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About Norris



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What if I have an emergency or crisis?

Norris Health Center is open between 8am and 4:45pm Monday through Thursday and between 9am and 4:45pm on Friday. A Norris Health Center counselor is on-call everyday during our hours of operation. For students experiencing crisis situations or who have urgent needs that are not life threatening, brief screening sessions (up to 30 minutes) are provided to help stabilize the situation and determine what further treatment may be necessary. An appointment is not necessary but there may be a wait to be seen if the counselor is occupied with another student at the time of your arrival.

For urgent matters that arise when Norris Health Center is closed, you may contact the Milwaukee County Crisis line at 414-257-7222. This crisis line is answered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (24/7).

In the event of a life threatening emergency;
call 9-911 from a campus phone
414-229-9911 from a cell phone
or go to the emergency room
Off campus, call 911

Who are the Norris Counseling Staff?

The Counseling & Consultation Services unit of the Norris Health Center consists of 8 licensed psychologists/licensed counselors, and two psychiatrists.

What kind of counseling services does Norris offer?

Services include short-term individual counseling; couples or relationship counseling; alcohol and drug counseling; eating disorder screening/treatment; crisis intervention; and psychiatry services.

Who is eligible for counseling services?

Students who are currently enrolled for class credits at UWM and have paid the student segregated fee are eligible for services at no cost. Students of all cultures, languages, religions, races, sexual orientation, gender, and ability are welcome to use the Counseling & Consultation Services unit.

What are typical student counseling concerns?

Typical concerns students who seek counseling services have are: stress, nervousness, depression, worry, loneliness, anxiety, guilt, anger, shame, frustration, self-esteem issues, identity concerns, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, sexual assault or physical abuse, and relationship problems.

How do I make an appointment with a psychiatrist or a counselor?

With the exception of emergency situations, please phone or stop by the Norris Health Center to make an appointment in advance. Intake counseling or psychiatry appointments generally run an hour. In the event you cannot come to an appointment you made, it is recommended you cancel the appointment as soon as you possibly can so that some other student can have the appointment time. 

What is counseling?


Counseling provides an opportunity to explore and learn about yourself within a confidential, professional relationship. Increased understanding of yourself and your opportunities may facilitate your adjustment and lead to a more satisfying life. You may explore thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears, and wishes, as well as patterns of relating to others. You may reflect on past decisions or experiences and their consequences, or you may evaluate future goals and decisions.

Your responsibility in counseling is to reflect and share your area of concern. In the initial intake appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs and concerns as well as provide your counselor with important background information. Following this evaluation, your counselor will recommend how your needs might best be met, either through the Norris Health Center, or referral to an outside provider or agency.

Once counseling begins, your counselor will work with you to clarify and deepen your self-understanding, explore options for change, and develop a plan suited to achieve your goals. Counseling is an active process which requires work on your part and may involve exploration of painful events and feelings. Your counselor listens, asks questions, and offers comments. Together, you decide on a focus for your "work".

Between sessions, you gather information: by observing yourself, by recalling or noticing events and relationships, by trying out helpful new behaviors. Counseling is not guaranteed to "solve your problem", but success is most likely when you are an active participant and your communication with your counselor is open and honest.

Are there time limits for being seen?

In order to assist the maximum number of students who seek counseling services or psychiatry medication management services, treatment is offered on a short-term basis only, usually no longer than a semester.  Consultation and referral services are provided for students who may need longer term or more intensive treatment.

Are there any counseling services I cannot get at Norris?

We do not provide ANY mandated services, or those that may require court testimony or reports/letters to be filed with any branch of city/county/state/ or federal courts; any District Attorney, City Attorney, or Municipal Attorney’s Office; any defense attorney’s office; any state department of probation and parole; or any state/ county department of social services where litigation is either involved or pending.  Additionally, we do not provide comprehensive psychological test batteries to determine the presence of learning or vocational disabilities.

Are counseling and psychiatry services confidential?

Your visits with the Counseling & Consultation Services staff are private and no one outside Norris Health Center is given any information about you without your written permission.  None of the information you provide becomes a part of your academic record at UWM.  There are certain limits to confidentiality, such as, if you are a clear and present danger to harm yourself or others; in situations of abuse or neglect to a child under age 18; or in the event of a court order for information.  The counselor can provide a more detailed description of limits to confidentiality during your intake appointment.

What if I need medication, or have a problem with medication. Does Norris offer emergency walk-in psychiatric services?

At present, Norris does not have the capacity to offer emergency psychiatric services. If you need medication, it is best to call to make an intake appointment with one of the psychiatry providers. If you are having a problem with medication, it is recommended you contact the doctor who prescribed that medication for you, or go to the Columbia Hospital Emergency Room for assessment.

Does Norris have support groups?

Norris does offer a dissertation support group, as well as an AODA group, and a general counseling group. For further information, please call the Norris Health Center and ask to speak to or leave a message for the counselors who are conducting groups. There are groups for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and eating disorders that are held on campus, but are not affiliated with UWM or the Norris Health Center.

Does Norris do alcohol or drug assessments?

Norris does have several counselors that specialize in alcohol and drug assessment and treatment, as well as the educational aspects of alcohol and drug abuse.

The Health Promotion & Wellness Department offers education and strategies for individuals who are at risk for experiencing or causing issues related to personal alcohol use. The ACE program includes a group alcohol skills class, brief screening and individual feedback sessions.

If I already have a psychiatrist and/or counselor, can I come to Norris?

