Students seeking help at Hunter’s Counseling & Wellness Services have a comfortable, newly renovated space in which to wait for their counseling appointments. The Dr. Perry D. Hoffman Counseling Welcome Center — dedicated in June of this year — was created as a reception area with a $100,000 gift from Bruce Hoffman. A fitting tribute, it honors Hoffman’s late wife, a clinical psychologist who co-founded the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, a serious mental illness. Hoffman’s grandmother Belle Steinhardt ’05 and great aunt Rose Steinhardt were Hunter alumnae.
“Over the past several years, but especially during this semester, the volume of students coming to us has grown,” said CWS Director Staci Ortiz.
“With so many students seeking counseling, it’s great to have an inviting, well-lit space for welcoming them and putting them at ease. We thank Bruce Hoffman for his thoughtful contribution to student life and well-being.”
Students may seek support at CWS for anything affecting their mental health, from daily stressors to mental-health crises, Ortiz said.
The war in the Middle East and the turbulent atmosphere it has created on campus has ratcheted up anxiety among students, many of whom trace their roots to the area. In a statement about the hostilities, Hunter President Ann Kirschner urged anyone needing support to avail themselves of the college’s counseling services.
From the start of the Fall ’23 semester until the last week of October, CWS held 800 appointments for 255 students, according to Ortiz. By comparison, in the same period last fall, it held 535 appointments for 235 unique students. Students most frequently reported concerns about anxiety/fears/worries, school work/grades, low energy/amotivation, depression, and relationships. A third of students seeking support indicated current or recent thoughts — or even attempts — of suicide.
Counseling & Wellness Services provides hybrid but primarily in-person mental health services for all enrolled students, including clinical evaluation, referrals, short-term individual counseling, crisis intervention, and outreach programming, as well as consultation services for faculty and staff. CWS offers virtual psychoeducational/skills-based workshops for managing distress and a venue for interpersonal connection and mutual support.