Lydia Zopf: Director of Health and Counseling Services

Learn more about the Director of Health and Counseling Services at Carthage, Lydia Zopf, and what types counseling services Carthage offers so you can take care of yourself as finals are approaching rather quickly, and it’s important to know the resources available on campus if you need anyone to talk to.

HC: How long have you been working at Carthage, and what is your job title?

LZ: I have been here since September of 2017, so less than eight months, and I am the Director of Health and Counseling Services.

HC: What does your job entail?

LZ: I am responsible for the day to day operations of our health counseling center. I make sure that we have policies and procedures in place to meet the needs of faculty and staff. I help the Carthage Community in providing outreach to groups providing workshops for students and faculty to learn about specific topics. Also, I provide direct counseling to students and consultation to faculty and staff.

HC: What is your educational background?

LZ: I graduated from Carthage in 2006 with a degree in sociology, and I have a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. I have additional specialized education training to work with people with disabilities, mental illness and expertise in working in trauma services which includes sexual trauma and complex trauma who are individuals who have experienced more than one dramatic event in their life. I also am trained in cultural competence which focuses on intersectionality by looking at someone who is already a part of a marginalized group and how that can affect what that person is going through.

HC: What influenced you to become a counselor?

After studying sociology, you learn about the systems; however, I wanted to be on the other side and understand how systems impact people. In addition, my family has a long history of mental health and it is inspiring, which is why it is meaningful.

HC: What types of qualities do you think good counselors possess?

LZ: I think good counselors are approachable, nonjudgmental, and they firmly believe the person sitting right in front of them is the expert in that person’s life.

HC: What types of services does the counseling center at Carthage offer?

LZ: We offer outreach programs for the Carthage community, consultation for students, faculty, and staff, victim survivor support services. Our counseling services are short term, usually three to six sessions.

We take the lead of the student that comes in and understand what their needs are. We listen to the patient’s needs, identify stressors or underlying mental health conditions, and use evidence-based counseling techniques to help improve symptoms and quality of life.

If we have students who need longer-term or more intensive treatment, we help them get connected to a provider in the community that takes their insurance. We can also help make phone calls to insurance companies and counselors. If we are unable to get the student set up with a counselor right away, we continue with them until we find someone because we do not want to create a gap in services. 

HC: Where is the counseling center located?

LZ: We’re located in the TARC on the main level right between the dance studio and the fitness center

HC: What are the hours for the Health and Counseling Center, and how can someone go about making an appointment. Are there walk-in hours?

LZ: We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.. You can set up an appointment by giving us a call at extension 5710 or stop by and set up an appointment. From 11:30-1pm are our walk-in hours and appointments aren’t needed. We go on a first come first serve basis.

HC: If someone is unable to make an appointment, what other things do you recommend doing to practice wellness during his or her downtime?

LZ: Do imperfect actions. Try something even if it is not perfect- just start somewhere. If you think exercise could be helpful, but you do not feel like going to gym, raise your arms and stretch. Increase social interactions. Grab a friend and grab an apple. See friends at meal times. Avoid isolation. Stick to a routine. Allow yourself to have a small wind every day.

HC: If a student needs to talk to someone during the hours that the counseling center is not open, what are the different hotlines a student can call?

LZ: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, confidential support 24/7. The phone number is 1-800-273-8255 and there website features an outline chat function. Locally, the city of Kenosha has 24/7 crisis intervention services. Their number is 262-657-7188 and the Crisis Prevention Center is located at 1202 60th St.

HC: Why should students utilize this center?

They are taking care of themselves, and they realize external support is good to know themselves better. It can change lives and save lives. Counseling is different from talking to a friend or family member because the counselor is someone who is very insignificant in your social life, so you feel more comfortable saying things to someone else, and no one judges.

HC: How do you, yourself take time to practice wellness after counseling others on an everyday basis?

LZ: I separate work from home which allows me to have my own personal life. I am a musician, I play the piano and play music with people. I love to garden, I am an artist- I love to make all types of things. I value relaxing and resting, watching Netflix and playing board games. Also, I’m aware of my own mental health needs, and I understand those days and moments that I am having a hard time, and I make sure to take care of my own mental health.

Don’t hesitate to set an appointment or use any of the hotlines listed above. I promise the counselors won’t bite. They are non-judgmental and confidential with everything you tell them. Just remember, it’s always important to take care of yourself.