Counseling Center policy unacceptable

There have been numerous complaints from students not taking summer school who are not allowed to use facilities on campus during the summer.

I can understand the university forcing students to pay a fee to use the Activity Center and even the Health Center, but the Counseling Center turning away students is absurd.

This is the first summer the Counseling Center has not offered its services to non-registered students, according to James Cannici, Counseling Center director.

The reason for changing the policy was because of overbooking in the fall and spring semesters, and the Counseling Center wanted to manage the load of students in the summer.

Many of us do not understand the severity of mental disorders and the effects of stress. According to the National Institute of Mental Health more than 20 percent of people, ages 18 and older, suffer from a mental disorder.

Out of a student population of almost 14,000 students – and that’s only counting the students – that’s 2,800 students who suffer some form of mental disorder.

Seventy-two percent of people with severe depression or bipolar disorder relapse – which ranges from neglecting to eat, to not getting out of bed, to suicide. But by not offering service to students who willingly ask for help, the Counseling Center has raised the percentage of those who will relapse even higher.

People with mental disorders need counseling. Medicine only helps a person with a mental disorder 20 percent. The other 80 percent is talk therapy. That is a large portion of a person’s recovery that UTD’s Counseling Center is not offering services for.

Those are a lot of statistics to soak up, but the truth is that depression and bipolar are both progressive diseases – like diabetes and arthritis – meaning they get worse over time.

Therefore, my plea is for this university to take care of its students.

UTD forces students to take Rhetoric 1101 and a load of core classes. Students do not have a choice, because the administration says it’s for the good of the students.

Rhetoric keeps the students enrolled and raises the retention rate, while the core classes should make students well-rounded. Call me cynical, but if we are going to force students to take classes “for their own good,” then the university has set a precedent for intervening in students’ lives.

The Counseling Center may not be a money making business, but since when has the university been a for-profit institution?

A solution to the problem? Those who are not enrolled in summer school can go to the Women’s Center for counseling.

That’s great, for women. Granted the Women’s Center is for men and women, but men may not necessarily be comfortable talking to women counselors in the Women’s Center.

Bottom line – when someone needs help, help them. If students are referred somewhere they are not comfortable certain needs are not being met.

For some, it takes strength to even go to the Counseling Center in the first place. Then, when they are told to go somewhere else, all strength prepared for that visit was just lost.

This is my call to action:

To the counseling center – allow all students counseling service regardless of student status, emergency or non-emergency.

To the students – if the Counseling Center hears your voices, they may change the policy next summer – so be heard.

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