Skip to main content

Diversity and Inclusivity Statement:

UWEC Counseling Services is sensitive and committed to the equity, diversity, and inclusivity of all students. Our missions as well as our ethics require that staff and clients are treated with respect, value, and compassion across all differences. Thus, UWEC Counseling Services' policies and procedures, relationships and interactions with individuals and groups in the campus community are consistent with these values.

UWEC Counseling Services strongly supports all students' success. We strongly realize that for underrepresented students who have the experience of being different from others around them on campus, navigating challenges and reaching graduation day can be more difficult. In UWEC Counseling Services' work with students of color, students with disabilities, first generation college students, international students, as well as LGBTQIA+ students, we are reminded that the campus community needs to continue its efforts to develop resources to make education equally accessible to all people. All of us have a responsibility to make the UWEC community safe and welcoming of all its members.

Why is it important to talk about cultural and diverse backgrounds and mental health?

Student Quote about mental health
Theresa N.

Our cultural backgrounds influence our beliefs, our interactions, our language, how we view the world, how we express ourselves, and our views on mental health. Mental health does not look the same in every culture, which is why it is important for clinicians to be aware of these beliefs and discuss them with their clients. Clinicians may ask about what your cultural identity means to you or how your time on campus has been to better understand your world and your experiences and to be able to work from a more culturally inclusive standpoint.

Diversity resources

Race and ethnicity

Counseling Services provides services to individuals from all cultural and diverse backgrounds.

Clinicians are trained in multicultural approaches to counseling and participate in EDI trainings to be able to provide competent care. Counseling Services is offering a Student of Color process group to provide students a safe space to share their experiences and receive support from their fellow students.

External sources

African American/ Black Students:
NAMI: African American Mental Health

Asian/ Pacific Islander/ Hmong Students:
Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities and Mental Health

Latino/Latina/Latinx Students:
NAMI: Sharing Hope/ Compartiendo Esperanza

Native American/ American Indian: Drawing From American Indian Heritage To Spread A Message Of Hope

Campus resources 

Multicultural Student Services

Ronald McNair Program 

Student Organizations

International students

International Students Coping with Culture Shock By Katherine Schneider

All new students’ first days are ones of adjustment. However, for international students this is even more true. You will be experiencing many different changes when entering college. There are usually four phases that you may experience.

Phases Experienced:

  • Honeymoon: Everything is great, nothing is wrong, you’re having a wonderful time.
  • Shock: There are so many differences in this country that you don’t know how to deal with them. You didn’t think things would be like this.
  • Negotiation: You learn to deal with the problems set before you and try to integrate them with your own beliefs.
  • Acceptance: You are able to live well in the environment with the differences you are experiencing.

Some cultural differences you may experience due to change in customs are:

  1. Friendship: Most people you will come in contact with will be friendly. They will talk about current events, politics, hobbies, and sports. However, personal matters are often not spoken about such as financial or family problems.
  2. Dress: The attire worn is usually informal, unless otherwise told to wear formal clothing. It is not necessary to wear Western-style clothing. Clothing you have brought from home is acceptable.
  3. Greetings: When Americans greet each other, whether male or female, a handshake is gender-ally the custom. Spatial distance is a very important aspect of nonverbal communication. Most Americans stand 3 feet apart when talking.
  4. Schedules: Americans place a high priority on being punctual. The phrase “time is money” is very common. You will be expected to be on time to events that have specific starting times, such as class, dinner arrangements, appointments, etc.
  5. Professors: The relationship between student and professor is usually open and informal. Most professors want their students to talk directly to them about any questions they have, in order to resolve them quickly.

 Symptoms of Culture Shock:

1. Feeling very angry over minor inconveniences
2. Irritability
3. Withdrawal from people who are different from you
4. Extreme homesickness
5. Sudden intense feeling of loyalty to own culture
6. Overeating or loss of appetite
7. Boredom
8. A need for excessive sleep
9. Headaches
10. Upset stomach
11. Small pains really hurt
12. Depression
13. Loss of ability to work or study effectively
14. Unexplained crying
15. Marital or relationship stress
16. Exaggerated cleanliness
17. Feeling sick much of the time

In order to have culture shock, you need not have every symptom on the list. It is possible that only a few may apply to you. These symptoms may also appear at any given time.

Tips for dealing with culture shock

  1. Keep Active. By getting out of your room or outside of your apartment, you are able to experience first-hand what Americans are doing. If you visit public places, such as a shopping mall or sporting events, you will be able to watch and learn how American customs are practiced.
  2. Make American Friends. By having friends you can talk to, you are able to ask them questions about what you do not understand.
  3. Read. At the end of this brochure there is a list of possible websites that you may wish to read to gain more knowledge of the culture you are being introduced to. Accessing the Internet is of no cost to you if used on campus.
  4. Exercise. By finding an activity that you can enjoy, you will be able to reduce stress and depression. Americans like to run and walk on paths. They also like organized games.
  5. Community Activities. Talk with your host family, Resident Assistant, or other Americans about community activities, religious services, or volunteer opportunities to help you become a member of the community while you are here.
  6. Work on Your English. This is an extremely important concept. It is much easier to understand a culture when you can understand the language being used. Ask about any slang terms that you do not understand.
  7. Introduce Yourself to Other International Students. Other international students may be experiencing the same problems that you are. By talking to them, you may be able to find out ways they are coping with problems.
  8. BE PATIENT. Many international students experience culture shock in some way while they are here. Just recognize the problem and give yourself time to get over it. If you need to, keep reminding yourself that this is not permanent.
First-generation students

What does it mean to be a First Generation Student?

