NSU Counseling Center focuses on overall student wellness

Outdoor view of campus green

ABERDEEN, S.D. – This month marked both Mental Health Awareness Week and National Disability Employment Awareness Month, but the Northern State University Counseling Center works for the benefit of students all year round.

The NSU Counseling Center works in coordination with NSU Disability Services and Health Services to provide offerings that focus on holistic wellness for Northern students.

Overall health and well-being is critical, said NSU Counseling Center Director Heather Aldentaler. Physical and emotional health are connected in many ways, she said—for example, stress and sleep deprivation have physical effects on the body.

Plus, if you have a broken bone, you would seek health care, Aldentaler said. “What’s the difference when you have a broken heart?”

Free Resource for Students

The Counseling Center is a free, confidential resource in a compassionate, nonjudgmental environment, open to all Northern students. Counseling services are provided by Aldentaler and fellow counselors Kelly Bindenagel and Cory Anderson.

One offering of the center is the Stress Management Lab. This is an individual session that helps students learn simple, tension-relieving exercises and develop healthy ways of coping with stress.

NSU Disability Services serves students with diagnosed disabilities, or who may have undiagnosed disabilities. These disabilities may be permanent or temporary and can include autism, learning disabilities, mobility issues, eating disorders, intellectual disabilities, hearing and mobility issues, among others.

Services provided include accommodations in academics, housing, dining services or elsewhere on campus; and assistance with time management, organizational and self-advocacy skills. Examples include alternate testing and note taking; assistance with allergies; and interpreters and accessible seating.

The Counseling Center and Disability Services are located in Student Center Suite 240 – the same location as NSU Health Services. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call the Counseling Center at 605-626-2371, or Health Services at 605-626-7694.

After-Hours Help

For Northern students who need assistance during non-office hours, South Dakota has free, confidential resources to help:

For more information or to search for resources by region, visit the online Helpline Center.

Special Events on Campus

Northern also hosted two public events to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Week and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Aldentaler said the Counseling Center had an informational table at both of these events. They were:

  • Jason DeShaw, a national award-winning mental health advocate and country musician from Montana, presented “Serenity in the Storm” on Oct. 8. The event was sponsored by Dacotah Bank, Northeastern Mental Health Center, NAMI South Dakota, Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Statewide Independent Living Council.
  • Wellness Symposium: Methamphetamine Epidemic, at which local experts discussed the area’s meth epidemic and the consequences for our community, took place Oct. 15. This project of the Aberdeen Area’s Chamber of Commerce's Health and Wellness Committee featured speakers including Detective Brad Jung, Aberdeen Police Department; Brant Winter, Aberdeen Fire and Rescue; Jim White, Northeastern Mental Health Center; Crystal Christenson, sharing her family's journey; Dave Jansa, Face It Together; and Gov. Kristi Noem.

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a regional university that offers outstanding academics and exceptional extracurricular activities at an affordable price on a safe, welcoming campus. Northern State recently announced its Educational Impact Campaign, with a goal of raising $55 million for a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, new athletic and recreation fields, and an on-campus regional sports complex. Once the campaign is complete, NSU will be the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions