Counseling Center

Your health and wellness is a priority at NSU. Nothing is more important to us than the physical health and emotional well-being of our students.

Student Center 240 (down the hall from Admissions)



At NSU, we take a holistic approach that addresses every aspect of a student’s life. The effort combines two critical components: NSU counseling and health.





NSU Counseling Services

College students have their own unique concerns, problems and issues.  Our professionally trained counselors understand what students are going through as they adjust to college life. They are there for the students – offering guidance and support when it’s necessary.  Counselors have experience working with the following and more:

  • Homesickness
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Improving confidence and self-esteem
  • Improving study skills
  • Coping effectively with stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Addiction and self-destructive behaviors
  • Sexual orientation


Chemical Health
Northern is ready and willing to offer help withissues relating to alcohol and other drug use, including those who are concerned about others€™ use.Our goal at Northern is prevention ofhigh-risk use, early response to behaviors of concern, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Programs and services at Northern include:
  • Providing identification and referral skills training to residence hall staff, faculty, and other campus personnel through the Social Mentors Leadership Program
  • Providing various support and educational options for students experiencing difficulties including counseling with certified chemical dependency counselors.
  • Offering the Insight Class and Advanced Insight Program, a two-level educational program with corresponding sanctions.
  • Making presentations on a variety of student concerns with emphasis on the role of alcohol
  • Workingclosely with other campus departments in creating a safe and healthy living environment
All contacts with the Counseling Center are confidential. We will not release any information about students without your written permission. This includes parents and other family members, faculty or other university persons or anyone outside the university. Also, students' contacts with the center do not become part of their university record.
Legal limits to the confidentiality we can provide include:
  • Information about child abuse or neglect must be reported to the proper authorities;
  • If a student is dangerous to him/herself or others, steps must be taken to protect the student or those who are in danger;
  • Information about abuse to the elderly must be reported;
  • And, if you are involved in court proceedings, your records can be subpoenaed.

A disclaimer about email:

We discourage people from contacting us via email regarding personal problems. The nature of email is such that we can not guarantee the confidentiality of correspondence, nor do we find email communications as useful as in-depth, face to face contact. Moreover, we can not guarantee that we will read email right away or respond in a timely fashion.


Crisis Counseling and Emergencies

You should contact the Counseling Center for an immediate appointment if you or someone you know is in a crisis situation and/or:

  •     Is unable to stop crying
  •     Has thoughts of hurting self or others
  •     Has not eaten in a few days (not due to illness)
  •     Has not slept in a few days (not due to illness)
  •     Is unable to go to classes (not due to illness)

During Office Hours

  • Please call the Counseling Center at 605-626-2371 to schedule an immediate appointment.  
  • Hours during school year: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Hours during summer: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • After Hours:
    • Students living in a residence hall should contact the RA or hall director, who will contact the community crisis line at 229-1000.
    • Students living off-campus should contact one of the following:
      • Crisis Line: 605-229-1000
      • Avera St. Luke’s Emergency Room: 605-622-5100
      • Safe Harbor (Domestic violence and sexual assault): 605-226-1212​


Group Counseling

The Counseling Center offers a variety of groups each semester. Listed below are many of the groups we usually offer. Membership in any group requires a pre-group interview.


Accepting Your Body

A group for students who would like to improve their feelings and thoughts about the body, especially the one they occupy. This group is designed to help members explore self-messages that may lead to a negative body image and improve self-acceptance.


Relationship Issues

This group is designed to help those who find relationships difficult by providing support and information.

Sexual Abuse Recovery Group

For those in the process of recovering from the traumatic effects of incest and childhood sexual abuse. Our focus will be on discovering ways to heal, empower yourself, and get on with your life.


Stand Up for Yourself

This assertiveness training group covers assertiveness skills such as effective communication, setting personal boundaries, and improving confidence.


Stress Management

A short-term group for individuals who wish to develop healthier ways to understand, assess and cope with stress.


Personal Growth Group

A group for individuals who desire a safe place to receive support and to openly share concerns and experiences regarding personal and relationship issues.


Grief and Loss

The goals of this group is for students to be able to confidentially share their feelings related to experiences of grief or loss. Each year Northern’s Counseling Center provides a directory of support groups available in the NSU area.


Individual Counseling

Personal counseling is offered when life’s challenges interfere with a student’s ability to learn.  The Counseling Center offers individual counseling to meet a variety of personal and academic issues.  If the student's concerns require more extensive services than are offered at Northern, a counselor can assist with an appropriate referral to a community agency.


Insight Program

NSU's Insight Program is an early intervention service for individuals ages 18-20 in the court, and all ages for NSU Student Rights & Responsibilities and the NSU Athletic Department.  Early intervention services are designed to explore and address problems or risk factors that appear to be related to substance use, and help the person recognize the harmful consequences of inappropriate substance use.



The Counseling Center can help students find options for mental health services and treatment and prevention facilities in the Aberdeen area.  Typical referrals might include couple or family therapy, psychiatric consultations, or referrals for family or friends of the NSU community.


S.D. Addiction Treatment Services and Other Resources


Stress Management for Students

Everyone, especially college students, knows what stress is - and the Stress Management Lab offered by the Counseling Center helps students do something about it.  Through individual sessions, students learn simple tension-relieving exercises and find the relaxation technique that works for them.  Participating in the Stress Management Lab helps students develop new and healthy ways of coping with stress.


Health Services 

Located on campus, the Health Services office is staffed with a certified medical assistant(or a patient services representative) and a physician’s assistant(PA).  Open Monday through Friday when school is in session, students can receive free of charge any of the following services with a current insurance card: 

  • Assessment/treatment of acute or sudden onset of illness or injury
  • Lab testing (urine screening, strep throat, blood count and mono screening) free when the tests are determined necessary and collected at the Health Services Office.
  • Over-the-counter medications for common colds, sore throat, cough and headaches
  • Medical equipment such as crutches, vaporizers and hot/cold packs
  • Informational and referral services upon request
  • In addition, Health Services provides referrals to Avera Aberdeen Family Physicians (AAFP) based on the student’s physical and emotional needs.
  • For information on prescriptions, urgent/walk-in care, immunizations and student health insurance click here.