by Anne E. Lundquist
I was very interested in the article by Kristen Domonell that appeared in University Business on March 19. In this article, she emphasized that, in an era of increasing numbers of students with significant psychological disabilities and serious mental issues, colleges and universities are being forced to “do more with less” because of the escalating financial pressures occurring on many campuses at the same time. Domonell outlined strategies that some counseling centers are employing to address these issues and concerns.
Data from the 2012 National Counseling Center Directors (NCCD) Survey confirms this pressure to meet demand:
- 92% of the respondents report that the number of students seeking help at their centers has been increasing in recent years.
- 88% of directors state that the increased demand for services, along with the increase in clients with more serious psychological problems, has posed staffing problems for them.
Yet I think it is important to emphasize that many institutions are in a position to build on other resources that they already have in place in other areas of their operations to help to accomplish these same goals, to serve the best interests of all students. You don’t always need to put some completely new and different approach in place. You can often achieve the positive outcomes you need by simply using the expertise you already have to think creatively and test and tweak your existing policies, procedures and practices.
Examples of What You Can Do
You need to take a proactive, holistic, integrated and collaborative approach that involves key administrators, staff and faculty who are willing to spend the time to do what is necessary to accomplish this.
Here are some specific things I believe can be done by using existing staff and resources to achieve results of which you can be proud: