aptitudes, experiences, or worldview. Perhaps individual wellness entails parts well-roundedness, adaptability to circumstances, or an open frame-of-mind. Overall wellness can be looked at in parts: social, academic, spiritual, physical, etc. Our office believes that emotional wellness can be achieved through deepening our understanding of ourselves, embracing our emotions (positive and negative alike) in constructive ways, and managing our life’s challenges with new or different approaches.
Our staff is here to embrace each student’s own personal vision of wellness, identify avenues and alternatives, and provide support in each unique path of personal growth and fulfillment.
Screening is a clinical interaction with the purpose of deciding whether professional help may be needed. A brief face-to-face screening is done at the outset of therapy at a student’s first visit. Many individuals experience some ambivalence about making an initial appointment, and even though we encourage a “no issue is too small” stance to counseling, sometimes more information can be helpful. Students can access a free, confidential screening for many common issues here: College Response Screening for Mental Health.
Assessment is a more in-depth, face-to-face process that focuses on what the therapy will “look like” when therapy is recommended. The clinician evaluates the student’s characteristics and concerns, explores psychosocial factors relating to presenting issues in comprehensive fashion, and works toward an individualized plan for treatment. The counselor may recommend a combination of services provided by the Office of Wellness (individual counseling, group counseling, psychoeducational programming), School of Law (student support services), Counseling Center (psychiatry), and other campus offices—and may make referrals to other resources in the community. Treatment options are considered with regard to each student’s unique needs.
Students may set up a non-urgent Assessment (initial appointment) through MyLaw, by phone, by email, or in-person. For urgent concerns during normal hours, students should use our urgent-access number: 980.288.5288. For crisis response after 5:00pm, students should access university police: 919.530.6106.
As part of a treatment plan, your counselor may recommend a course of individual counseling—a series of confidential, face-to-face meetings with a counseling professional focusing on issues related to the individual’s presenting concerns. Needs are periodically re-assessed in this process and treatment is adjusted accordingly.
Students choose to become involved with counseling for a range of issues or concerns. Attending professional school, it is common for individuals to develop difficulties for the first time in one’s life; likewise, it is common for difficulties in one’s history to re-emerge or for existing issues to exacerbate. No matter your circumstances, it can be helpful to speak with a counseling professional in a safe environment.
It is important to note that our counseling services are confidential, free, and non-judgmental. And, in most cases, no official “diagnosis” is entered in one’s confidential record.
Many individuals find group counseling to be a useful supplement to their own individual counseling, or an essential support on its own. The Office of Wellness at times offers both brief and longer-term theme-based group experiences, subject to availability.
Students interested in group offerings should inquire in-person at the time of the first appointment.
In some cases, a student’s concerns may be beyond the scope of services provided. Alternately, some students prefer to receive services off-campus for a variety of reasons. The Office of Wellness is available to assist in connecting students to appropriate treatment providers—whether at the outset of therapy, after assessment, or in the course of treatment.
Please note that the Office of Wellness does not provide court-ordered treatment. We can, however, offer referrals to area agencies that do provide this service.
Education and Outreach
The more we know, the better we are able to guide our lifestyles in ways that foster wellness. In some cases, a burgeoning problem can even be mitigated before it becomes a real source of disruption. Our office acknowledges the importance of the different facets of wellness, and understands how they intersect with issues of emotional and mental health—and the demands of professional school. With that perspective in mind, we are available to present on topics suitable to the needs of your group or event. Students, faculty, or staff members interested in wellness programming should make a request by email with details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When a student’s well-being becomes a point of concern, our office is available to faculty, staff, friends, and family members for consultation. Consultation can be useful in mitigating confusion that surrounds mental health concerns, and it can be helpful in determining “what to do next.”
Consultation for non-life-threatening situations may be done by phone (919.530.5156) or may be arranged in-person during our normal business hours. It is important to note, however, that the Office of Wellness abides confidentiality and may not be able to discuss protected student information.
Appointments and emergency response
Students may set up a non-urgent assessment, consultation, or follow-up visit through MyLaw, by phone, by email, or in-person. Please note that email confidentiality cannot be ensured. Our staff makes every effort to schedule students as quickly as possible, usually within a week of request, often same-day. Students can access a brief appointment by walk-in between 8:30-9:00am and 1:30-2:00pm.
For emergency concerns during daytime hours, students (or concerned parties) should use our urgent-access number: 980.288.5288. In-house counseling staff will be available for consultation and response.
For crisis response after 5:00pm, students should access university police: 919.530.6106. The University Counseling Center counselor-on-call is available 24/7 to respond to your emergency.
