Thirteen placed on waitlist or overbooked counseling services
Overbooked after only the first week of the academic year, Counseling Services is now putting students on a wait-list while looking for alternative options for students.
Thirteen students make up the waitlist since the end of the first week of classes.
“Now is busier than last year by far,” Janice Bunch, director of counseling and disability services, said. “I believe it’s because the way society views mental health has changed. The stigma is lower to get support for mental health needs.”
Students who use counseling services for the first time have a follow-up meeting after their first session to plan any ongoing services. Once a time slot is available, an email is sent to all members of the waitlist, opening up the free slot on a first-come, first-serve basis. Individuals with extreme cases or “crisis call[s]” will receive priority assistance.
Counseling Services is assisting 65 new students along with 207 returning students, resulting in an estimated 300% growth from August 2018. The department had, at the time, an intake of 22 new students by its third week of the academic year.
“The department's new facility housed in Crisp Hall has eleven rooms dedicated to counseling services," an August news release stated. Last year, the department was located in Dearmont Complex where it had just six rooms for counseling services.
“We do have partnerships with SoutheastHEALTH where we can refer a student if they need mental health medications,” Bunch said.
The Counselor Education Training Clinic, where services are free to Southeast students, is run by student interns who are supervised by professionals like herself, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership Kirsten LaMantia stated in a news release.
As a member of the Association for University College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) — a nationwide organization of counseling center directors — Bunch took the initiative of contacting nearby centers to help assist with the overflow of students.
If students would like referrals to additional centers nearby, the Community Counseling Center or New Vision have professional relationships with members within Counseling and Disability Services who can help with the intake process of those programs. Although students can get assistance getting in the door, that doesn’t mean you still won’t be waitlisted. These establishments service the community, adding a bigger pool of people to their list of clients than the university population.
To combat the surplus, the department has advocated and made written requests to the university for more staff to support the need.
Bunch said there are additional events and resources on campus, such as the Mental Wellness Fair or Redhawk Health Educators.
Counseling services are free to Southeast students, with no limitations on visits.
Danielle Horgin, administrative assistant at New Vision Counseling, says they don’t have a limitation on visits, however, services cost $150 for the first session with a licensed professional. If a student preferred an intern counselor, the sessions are $20 each, with the possibility of being on a waitlist.
Despite the cost, Horgin said the center takes “most insurance” when billing patients.
“Other centers within the state have moved to limitations, but at this point, there are no limits for how many sessions a student can have with us,” Bunch said. “We also do partner with the Training Clinic where we send students there for services.”
The Counselor Education Training Clinic provides the same counseling treatment as Counseling and Disability Services, however, it’s offered to SEMO students and the outer community. As stated by LaMantia, the counselors are graduate interns, supervised by certified professionals. Going to the clinic, located in Scully Hall, does not guarantee the absence of being placed on a waitlist.
It is apparent centers around the nation seem to be experiencing long waitlists as well, Bunch said.