Counseling Center lacks staff

Sarah Harris

I wrote a piece a couple years ago addressing the fact that students need to talk about mental health more often. But two years later, this is still a problem on our campus.

We are so quick to tell people how we have a cold or how we had the stomach flu over the weekend. Yet you rarely hear someone talk about how they felt mentally over the weekend, how they couldn’t get out of bed because they were depressed. Or how they spent the weekend at home because of their anxiety. Or how they spent the morning staring at their stomachs in the mirror, battling an eating disorder. Mental health issues aren’t pretty, but neither is the flu.

As many people are aware, college students tend to deal with a lot of mental health issues.

About one-third of college students in the U.S. struggled to function in the last 12 months due to depression and almost half said they felt overwhelmed with anxiety in the last year according to a 2013 National College Health Assessment. I can only imagine what those numbers looked like in 2014 or what they will look like in 2015.

More than 30 percent of students who seek mental health services said they have seriously considered attempting suicide at some point in their lives, according to the American Psychological Association.

Quinnipiac offers counseling services, but there’s a big problem with them. The counseling center is only open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the weekdays.

If you visit the counseling service tab on MyQ, it lists offered services. And under “Ugent Visit Services” the site reads, “Any student in crisis is seen immediately by a counselor during reserved urgent visit hours.”

Are you serious? Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is?

If you have ever struggled with any mental health problems, were you able to plan the time that you had a major meltdown, a panic attack or a mental health emergency between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.?

That’s what I thought.

The lack of a counselor in the health center 24/7 is saddening because it tells me that the school doesn’t see mental health issues as important as physical issues. The school provides 24/7 nurses for the Health Center though. But unfortunately mental health has just as much of an opportunity to take someone’s life as a physical ailment can. And if that 24/7 counselor is able to save one person’s life, I think it’s worth the investment.

Another problem I have is the process of getting an appointment.

If you Google UConn’s health services, you are taken to a page where you can take a screening online, press a big red button that says immediate help or a “How Do I Get Started” button, or get a number to schedule an appointment.

When you Google Quinnipiac University Counseling Centers, you’re taken to a page that gives an unimportant introduction that explains their goals and a list of mental health issues people struggle with. Then, once you scroll down, you see the (poor) office hours, followed by a sentence that says you can fill out an intake form to create an appointment.

Now, it does link to the required form. But, most students wouldn’t Google Quinnipiac counseling. Typically, they would go to their MyQ account. And here, the student must navigate the homepage. A student might initially look at the Health Services page. But the health services page says nothing about the counseling services. So the student than has to find the counseling service page which is under the student life tab. And then once on that page, on the left, is a red column with the necessary information. But after the ease of navigating UConn’s page, the Quinnipiac page confirmed to be unnecessarily challenging.

If the students want something to change than we must demand that change. We can’t just complain about it to each other. We recently published about the hours of the York Hill Health Center and how students are unhappy with their hours of operation. If students push to get more services it would better the entire community. These services could potentially bring students back from the edge and prevent suicides. And with everything going on with campus shootings and mental health, isn’t such a service deemed necessary?