Student Counseling Visits Increase
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
In the past four years, student visits to the Center for Counseling & Student Developmenthave increased significantly, Associate Director Charles Beale said.
Beale said this is not just an increase that can be seen here at the university, but rather an example of a current national trend.
“Our data reflects national increases,” Beale said. “For example, last year we saw about 9 percent of the university student population, a number slightly more than the national average because more students are coming for help.”
He said an increasing number of students who go in for counseling experienced treatment prior to attending college.
Junior Nicole Latino said this could be due to the growing acceptance of mental health treatments around the country.
“I think it’s becoming more acceptable to seek help,” Latino said. “People are beginning to realize that having a mental problem doesn’t mean the world will think you’re crazy, but just that you need a little help getting through your current situation.”
Beale said the increase in counseling visits has not been the only thing that changed, but also the reasons students decide to go has changed. Beale said students go for financial reasons in addition to emotional and academic reasons.
Junior Marisa Hedricksaid academics are not the only stress factor for students.
“In today’s time, I think a lot of stress can be caused from the importance of having a social life, good body image and having relationships all while trying to fit in,” Hedrick said.
Latino said relationships are stressful because they require communication and patience, which can be difficult for people to have when they have other things to concentrate on.
The university provides one-on-one consultations with students but, in addition, there are “robust” group therapy sessions that students can attend which are highly recommended, Beale said.
There are also hundreds of outreach programs as well as suicide prevention training, he said. They also reach out to faculty and staff to see if they have any recommendations or requests for programs when their students seem stressed.
Another possible way to help students that might not want to have a face-to-face consultation would be a form of electronic counseling, Latino said.
“I think there are some students that may feel too embarrassed to go to a meeting so it might be a good idea if the school set up a hotline or email account to answer any questions anonymously,” she said.
Beale said in the past year there were almost 2,000 consultations from faculty, parents and students expressing their concerns, which was a 49 percent increase from the previous year.
Another thing that counseling centers across the country have been keeping an eye on are students reacting to the shootings around the country.
Horowitz, sociology professor,said he can see reactions in his students in the classroom as well.
“One of my own students was murdered last semester, so I’m sure this is a source of some concern, though there are other troubling situations far more likely to happen in the lives of our students here,” he said.
Beale said there are certain issues that affect every student differently and all students should seek help if they feel that they need it.
“It’s important that the university sees the importance of the counseling center—and here, we have an immense understanding of the mental health needs of our students,” Beale said.