According to the National Association for Mental Illness, in a given year, one in five adults will have a mental illness. While the United States has a long history of failing those with mental illnesses, SRU’s counseling center and student health center tackle some of those issues as well as issues like stress and difficulty sleeping. The newly introduced emotional wellness program offered by Student Health Services is an attempt to even better serve SRU students struggling with the stresses and pressure of university life.
We are excited to see SRU continue to put students’ health first; this program, featuring 10 student peer coaches and a staff member devoted to the program. We see this as a great way to reach students who are stressed or overwhelmed; first-year students especially will be able to reap the full benefits of this program. The Rocket staff firmly believes that prevention work is incredibly important, especially with young adults entering into higher education and the pressures that come with it. This new program, along with the new Therapy-Assisted Online (TAO) program, seems to be a great bridge to struggling SRU students.
This being said, The Rocket remains concerned that these solutions are not increasing access to face-to-face time with professional staff members. The International Association of Counseling Centers has said that the SRU counseling center is understaffed, and while The Rocket is excited about new initiatives, we worry that they will not replace the need for more staff members.
Despite our concern, The Rocket staff understands that the finances allotted to the counseling center are out of the center’s staff’s control. The emotional wellness program is a great solution and yet should not be considered a permanent one if student interest in the counseling center continues to climb, especially as SRU enrollment grows. Just as schools invest in buildings, colleges and programs, we look forward to seeing the ways in which SRU continues to support students through the counseling center. Student physical and mental health should always be the first priority of SRU, and new programs through Student Health Services and the counseling center are great first steps in that.