Mental Health Care Under Review
The 29 member task force, which was created following the Virginia Tech shootings says MU needs to improve the way it notifies faculty and students about emergencies, the way it locks up the campus, and there should be a homeland security coordinator on campus.
But, one of the major needs is mental health care. This comes at a time when students say they already have to wait weeks to get an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Each new school year more students need special care. The student health center has 4 clinical psychologists and 3 psychiatrists, and not all are full time. The on-duty staff was too backed up to comment.
"There is a trend that I think most college counseling centers across the nation are understaffed in terms of the recommended guidelines that we are supposed to meet," said Dr. Anne Meyer from the counseling center.
"Every week we get someone complaining about how long the wait is to get counseling help. I know that the counseling center and the student health center do their best, and they come in every year and they say that they are having trouble even with their current increases. So, I wish I had a solution, but I just don't," said Jonathon Mays from the Missouri Students Association.
The mental health department at the student health center is open forty-four hours a week. The task force report recommends 24 hours a day, seven days a week, licensed mental health care for the entire campus community. The department would need to jump its staffing to 168 hours a week. Meyer says the counseling center is already on the right track.
"We are lucky that we have good campus agencies and good relationships with our community agencies. So while we offer crisis services here in the counseling center when we're open, after hours there's a lot of resources available for our MU students," explained Meyer. With emergency hotlines and on-call personnel Meyer hopes students feel welcome and leave happy.
In an emergency students can call the crisis hotline at 1-800-395-2132. And students are encouraged to get counseling as soon as problems come up.