Addressing Common Misperceptions of Mental Health Services Provided at Missouri S&T

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On November 15, 2022

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       According to the 2022 Missouri Assessment of College Health Behaviors, 88% of S&T students reported that stress interfered with their academic life, and 91% reported that stress interfered with their personal life. Along with this, in the past year 56% of S&T students experienced depression, 63% experienced anxiety, 28% experienced panic attacks, and 26% experienced chronic sleep issues.

      Student Well-Being offers individual counseling, group counseling, consultations, and many other services to S&T students to help relieve and prevent these mental health concerns. It is important that these services are known about and understood fully in order to best support students. Please use this document to read about some of the common misperceptions of services offered, and feel free to reach out to Student Well-Being staff anytime with questions or concerns using the contact information below.

“The wait time for individual counseling services is too long.”

     The average wait time to be seen for your first counseling appointment is 1-2 days, oftentimes students can be seen in the same day. This first appointment acts as a screening where you will meet with a counselor to determine your needs and what the best next steps will be. If individual counseling is the decided course of action, the average wait time for your next appointment is within one week. During this waiting period, counselors will often provide other resources or services that can support you in the meantime.

“Speaking with a counselor is not confidential and others (such as parents or faculty) will know.”

     Our counseling staff members and their direct support staff (i.e. front desk) are legally and ethically required to maintain strict confidentiality. They are NOT Mandated Reporters, meaning that they are NOT required to report any details they possess in relation to a Title IX or Equity policy violation. The ONLY exceptions to this confidentiality are if a student is in life-threatening danger, is threatening the lives of others, or if there is an immediate safety concern for a child or vulnerable adult. These confidentiality guidelines are state and national laws and are not set by the university.

     NO ONE, including other students, staff, or family members, will receive information regarding your appointment(s) without your verbal and written consent to do so.

     Outside of the Student Well-Being department, the only other non-Mandated Reporters on campus that interact with students are health care providers in Student Health Services. ALL other employees of the university are mandated reporters and are required to promptly report any Title IX or equity violations. If you are unsure if the staff member you are speaking with is a Mandated Reporter or not, simply ask them before sharing any private or confidential information.

“There are not enough counselors on campus.”

     According to the Clinical Load Index, a metric developed by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health for assessing college counseling center staffing, Student Well-Being has an ideal staff-to-student ratio. Our staff consists of three part-time counselors, one part-time psychologist, four full-time counselors, one part-time practicum student/intern, and two support staff. Student Well-Being also has four wellness coordinators that meet with students in a non-clinical setting, for wellness consultations, presentations, and more.

“Students can be turned away from counseling services.”

     Students who are seeking counseling services will always be seen and will work with the counselor or staff member to ensure the best next steps are taken. Individual counseling is brief, solution-focused, and goal-oriented. The number of sessions is determined by the counselor and student, though on average, students engage in 3-4 individual sessions. Participation in support groups of any amount and frequency is not limited. Our goal is to provide availability for as many students as possible who desire our services. 

     Student Well-Being counselors practice within a scope of care, so there are certain concerns that would be referred off-campus to a provider who can meet their needs. Some examples of services not within our scope of care are psychiatric care, medication management, ADHD assessment, couples or family therapy, court-ordered assessments, significant substance use, or long-term/intensive therapy.

     Examples of topics and concerns that ARE within our scope of care are stress, anxiety, depression, family concerns, grief, motivation, self-esteem, conflict resolution, assertiveness, social connection/belonging, and academic/career planning.

“College counselors are not real professional counselors.”

     All Student Well-Being counselors are at least Masters level educated and are fully licensed as either a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor (PLPC), or Licensed Psychologist (PhD) in the state of Missouri. The only exception to this is if there is an on-staff Practicum Student, who is Bachelors level educated and is working on completing their Master’s degree. Counseling staff follow all state and federal counseling/ therapeutic laws and regulations.

Have other questions or concerns?  Let us know! | | 573-341-4221 | 204 Norwood Hall

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On November 15, 2022. Posted in Parents and Family