Report: UC Mental Health Services Need Change
Mental health services at the University of California do not have enough staff or funds to maintain their role as a safety net for students, according to a report that the Board of Regents will consider Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Schevitz, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/20).
Nearly 25% of students seeking counseling services are on some type of psychotropic medication, and the number of counselors per student has fallen below recommended guidelines, the report finds (Maitre, Oakland Tribune, 9/19). There are 2,200 students for every one mental health staff member at UC (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/20).
The International Association of Counseling Services recommends one counselor for every 1,500 students, according to Jeff Prince, director of counseling and psychological services at UC-Berkeley's University Health Services (Oakland Tribune, 9/19).
The number of students seeking counseling services at eight UC campuses also has increased by about 23% over the past five years (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/20).
The report recommends:
- Increasing salaries of mental health professionals;
- Improving retention of mental health care providers;
- Developing campus-wide mental health awareness campaigns (Oakland Tribune, 9/19); and
- Launching intervention campaigns focused on high-risk groups, including graduate, international, and gay and lesbian students (Trounson, Los Angeles Times, 9/20).
However, Prince said that figure does not include deaths that campus officials consider suicides, noting that coroners' definition of suicide is narrower than other definitions (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/20). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.