By DJ Greenzweig
Recruitment and Retention Manager
The counseling and mental health resources at KU are limited. There are few licensed counselors available in the Counseling Center, and they have tight schedules.
The university claims there is no funding in the budget for additional counselors on staff, but they installed a “mental health” kiosk in the student center, and it is rarely in service.
Recently, a Facebook post made by the Healthy Campus Bill of Rights at KU page received some attention after critiquing this matter on mental health at KU.
The post included a quote from faculty member, Dr. Glenn Richardson, commenting on the need for more funding for mental health initiatives on campus.
Richardson stated, “Last year, one in six Kutztown University students sought help from Counseling and Psychological Services. 49.6% of these students reported suicidal thoughts, a percentage far higher than the national average (36%).”
Last year, a KU student died by suicide at an off campus apartment. Although the university did make a statement regarding the student’s passing, no efforts were made to refine the mental health resources beyond filming a string of PSA videos, following the student’s death.
Often, suicides and suicide attempts get swept under the rug at KU. This does nothing to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
Students are also statistically more likely to experience suicidal thoughts during stressful periods, particularly the first and last weeks of a semester. Coincidentally, these are the hardest times to score an appointment at the Counseling Center, which should be overstaffed during these known periods.
I myself struggle with mental illness, and my experiences with the Counseling Center have been unsuccessful. I’ve often been scheduled for an appointment and then called hours prior to be rescheduled.
I have also learned that if the school has documentation of admittance to a psychiatric facility and you inquire about an appointment, they must put you with a licensed therapist. Most students simply get put with a graduate assistant.
KU student Zoe Snyder said,“Every student deserves to see a licensed professional, regardless if it’s your first time seeking help or if you frequently seek help.”
Thankfully some students are impacted positively by the Counseling Center’s services. However, there needs to be a greater number of students able to utilize these facilities. The stories and experiences you will hear if you ask KU students about their attempts at getting mental health assistance on campus are ridiculous.
If the university truly cares about the well-being of their students, they should act and reform their policies before more lives are lost.