Augustana students cry out for more counseling

By+Alyssa+Duckett

By Alyssa Duckett

Kiera Kunstman

Counseling plays a vital role in a student’s success, but there is not enough of it offered at Augustana College. The school desperately needs to solve this issue.
Students recognize that counseling is not solely for people with mental illnesses. The University of Nevada believes that therapy can help both student’s social and academic life by “…help[ing] identify, clarify, and often even simplify problematic thoughts and feelings.” As a result, individual therapy sessions are booked solid for weeks.
While some students may have had positive experience with the counselors, I often hear complaints about how long it takes to get an appointment. Sessions are only offered on weekdays during school hours by three available counselors. With 2,537 students attending Augie, the counselors do not have enough time to help all of the students who need it.
When students move away from their homes, they leave behind their closest friends and family. With that support system taken away, it can be quite isolating. 
The students with mental illnesses may have had to leave their “shoulder to cry on” at home or maybe their insurance does not cover having multiple therapists and psychiatrists. The fact that Augustana is not prepared to handle students with disabilities is extremely worrying because counseling can be some people’s line of safety. That is not something the school should be messing around with.
Even if students have made good friends, relying on them for mental stability is not the kindest thing to do. Everyone at Augie is learning to be a full adult. We are at a stage in our life where mentally supporting another person can be too much to handle.
Clayton State University believes that a student’s academic performance and attendance can greatly suffer due to not being able to process too much stress. It is in Augustana’s best interest to have the students succeed, so then why can’t Augie provide more counseling times?
In addition to the lack of individual counseling sessions available, Augustana also offers group sessions at times during class hours. This is really unfortunate because most students who want to participate in this are not able to, if they have class.
Everyone attending Augie is working towards some sort of degree. Missing class for sessions is not really an option considering how much it costs to attend Augustana.
In an ideal world, Augustana College would offer counseling sessions after school hours in conjunction with the hours they offer now. The problem is that tuition might be raised to support the additional hours they would offer. What does the student body define worth it?
Additionally, with the weather getting colder, the struggle bus is getting more cramped as it is. It’s really important for Augie to prioritize student’s mental health because it can define their success. Attending college is about getting a degree, but it is also about self-care.
I find it really disappointing that Augustana College is not trying to do more for their students. The counselors here are great, but they are being given more work than they can do. Something really needs to change here, and the people in charge really need to figure out how to do that.
Graphic by Alyssa Duckett