The Office of Counseling and Wellness has been receiving an overwhelming number of students needing services. Unfortunately for students seeking counseling services, this means long wait lists and a lack of resources.
With 17 percent of the student body needing counseling services — according to Deborah Harper, director of the Office of Counseling and Wellness — eight full-time psychologists and social workers are not enough. The high demand and small staff do not give students the adequate attention and help they need.
Harper attributes the high demand for services to the college’s more rural setting — which does not provide many off-campus counseling and therapy options — and because residential colleges see a higher demand than commuter campuses. Harper also noted that students prefer to seek on-campus resources due to lack of time, transportation, monetary means and privacy when using insurance provided by parents or guardians if students were to use off-campus resources.
The college needs to acknowledge that students need a place they can turn to when they need help that has a reasonable wait time. The office needs more funding and a larger budget in order to hire more part- and full-time staff, which the college must make a priority. Mental health needs just as much attention as physical health, especially when students may be experiencing stress from classes and outside activities.