State universities are overrun with students seeking mental health counseling, unable to meet the growing demand.
As a result, according to a Tampa Bay Times story, students struggling with depression or other mental illness must wait for weeks, even a month, before being seen.
Ten of Florida’s 12 state universities fail to meet recommended staffing levels for counselors, the newspaper reported. Student counseling clients have jumped nearly 50 percent in a six-year period.
Ten of Florida’s 12 state universities fail to meet recommended staffing levels for counselors.
In Florida, over a six-year period, student counseling clients have jumped nearly 50 percent.
The Florida Legislature rejected a request to provide more mental health money for universities. This year the state university system is asking for $14.5 million to hire 137 new staffers for counseling centers.
University of South Florida psychology professor Jonathan Rottenberg told the newspaper that if nothing is done “we’re going to have something of a lost generation.”
“We know that the number of counselors we need per student is way off at every university,” Norman Tripp, a member of the state’s higher education board and a leader of the charge told the Times.
“We know for a fact that students who need immediate service are told that they have to come back three or four weeks later. We know that when they should be providing a one-hour service, they’re getting a half hour.”
The college years are notorious for mental health issues as students for the first time face a new environment and academic and social stress. Mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, can emerge for the first time during the college years.
Some experts worry that without a serious commitment to collegiate mental health, many students will face serious long-term harm.
“If we do nothing,” said USF psychology professor Jonathan Rottenberg, “we’re going to have something of a lost generation.”
The Times reported that potential new mental health counselors could be on their way. Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton could get potentially 13 new staffers.
To read the whole Tampa Bay Times story click here.