Mental health of students always a primary focus for counseling faculty

Counseling and mental health services for students became a hot topic in recent weeks both in the news and during commentary at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting.

A recent story by KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez detailed the growing crisis, pointing out that the high student-to-mental health counselor ratios on campuses endangers some of the CSU system’s neediest students.

“Last semester the waiting list got to be as many as 200 waiting to receive services,” San Jose State Psychologist and Counselor Faculty Richard Francisco told KPCC. “Some of the students will wait for about a month until we get them in for a one-on-one session.”

According to CFA research, most CSU campuses employ fewer than one full-time equivalent (FTE) counselor per 1,500 students. The International Association of Counseling Services (IACS) — the accreditation body for college counseling centers — recommends a maximum ratio of 1,500 students for each full-time equivalent counselor on campus. Only three of the 23 CSU campuses meet that standard. Cal State LA and Fresno State are most out of line, with more than 6,000 students per FTE counselor on each campus. Click here to see more research and data regarding the counseling crisis.

Francisco said counseling faculty plan on taking care of students’ mental health before and after the strike. Many students already have spoken with counseling faculty about the strike, and those Francisco has talked to are in support of the strike.

Students routinely have time away from the campus, including around the holidays and spring break.

“Our students’ needs will be addressed,” Francisco said.

During the CSU Trustees meeting March 9, Academic Senate Chair and Cal State Stanislaus Professor Steven Filling said the CSU should do better in terms of investing in mental health services for students and increasing counseling ratios.

“…it is not just during labor actions that our students need access to services,” he said. Click here to read more.