First-generation students can come from families with low incomes, or from middle- or higher-income families without a college-going tradition. Some have parents who support their plans for higher education; others are under family pressure to enter the workforce right after high school. Often these students don't know what their options are regarding higher education, and they may have fears about going to college and misconceptions about college and its costs. These students may come from families who speak languages other than English at home or from cultures outside the United States with different education systems. (Adapted from

Celebrating our First Generation Students

Each year, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire joins other universities across the country in recognizing students on November 8th, during National First-Generation College Celebration Day.

The day commemorates the Higher Education Act of 1965, which included initiatives for low-income and first-generation college students. 

External resources

Campus resources
Undocumented students

Confidential space for all students

Counseling Services provides a confidential space for students regardless of documentation status.

Nontraditional students

Why Are Transitions So Difficult?

The excitement of returning to school may carry us through the first few days or weeks of classes. Sooner or later, we can start to feel some of the burdens of wearing multiple hats. Learning how to switch roles is essential for success as a student. Here are some signs that you are struggling with transitioning to your new role as a student:

  • Difficulty finding time to study
  • Trouble balancing all of your responsibilities
  • Feeling like the “oldest person on campus”
  • Not finding the services you need
  • Getting thoroughly frustrated with little things (like finding a parking space)
  • Experiencing the feeling that you will never complete your degree
  • Feeling like “throwing in the towel”

(Adapted from UW Oshkosh)

External Resources:

  • Back to School
  • National Center for Educational Statistics

Campus Resources:

Students with disabilities

Counseling Services is committed to providing equal access to all of their services regardless of ability status. UW-Eau Claire provides a variety of accommodations and services for students to ensure they are able to access the universities services.

External Resources:

Campus Resources:

Gender and sexuality

Counseling Services provides services to individuals of all genders and sexualities and strives to be inclusive in all of its offerings. We currently offer a Gender and Sexuality Support Group, all of our clinicians are Safe Space trained, and we have the ability to advocate for gender affirmation procedures.

What to expect during your assessment for gender affirming treatments: 

Students seeking a letter for gender affirming treatments will meet with a counselor who will review a number of topics based on what is encouraged by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and what is required by insurance providers. Some of these topics will include, an overview of the student's gender journey, goals for the treatment, supports in place, recovery plans, risks and benefits, etc. The letter can be typically completed within a week of the assessment session.  These can be brief sessions where a student just obtains their letter or they can be ongoing services where the student receives support throughout the process.

Gender Affirmation Binder Program

Students are now able to access FREE GC2B binders in the Campus Closet!! The Campus Closet is located in Brewer Hall Room 271 and is open M-Th from 2pm-5pm.

Students will find the binders located in the first dressing room which has a sign saying “binders here.” In this room, students will also find a guide on how to measure themselves for the correct size binder and a measuring tape to use.

Students can then pick from a variety of binders provided. If the student does not see a binder in the size they would like, they can email Ashley Walton-Beal at and she can try to get other sizes. We cannot guarantee any size or style but we will do our best to find something that works!

Once the student has chosen the binder that works best for them, they will need to take the tag off of it and put it in the envelope provided in the room and return the hanger to the box indicated. These tags will be used to track what binders are taken for data purposes only and to help us know what styles and sizes are popular for re-ordering requests.

The student can then put it in a bag in the dressing room or their backpack. To “check out”, the student just needs to tell the front desk their student ID number and the number of items taken. There does not need to be any mention of what item was taken. If no student is at the desk, there is a self-checkout jar. There are slips of paper by the jar and the student would again just indicate student ID number and number of items taken.

Students are also encouraged to return binders that do not fit correctly or donate binders that no longer work for them to help keep the program sustainable. This is NOT a requirement!

Any questions please contact: Ashley at

What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?

- Lesbian -- women whose primary emotional and physical attractions and attachments are to other women

- Gay Men -- men whose primary emotional and physical attractions and attachments are to other men.

B - Bisexual -- individuals whose primary emotional and physical attractions and attachments are to more than one gender.

T - Transgender -- a broad term that encompasses numerous identities in which typically ones gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. A transitioning transgender person is one who is modifying their physical characteristics and manner of expression 

Q - Questioning - -someone who is questioning their sexual or gender orientation.

I - Intersex -- Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including chromosomes, gonads, genitals, reproductive organs and hormonal levels) that don't fit the typical definition of male or female bodies. It's an umbrella term that covers many different biological variation

A - Asexual -- an individual who experiences a minimal or lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people

+ -- a sign to indicate a wide variety of other identities

What people in these groups all have in common is that they're considered sexual outlaws of one form or another by much of mainstream society. For more terms please see the glossary of terms provided by the Human Rights Campaign.

(Adapted from the work of Dana Alder - UW-Madison, definitions provided by the Human Resources Campaign)

Useful resources

Campus resources 

Gender and Sexuality Resource Center 

You will find all available LGBTQAI+ support programming and resources offered on campus through the button above to the GSRC. 

Dean of Students 




Religion and spirituality

For some individuals, religion and spirituality are a significant part of their life. Religion and spirituality can be an effective resource for support and understanding.

External Resources:

Campus Resources:

We want to hear from you

Please enter your name

Please enter a valid email address

Please enter a valid phone number

Please enter a message