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Letter to the editor: Lock Haven U. needs counseling services

Since graduating Lock Haven University in May 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, I have continued to be an advocate for the growth of important on-campus student services. There is one service about which I am extremely passionate: counseling services.

While at Lock Haven University, I was involved in a variety of different student advocate-related areas, such as the H.O.P.E. Center, the President’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Therefore, I learned about and experienced first-hand the increased need for counseling services.

I am now pursuing a Master’s Degree in student affairs in higher education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. As I delve deeper into my studies, I am becoming aware that literature continues to grow on the topic of students who are in need of counseling services at colleges and universities.  Some recent major trends that point to the need for such services are an increase in a diverse student body and an increase in the number of students at colleges and universities reporting depression, anxiety, eating disorders and seasonal affective disorders, to name a few.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education published in 2007, minorities made up 33 percent of the U.S. population in 2005; between 2005 and 2020, the minority population is expected to increase by 32 percent, compared with 4 percent for the white population; it is also predicted that minorities will represent 39 percent of the total population by 2020.  This change in demographics will impact colleges and universities, presenting new challenges to counseling services.  Lock Haven University must be able to keep up with these changes in diversity.

According to LHU’s website, the university emphasizes a “supportive environment” and “diverse experiences and perspectives.”  To maintain these values, Lock Haven U. must continue to support counseling services that are aimed at helping students with different backgrounds feel comfortable applying to and staying at Lock Haven University.

My personal experience using on-campus counseling services was greatly beneficial to me.  The time I worked with my counselor, the late Rob Franz, Ph.D. was invaluable.  Rob was an amazing counselor who was able to help me through rough times.  He was able to expertly read into what was going on with me and provide exceptional counseling service.  Rob had what I like to call a “third eye,” referring to his ability to read into people, to see past what they might be telling him, something that only a skilled counselor who truly cares about his clients can do.

However, trying to get an appointment with Rob was difficult.  The counseling center was overwhelmed with students needing help.  This was not the fault of counseling services; there were simply not enough counselors.

With Rob’s unfortunate passing in Jan. 2015, Counseling Services needs help in their fight to obtain counselors.  Advocate for counseling services because if you want change on campus, it is in your hands.  Counseling services provide a resource that students can truly not live without.

If you have a problem or feel that you need to talk with someone, contact Counseling Services at (570) 484-2479 or the H.O.P.E. Center at (570) 484-2111.

Respectfully submitted,

Steven Marks

Steven Marks graduated in May 2014 from Lock Haven University with a B.S. in Psychology and can be reached via email at s.r.marks@iup.edu.

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