University Counseling Services (UCS) has received over 550 student visits in the first month of the 2016-17 school year. This represents a 15-percent increase over the number of students who sought its services during the same period last year.
More students are seeking out counseling services because more students are coming to college having spent previous time in therapy, Vice President for Student Affairs Barb Jones said in an email. They are also more comfortable in seeking help than they were in the past.
Through an anonymous donation to the University, UCS added two staff members. This increase in employees has allowed the staff to respond better to students’ requests for services, Craig Burns, the head of UCS, said in an email.
“If we did not have the additional staff resources, the increased demand would have resulted in a significant increase in wait times for initial appointments,” he said.
When students seek help from UCS, they can schedule an initial triage appointment within two days of their initial call to UCS.
After the phone assessment, students wait less than two weeks for the first available intake appointment. But Burns pointed out that if a student needs to be seen urgently, he or she can always be seen that day for an emergency appointment.
Despite not expanding the size of its staff, UCS is trying to reach more students, who can now participate in group therapy sessions and consult UCS’s website for help. Staff members are educating students on other places they can seek help both on campus and within their networks of friends and family.
UCS is also continuing to provide outreach and training to campus groups so that they can help students, too. These groups include Resident Assistants, Pride Peers, Cura group leaders, and various academic departments.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that UCS had seen 550 students in September, but it was actually 550 visits.
Featured Image by Sophie Reardon / Heights Editor