Question posed to Dr. Simone Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs
Students who I have referred to the Counseling Center are reporting a 1-2 month wait to get an appointment. Now that more faculty are becoming aware of the Counseling Center through the required Kognito program that recommended referring students to the campus Counseling Center as the final solution for each simulation, I am even more worried about stressing an already strained resource. I know the director of the Center has been very creative in trying to expand services – incorporating group sessions and technology that could help more students with the existing resources – but the wait times for individual appointments remains high. How is the administration supporting the Counseling Center with resources to hire more counselors so there is no lag time between a student contacting the Center and receiving an in-take session? If more counselor hires are not in the plan, what else does the administration have planned to make the Counseling Center better equipped to handle the demand?
Question answered from the floor by Dr. Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs
This is an important question. So I think thank the person asking this question because it is important. I checked in with Richmond [Wynn] and Dan Moon on this. The next available full consultation—and I’m plagiarizing Richmond’s email here—the first full contact is April 6. So that’s five weeks. It changes daily due to counselors wrapping up their work with a client or a counselor, so they sometimes see some people straightaway during triage hours and fit them into their schedules. In those two scenarios, a student could be seen sooner, but the waiting list is too long. The question is correct in that we—we meaning Richmond and his colleagues—have added in drop-in groups and psychoeducation groups, a total of five in addition to the eight groups that were already in place. So this gives students additional opportunities for therapeutic contact while they wait for an individual session or sometimes in lieu of individual counseling.
They also ensure that every hour that they are open one to two counselors are scheduled for triage and walk-ins and those are brief stabilization sessions, guidance to resources and services and referrals and so on. So we’re working on this. It’s not the best news. There may be good news in the sense that Kognito is working and due to the good work and sensitivity of the faculty are guiding more of our students to resources. So please don’t get the message that you shouldn’t do Kognito and you shouldn’t follow through. You should do Cognito and you should follow through. There are a couple of us in this room who know how important that has been in recent weeks. In addition though, the Perch program—we just heard the Perch program a little bit here—is new this year and provides mental health services to students through graduate student interns from the clinical mental health counseling program with BCH and other offices. That’s an alphabet soup and UNF tradition. As far as resources go, we do have a proposal to expand Perch, and Richmond is putting together a proposal for the counseling center as we go into budget season. We don’t know what the budget will look like, but these are two high priorities.