Lock Haven University’s lack of counseling availability is placing students at risk and putting university finances before the mental health and well-being of students.
According to the LHU website, there are approximately 4,000 students who attend main campus; however, there is only one counselor to attend to the needs of all of those students.
The LHU Counseling Services website boasts that they provide “consultation, psychological assistance and counseling to students with personal, psychological, emotional or academic adjustment issues.” However, it is challenging to meet this declaration with only one counselor available to the entire student population.
While not every student who attends LHU will require the assistance of Counseling Services before graduation, a large percentage of the student population will need to speak to a counselor at some point during their academic career.
The American Counseling Association holds the belief that counselors are necessary on college campuses in order to “assist students with both addressing difficulties encountered and promoting greater overall wellness.”
College is a time of growth for all students. For many, it is the first time they are away from home, which is a challenge in and of itself, but many times it is paired with overwhelming amounts of stress and the development of psychological problems that can affect both a student’s personal life and academic performance. It is important for the university to have multiple counselors and counseling services in order to accommodate the wide variety of needs students have while in school.
While the university cannot be held responsible for long-term treatment of students with psychological problems, it does need to be available for students who need help coping with difficult situations.
Not every student who needs a counselor has the resources to find one off of campus.
For many students, transportation is a major issue when considering talking to a counselor. Not all students have cars, which makes it difficult for them to find resources that are not within walking distance of the university campus.
Counseling services also cost money, which college students are severely lacking. In many cases, students are unwilling to ask their parents for financial assistance or to use their family insurance for a counselor. The stigma that surrounds counseling could deter many students from discussing these issues with family members. Some families might even disregard a student’s need for help as weakness or the inability to handle stress rather than seriously considering the student’s need to talk to speak with a professional.
LGBT students who are not yet out to their parents and families might also be uncomfortable telling family members their reason for seeking counseling, especially if that reason includes their sexuality or gender.
It is unfair that students in these, or any other circumstances should be unable to receive proper counseling services at their own university.
Students who are seeking a counselor to talk to should not have to wait months or even weeks before they are able to receive an appointment. This university needs to put funds where they matter–to the benefit of the health of its students. No student should be forced to suffer silently because their university cannot provide them with the resources needed to be successful while at college.