Texas Tech advertises its mental health care services at the Student Counseling Center on campus. Students may have heard about these resources through Risk Intervention and Safety Education at Red Raider Orientation or from students, faculty and staff.
However, the SCC is not functioning at the urgent pace that is the mental health crisis amongst college students. The SCC and Tech should be working to provide more available resources for students who are struggling with their mental health.
The SCC holds walk-in hours from 12:30 p.m.to 3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday for students seeking treatment and resources. Students can come to the walk-in hours, fill out paperwork and be seen by an initial assessment counselor.
In my personal experience, I was seen by a counselor during these walk-in hours last week, and I opened up about personal experiences that brought me to look into Tech’s mental health services. After an emotional discussion, opening up about why I came in, I was told there would be a couple month’s wait to be seen for one-on-one therapy sessions.
By the time an appointment would be available, I would be home for the summer.
The SCC website lists services available for students like MindSpa relaxation exercises, group therapy, therapy assistance online, individual and couples counseling and managing your mood skills-building groups. However, when I went in, these services were not offered to me, and I was told I would have to wait to be seen or do an online group therapy session, which wasn’t something I was inherently interested in.
The amount of stress, pressure and changes that occur during an individual’s college experience can bring on mental health concerns. Relationships, friendships, finances, classes, figuring out what to do with one’s future and maintaining involvement while managing the new independence of adulthood are common concerns.
One in five adults in the U.S. experienced a mental illness in 2020, and of those who received mental health services, 17.7 million people experienced appointment delays or cancellations according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.
Mental health problems can impact student’s personal, professional and academic life. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that one’s mental health affects how they think, act, feel and how they cope with emotions and their decision-making skills. With all of these variables, people experience hardships in every aspect of their life when they are struggling mentally.
According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center depression is associated with lower GPA’s and has been correlated to drop out rates. When people are facing mental issues, it may affect their motivation to do their work and to get up and go to class. On top of that, it may affect their desire to socialize which may push them further into a hard place, further making it more difficult to stay attentive to academics.
It takes some people a lot of courage to ask for help. In the U.S. 45 percent of individuals with a clinical-level mental health problem do not seek professional help according to a report from the Mental Health Million Project. Many find it difficult to make the time and build up the tenacity to go to the SCC to ask for help and open up to a stranger in a time of need. And to be told that the services you are paying for and were promised are not available for you until months down the line leaves students possibly feeling hopeless and alone.
66.8 percent of primary care physicians were unable to refer their patients to high quality mental health specialists due to the rate of unavailability of mental health specialists according to a national study conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Although there seems to be a shortage of professional mental health workers, Tech should be using their resources as a large Texas university to find more graduate students and professionals to provide for Tech students.
In the email sent after leaving walk-in hours, the SCC provides a list of outside counselors that may be available for appointments, however most of the accumulated list say the counselor is not taking new clients right now. If a student builds up the courage to ask for help, they should be met with grace and the resources they need. If the SCC does not have the resources to provide to students at this time, there needs to be more available resources provided for the students whether in Lubbock or online.
Tech should be working with SCC to allocate more resources to mental health services on campus for students because mental health problems are increasingly prominent in adults and mental health problems affect students lives and academic performance. Students are also paying for the services and it takes a lot for an individual to ask for help, so when one asks for help, they should be granted it.