Chatham counseling center expands offices to accommodate students

New offices in Eastside building will begin services in February


Chatham’s Eastside campus where new counseling service offices will open in February. Photo Credit: Chatham University

Riley Hurst-Brubaker

After two years of trying to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff changes and new office spaces are aiding the counseling center’s ability to meet students’ needs.

The counseling center is in the process of adding offices in Chatham University’s Eastside building, among other updates, with the goal of beginning to offer appointments there, too, by mid-to-late February.

When the University returned to in-person classes during the fall 2021 semester, conveniences like virtual counseling appointments with the counseling center became more difficult as dorms returned to full capacity and the Woodland Hall office filled with new graduate trainees.

“Last year, we did a lot of telehealth for many obvious reasons, but one of the reasons that it was accessible was because we had de-densified the dorms and so almost no one had a roommate,” said Dr. Jennifer Morse, executive director of counseling and wellness. 

The de-densified dorms made it possible for students to have a counseling appointment from the comfort of their dorm. However, with more people back on campus, it’s now difficult for students to find private spaces for telehealth appointments. 

“We try to give students information on the single spaces at the [Jennie King Mellon] library, but you know, I do wish that we had a little bit more that we could consistently offer with that,” Morse said.

With such limited space on the Shadyside campus, the counseling center had to consider expanding its offices to accommodate growing student needs – and a growing staff of psychologists and psychology graduate students.

“We have identified four offices in a closed suite in the Eastside building and are looking toward slowly but surely opening an extension of the counseling center there, so then we’ll have much more space for trainees and a new staff member,” Morse said.

The counseling center was able to acquire three of the four offices in Chatham’s Eastside building and expects to provide counseling sessions there, starting at one day a week by some point next month. 

During that time, an advanced trainee and a supervisor will be at the Eastside offices to provide support to students.

The fall 2021 resignation of part-time psychologist Dr. Perry Henschke also put some strain on the remaining staff. The counseling center hired Dr. Darla Timbo to fill the position as the new part-time psychologist. 

Timbo will be working from the Woodland office two days a week, up from the one day a week that Henschke was able to work.

While these changes are being implemented, Morse encourages students to take advantage of the 24-hour online peer-to-peer support network, TalkCampus, a downloadable app for students. 

Another program offered is ThrivingCampus, an online database of providers for students to search for counselors in the area who can meet more specific needs. Students can access this database at 

Students in need of walk-in appointments are encouraged to wait if at first there is no one there to assist them. If they continue having to wait, they can ring the doorbell on the wall to notify office workers of their presence.

For more resources regarding mental health, go to the counseling center’s page or the counseling center tab in resources on the ChathamU app.   

In case of an emergency, contact one of the 24-hour mental health hotlines

National Suicide Hotline: Text “HOPELINE” to 741741 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 

Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQIA+): 1-866-488-7386