Support with social problems
With the establishment of two social counseling centers, Studierendenwerk would like to provide even better support to students in need in the future. On the one hand, there will be a mobile contact with alternating on-site appointments in the dormitories, and on the other hand, an office in cooperation with the RWTH AStA in the main building at Pontwall.
Providing acute assistance and support is just one of the many areas of activity of the social counseling service, which will open its doors on 7 August. The new services for students are wide-ranging and address all concerns that may arise in the student environment. The aim is to provide solutions and possible courses of action for the many organizational problems outside the lecture hall.
Social counseling is a novelty in Studierendenwerk. Managing Director Sebastian Böstel sees it as an indispensable part of fulfilling the social mission. "Our students are under much more pressure today than in the past and are exposed to ever-increasing stresses. Many of them are simply overwhelmed, have problems organizing themselves, and shy away from going to offices or public counseling centers," he explains. Common issues, he says, include fear of failure, family or other interpersonal conflicts, existential worries, debts, bullying, racism or problems - especially for students from abroad - with authorities and applications. "Sometimes, just the feeling of being left alone with all the burdens inhibits you," says Böstel. That's why it's so important to create low-threshold counseling services and make contact persons accessible via the shortest route, he said.
The focus of counseling is on mediation, less on psychological support. Nevertheless, students should by no means hesitate to make use of the counseling service if they are at a loss. The task of the social counselors is then to classify the situation correctly in order to find an individual offer of help. In the case of financial stress, for example, contact would be made with a debt counselor; in the case of traumatic experiences, an appointment would be made at specialized facilities. Networking with regional contact points is particularly important.