With all the late night cramming sessions and a steep learning curve when it comes to learning how to make healthy choices, college can be taxing on students’ bodies and minds, which is why the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Wellness Center is designed to provide students with all the healthcare services they need in one convenient place.
According to UNO’s Wellness Center website, the Wellness Center consists of three departments, including Campus Recreation, Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Each department is designed to cover a different sector of healthcare.
The Campus Recreation department, more commonly referred to as HPER, helps students stay physically fit year-round by providing a variety of group exercise classes and intramural sports teams as well as state of the art workout equipment, an indoor track and rock wall.
As an added bonus, students don’t have to pay monthly membership fees like they would at an off-campus gym because it’s already included in their semester fees.
Health Services, which is located in room 102 in HPER makes up the second half of the physical healthcare available to UNO students, and according to Julie Kalasek, who is a registered nurse and the Assistant Director of Health Services, is also paid for with the use of student fees.
“What the student gets back for that student fee is the office visit to see the physician or nurse practitioner when it’s not a wellness visit is absolutely free,” Kalasek said. “The cost to see a physician out in the community is anywhere from $100 to $150 for just a sick visit and that’s what is waived off of student’s bills [in Health Services].”
Kalasek said students do have to pay for tests run at Health Services, but the cost is lower than visiting an off-campus doctor’s office. Students also have several options when it comes to deciding how to pay their healthcare bills.
“We’ll certainly bill insurance if that’s your wish,” Kalasek said. “We can also put your bill on your student account, so if you don’t have insurance or have a high deductible plan, you might want to put it on your account.”
Health Services is staffed by physicians who work in the surrounding community and is similar to a family practice doctor’s office. It provides students with basic healthcare needs, such as flu shots, physicals, STD testing, x-rays and blood work. which makes it easy for students to take care of themselves without leaving campus.
“You’re in a new adult arena here and you have to take ownership of your health,” Kalasek said. “We will answer all of your questions from head to toe about anything, and if we can’t find the answers, we’ve got physicians and will find the answer for you and help you.”
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which is located in room 102 of HPER, makes up the final component of the Wellness Center and provides for students’ mental health needs.
According to CAPS Assistant Director Nate Bock, short-term counseling, consultations, emergency and prevention services, couples and group counseling and outreach and wellness services are available to students at little to no cost.
Bock encourages students in need of help to reach out to CAPS and stresses the importance of fighting the stigma surrounding mental healthcare.
“We don’t hesitate if we get physically injured to do physical therapy or something to get back on our feet again,” Bock said. “Most of the time people function really well but at times our mental health can effect our function. By treating it for a little while we can get back to where we were or stronger.”