In deciding whether to offer or provide counseling services to someone already receiving those services elsewhere, careful consideration must be given to the treatment issues and your welfare. In many instances, your needs might be better met by continuing in treatment with the other counselor, who has the benefit of knowing you and your treatment issues for a longer period of time. However, a Norris counselor or psychiatrist will discuss your issues with you in order to determine what may be in your best treatment interests.

Does Norris write appeal letters?

If you are in need of an appeal letter of some kind, please talk to your academic advisor first to find out if your department/program permits the type of appeal you are seeking, and what you must do to start the appeal process.  Your advisor may ask you the basis for your appeal, and may inquire if the reason is medical, psychological, and/or psychiatric in nature.  Your advisor may suggest that you call the Norris Health Center to ask to speak to the staff person responsible for writing appeal letters.  You do not need to make an "intake" appointment at Norris for this, nor should you come to Norris on a "walk-in" or on an emergency basis.  Needing a letter is not considered an "emergency" or crisis.

      Appeal letters are not automatically written for any student making a request.  The determination if a letter will be written is made on a case-by-case basis.  Students must provide verification of their circumstances before a letter will be considered.  Appeal letters will not be written unless you are receiving medical, psychological, or psychiatric treatment from a Norris Health Center provider.  If you are receiving care elsewhere, it is more appropriate for you to request that your own health care provider write a letter on your behalf.    

      Please be advised that even if a letter is provided to you, there are several departments/programs on campus that might not consider a letter from Norris enough documentation to warrant your appeal.  Please work with your advisor if your department or program asks for additional documentation before considering your appeal.      

What if a Norris counselor recommends that I see a psychiatrist?

A counselor might recommend a student see one of the psychiatrists if it is suspected the student may have either a medical issue, or multiple treatment issues. The psychiatrist acts in a consultative role and will do an intake session with the student to determine what treatment would be best for the student. There are occasions when the psychiatrist may recommend medication to treat certain issues, and occasions where both medication and counseling are recommended. A treatment recommendation is just that....a recommendation. However, if a student declines to follow the recommendation(s), the treatment process will be rather difficult.

What if the psychiatrist recommends medication?

The Norris Health Center has a pharmacy in the lower level of the building that does stock medications commonly used by psychiatrists.  Prescriptions are not free of charge at Norris. There is commonly a co-pay plus a small dispensing fee for most medications.

Can I get drugs for attention-deficit disorder to use as 'study aids'?

In general, the Norris Health Center does not prescribe drugs to be used as "study aids" and particularly the classification of drugs used for treating attention-deficit disorder. The medications used for attention-deficit disorder are "Schedule II" controlled medications. In the United States, the Controlled Substances Act was enacted into law by the Congress as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 USC 13), which created five Schedules (classifications) for drugs. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, a high incidence of physical or psychological dependence, and a recognized medical use. Schedule II drugs are only available by prescription and distribution is carefully controlled and monitored by the Drug Enforcement Adminstration (DEA). Schedule II prescriptions themselves are subject to special requirements of codified federal law: 1) Prescriptions cannot be given over the phone; 2) Computer printed prescriptions cannot be used, only those handwritten or typed, and must be signed by the physician; 3) Prescriptions must be presented for filling within 60 days of issuance; and 4) Prescriptions for Schedule II medications cannot be refilled.

If you are currently seeing a Norris Health Center psychiatrist and have been previously treated with or are seeking to be treated with Schedule II controlled medications, especially for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, you must have acceptable documentation on record at Norris. Documentation can be obtained from your previous medical or psychiatric provider, which will be reviewed by the Norris psychiatrist. If the documentation does not meet the Norris Health Center standard of care, you may be required to undergo a diagnostic re-evaluation. This re-evaluation can be done either with a medical provider in the community, or the UWM Clinical Psychology Clinic (414-229-5521), for which you or your medical insurance would bear the financial responsibility of the evaluation/re-evaluation.

What should I do if I was sexually assaulted?

Go to a place where you are safe from further violation.
  • Anywhere away from the perpetrator(s)
  • Anywhere where other people can assist you
  • Police Station
  • Health Center/Counseling Center/Hospital Emergency Room
  • Women''s Resource Center
Contact a professional, or someone you know who can help you.
  • A friend, housemate, family member, or Sandburg Resident Advisor (RA) who you feel can be supportive
  • A trusted member of your place of worship, community, or extended family
  • The Sexual Assault Treatment Center of Greater Milwaukee (call them at 414-219-5555, 24 hours) specializes in and offers safe & caring services to all survivors of sexual assault. They provide crisis help, medical and counseling services, medical and legal evidence collection, liaison services, and more. They are a local service provider.
  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline offers free, confidential counseling 24 hours a day at 1-800-656-HOPE. They are a national (not local) service provider, however, they can help connect you to local providers.
  • The police - 911 from an off-campus phone or -9911 from an on-campus phone (24 hours)
  • UWM Women's Resource Center (call them at 414-229-2852) professional staff provide crisis counseling, information, referrals and on-going support to UWM students who have been assaulted and their friends and family. For students who want to talk about their experience and learn about their options for support and services at UWM and off campus in a non-judgmental setting, the WRC can be a good place to start. After hours (Mon-Fri 9-5), the WRC Director can be contacted for urgent student situations at 262-352-1890.
  • UWM Norris Health Center (call us at 414-229-4716) Norris staff provide medical and counseling services to UWM students during weekday business hours. If you are in crisis or have experienced a recent sexual assault, mention this to staff and they will prioritize you being able to meet with staff that day.

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