Individuals tend to differ considerably in what is “seen as an emergency.” As a rule-of-thumb, an affirmative response to ANY of these would indicate an emergency intervention:
- Suicide thoughts, or thoughts about hurting oneself
- Acute anxiety, and inability to calm oneself
- Thoughts about hurting others
- Out-of-control, confused, or disorganized thoughts
- A recent traumatic event (sexual assault, physical assault, personal disaster)
- Inability to take care of one’s basic needs
- Acute drug or alcohol intoxication or withdrawal
- Fear for personal safety (stalking, receiving threats, anticipating violence)
Student Disability Services
In keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), (42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213 (amended 2008)), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, (29 U.S.C. § 794), the School of Law strives to create a community of equal accessibility for its students. In cases of learning disability, psychological disability, or physical disability, a student may be entitled to classroom accommodations to correct disparities in accessibility. Accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, appropriate to a student’s functional limitations, based on requisite documentation.
Students with a disability who wish to request accommodations and services are required to register with Student Disability Services (SDS) in Suite 120, Student Services Building. SDS staff can be reached at 919.530.6325 or by email at email@example.com . Students new to the accommodations process should contact the SDS office to set up an appointment. Previously-registered students can resubmit a request by visiting the SDS website and clicking on the Accommodate link. Law students are encouraged to update accommodations annually, during the first 2 weeks of the academic year. After accommodations are approved by the SDS Office, additional questions regarding exams or other concerns can be directed to the Office of Wellness.
The Office of Wellness is available for consultation in disability-related matters, and can also provide referrals for area specialists when documentation is needed. In some cases, we may be able to serve as a partial-documentation source.
For oft-speculated but yet-elusive reasons, attorneys are statistically prone to substance-use and alcohol-use problems. Stress, lifestyle, co-occurring mood issues, and the professional culture are possible factors.
Some students may begin to develop substance-use or alcohol-use issues for the first time during the course of their professional study. For others, they may be entering professional school after substance-use treatment in their past. For many, recovery can be a lifelong process.
The Office of Wellness can assist students in the journey of recovery. Please note, however, that we do not provide court-mandated alcohol or drug treatment—though we may be able to provide counseling required by the university or by professional practice boards. Our recovery-oriented services include:
- Substance/Alcohol Use Disorder screening and assessment
- Individual counseling
- Area referrals: specialists, programs, support groups
The NCCU Counseling Center is staffed by psychologists and mental health professionals specializing in a variety of counseling and counseling-related services. Like the Office of Wellness, services are generally free and confidential—and nonjudgmental in nature. Counseling Center staff offer individual and group counseling, consultation, referral, outreach services, and is part of the university’s wrap-around crisis response. For a modest charge, medication evaluation and management is provided by psychiatry staff. For more information about services, visit the Counseling Center website here.
The NCCU School of Law provides its students access to BarCARES, a cost-free program providing short-term intervention for a variety of concerns. Its health provider, HRC Behavioral Health and Psychiatry, offers counseling for personal concerns (mood disorder, substance abuse, financial issues), family issues (marital discord, children, parenting), work issues (job stress, performance, workplace conflict), and academic-related problems (time management, organization, etc.)
Students can connect to the BarCARES program by contacting the NCCU BarCARES liaison at 800.640.0735.
LAP (Lawyer Assistance Program)
The Lawyer Assistance Program provides comprehensive services for law students, and contact is free and confidential. One of the primary goals of the LAP is to provide assistance to law students before problems become debilitating. Services include counseling, support, and referrals—as well as guidance and assistance with the character and fitness portion of the bar application.
Students can connect to the LAP by contacting the area liaison, Nicki Ellington, at 919.719.9267.
Office of Wellness’ Staff:
Brett Bowers, LPCS, LCAS, NCC, MAC is a licensed professional counselor supervisor and licensed clinical addictions specialist with 12 years of clinical experience in university settings. As a mental health generalist, he works with a broad scope of clinical concerns. Honoring differences, he adapts counseling and treatment to fit the unique needs of each individual.
See more about Brett at his profile.
Resources & Self-Help
|Student Disability Services||919.530.6325|
|Student Rights and Responsibilities||919.530.7492|
|Office of Scholarships and Student Aid||919.530.6180|
|Women’s Center (interpersonal violence, gender issues)||919.530.6811|
|Campus Recreation and Wellness|
|LGBTA Resource Center|
Local—for self, friends, or others:
|Emergency Communications (“CIT officer” for mental health emergency)||911|
|Durham Recovery Response Center (mental health crisis & assessment||800.510.9132|
|Durham Crisis Response Center (interpersonal violence)||919.403.6562|
|Planned Parenthood (birth control, STI testing)||919.286.2872|
|Durham Police (non-emergency)||919.560.4600|
|Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC|
|Go Durham (Durham & Triangle area transit)|
|LGBTQ Center of Durham|
|Alcoholics Anonymous, Durham area|
|Narcotics Anonymous, Durham area|
|Legal Aid of NC, Durham office|
Office of Wellness
Legal Clinic (lower level), room 36 Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm Walk-in: 8:30-9:00am, 1:30-2:00pm Phone: 919.530.5156 Fax: 919.530.7982
Daytime emergencies: 980.288.5288 After-hours crisis: 919.530.6106
Brett Bowers, LPCS, LCAS, NCC, MAC