Counseling and Consultation Services hires new staff members to meet growing demand. Collegian file photo.
TESSA FACKRELL | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
There are now three new counselors at Counseling and Consultation Services, CCS, to help serve growing student needs. Located in the Health and Recreation Center, CCS has experienced an influx of students in the last few years, leading to wait periods for those seeking appointments.
Director of CCS, Keith Magnus, hired the new counselors and said he wants to change the narrative on campus about counseling services being unavailable for convenient student use.
“My priority is definitely access,” Magnus said. “If a student is struggling I don’t want them to feel like they can’t access our service.”
Magnus said since he arrived 20 years ago, CCS has always had three counselors. They recently hired three more counselors who started on Aug. 9. There is also one temporary counselor who will start in October.
According to Magnus, usage of CCS has increased exponentially in the last two years, which led to a need for a larger counseling staff.
“This is nationwide, counseling centers across the country are seeing an increase, everyone’s graph is going up,” Magnus said. “… students are more apt to use our service because I think we’ve done a good job prioritizing wellness and self care.”
If students are not comfortable making an appointment for therapy, CCS also offers a program called “Let’s Talk,” either on Zoom or in person at the Efroymson Diversity Center in Atherton Union.
Casiana Warfield is a staff psychologist and one of the newly hired therapists. She is one of the staff members who leads the program “Let’s Talk,” that is put on by CCS for two hours each week — on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wedesdays at 1 p.m.
Warfield is the only therapist to attend “Let’s Talk” in person. Other therapists host Zoom hours which can be found on the CCS website. Warfield said students are able to get a “one-off consultation” during these hours in Atherton Union, which can include learning how to make an appointment and what the therapy process is really like.
The process of getting a therapy appointment begins with an hour-long initial assessment, according to Magnus. Counselors then meet and match the patient with a therapist who will best meet their needs, and finally the student can start to receive care.
The drop-in sessions at “Let’s Talk” are not an official appointment, and anyone can go, although according to the CCS website, it is not recommended to be used in crisis situations.
“I want [students] to know that if they go online and they don’t see an appointment that fits their schedule, to call us… we’ll work with their schedule,” Magnus said. “Or if there’s any sense of urgency, then we definitely want to hear that and get them in.”
Evan Yoder, junior communication sciences and disorders and Spanish double major, and secretary of Be The Voice, a suicide prevention club on campus, said it is important to advocate for your health and needs.
“One of the things that I’ve had to learn is just being willing to speak about all of your experiences and being open and vulnerable because that’s very important for your well being and your progress towards getting better,” Yoder said.
According to the CCS website, 70% of students reported that therapy has directly or indirectly improved their academic functioning. Although therapy is proven to improve academic function, Warfield emphasises that it will not always be comfortable for students to participate in.
“It can feel unfamiliar, and anything new brings some stress with it, but I think it can be worthwhile still,” Warfield said. “But I think it’s important to know and acknowledge it’s not like sunshine and rainbows to do.”
If students have mental health concerns, Yoder, Magnus and Warfield encourage them to reach out for help.
“The people that are there to help you are very unbiased, and they’re there to just listen and help you through whatever you need,” Yoder said.