NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Marcia Winters speaks on counseling and health services at NECC

NECC counseling services offers a safe place for students to address problems affecting their lives, and for students, faculty and staff to receive appropriate referrals to aid them in areas of life where they may be struggling.

Marcia Winters, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Social Worker (LCSW) is the counselor for NECC’s Haverhill campus. Newly hired Karen Fehr (LCSW) is the counselor for the Lawrence campus.

“We see students mainly that might be experiencing some difficulties: depression, anxiety, mood disorders, sexual assault, coming out … grief and trauma and alcoholism and drug abuse,” said Winters.

Counseling hours for the Haverhill campus are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday in the Sport and Fitness Center, room D117.

Counseling hours will likely be the same on the Lawrence campus. The location for Lawrence Counseling Services has not yet been posted.

“I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m director here, and before that I was director of counseling at Fisher College and Mount Ida College. And I also worked at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston,” said Winters.

For the first three sessions of counseling, Winters will establish what difficulties the student is having, and then she will likely make a referral for further help. Students cannot use NECC Counseling Services long-term.

“The most common issues are relationships, depression and anxiety,” said Winters. “Also, we see students with learning differences: dyslexia, Aspergers or on the autism disorder spectrum.”

Referrals vary depending on what insurance the student has.

“If they have MassHealth, it’s a little bit more limited … it’s almost impossible to see a psychiatrist,” said Winters. “[With] the school insurance, they get initially eight visits, and then they can reapply for more visits. I think it’s up to 26 visits.”

Winters established the counseling services on Haverhill campus two years ago.

“The counseling and health services here were let go about 10 years ago or 11 years ago,” said Winters.

“They did it for financial reasons; it’d be nice to have at least one nurse here.

“I am familiar, though, with Mass Bay and some of the other colleges, and they do have a nurse. A nurse is good for immunizations and all the record keeping; right now I guess they use [an] outside firm. They’re not medical people.”

“I think they thought that a lot of people didn’t use it because a lot of people really come here as commuters. Because they come back and forth to school, they may have their own primary care outside,” said Winters.

Winters also offers educational resources to students interested in psychology, and she has plenty of references and referrals on file for students to access.

“It’s a warm, safe place to come,” said Winters.

To schedule an appointment with Winters, call 978-556-3104. Health services resources and references for students can be found at http://www.necc.mass.edu/student-services/support/.