What do you think is your most important function here on campus?
Well I think providing counseling is important. In the counseling center we see, for free, students from all over the university. Depression, anxiety, problems like that. We deal with walk-ins. People come in, in crisis sometimes, and I think that’s important. Also, I think advocacy is an important part of what we do. I have some connections with the LGBT center and other places on campus, I feel like we’re part of making sure that the campus is a safe community and a place where people can feel supported and heard.
Do you feel the counseling center is underused by students, or that enough students don’t know about it?
We’re really busy, we get a lot of people in here, but of course we could always do more. We would love everybody to know that we exist, that we’re a service for students and that we’re free. We have a lot of excellent professionals here that can help out with any mental health issues, and we even have a nurse practitioner that can prescribe. Sometimes I do feel like not everybody knows about us, and I’d like everybody to know that we’re here for them. In that sense, I do think we we need to spread the word and make sure everybody knows that we’re available.
If this service vanished tomorrow, what do you think would be the biggest loss to the people on campus?
I think, suddenly, you’d find a lot of people, without a lot of resources, who are in need of mental health care and aren’t getting it, and that includes counseling and medication. So if we’re not here, a lot of people will find themselves trying to spend money they don’t really have for a therapist, or medication, or maybe just going without treatment. I really think that not only does it save lives, it keeps people in school. Some people might be struggling with depression and anxiety, and if not for some treatment, if not for some counseling: maybe they don’t stay enrolled, maybe they get overwhelmed. Students aren’t a population that always has a ton of money, or great insurance, so if they don’t have us I think a lot of people would go without care and a lot of people would suffer. That’s why we do what we do.