The University Counseling Center has seen the necessity for counseling rise which is causing a waitlist to grow longer.
Dr. Stacy Gerken, Director of the UW-Stevens Point Counseling and Testing Center, said the reason for the waitlist is a constant tension between quality and quantity.
“We want to reach as many students as we can, but we want to give each of them quality therapy,” Gerken said. “Counseling is a limited resource.”
Gerken also said that nationally there has been a rise in the need for counseling in students. In an article published for Psychology Today, 70 percent of counseling centers believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems on their campus has increased in the past year.
The American Freshman annual survey from 2012 found the fewest numbers of freshmen describing themselves as emotionally healthy.
“The most common reason or need for counseling used to be depression. But increasingly its now anxiety,” Gerken said.
In the past five years, enrollment statewide has gone down but that hasn’t affected the number of students needing counseling.
“Even with the drop in annual enrollment we have seen a huge spike in visits from students,” Gerken said. “We have already seen 30 more people than last year and overall have had 174 more individual sessions than last year.”
Given the rise in need a waitlist has begun to grow for students looking to schedule appointments.
“The waitlist depends mostly on student availability. The less time they have available, the longer they may be on the list,” Gerken said.
“What kills us the most is when students decide not to show up and don’t call us. So, we have an hour we could be seeing someone, wasted.”
Gerken said that as soon as someone moves off the waitlist another gets put on it, so the waitlist is ever changing and existing.
If students need counseling, they get 20 visits for free in their academic careers.
“That is not a hard and fast rule either, counseling services will do the best they can to help students,” Gerken said.
“It’s free and confidential and students get email reminders to alert them of upcoming appointments.”