Counseling center needs specialized therapists

by Abby Nye

At Whitworth, we are privileged to have a counseling center that offers 6 free counseling sessions a year. This resource has helped me plenty of times when dealing with issues of academic fears, my social life, and other simple hardships and I know many who have reaped this benefit as well. While less severe mental health issues are the most prevalent for a college campus, there may be students who require more help than what can be provided at this counseling center.

According to the US National Library of Health, the onset many psychological disorders including OCD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, and substance abuse disorders is in the late teens and early twenties. This implies that college-age students are likely to start experiencing signs of their disorders at college. Although most people likely won’t have a psychological disorder develop suddenly during this time, there will be some.

I believe that Whitworth should have more specialized therapists in the counseling center so that students who do develop a more severe psychological disorder can be treated here on campus. Being redirected to off-campus facilities can have its benefits, including a more specialized treatment and location. However many students don’t have the time to seek out a therapist off-campus. Not only that, the cost of seeing a more specialized person increases greatly. Many insurance policies won’t cover the necessary amount of treatment needed for some psychological disorders. I also believe many students don’t feel like they can access someone who would really understand their situation if they felt as though they had a more severe psychological disorder on campus. This can lead to some self-destructive and unsuccessful behaviors if they don’t receive accurate treatment.

Providing access to more specialized counselors who can help with students struggling with new diagnosis, like OCD or Bipolar, could greatly increase some students’ success and allow them to thrive despite a mental health condition. I believe providing more specialized counselors can increase a students’ confidence in their academic and social life. Providing more specialized counselors may cost more, and I think that can be solved by researching which psychological disorder may be the most prevalent to seek out someone who can help the most.

Although our counselors do a great job, and should continue to provide the support most students need, it is important to provide more qualified people to diagnose some psychological disorders. Given the age of onset of many disorders, now is the time when students would need mental health help the most.

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