A decline in college mental health counselors



By Jessica Forrester, CONTRIBUTOR

The California Faculty Association has decided to back up the Senate Bill 660, which helps to enforce the mental health counselors requirement on California State University campuses.
The help of a counselor can improve your mental health and increase graduation rate vastly according to the California Faculty Association (CFA), the labor union that represents teachers, lecturers, and counselors.
Senate Bill 660 is being introduced to address the issue of providing accessible mental health services to students. The CFA has been working with Democratic state senator Dr. Richard Pan to bring mental health counselors back on campus to improve care.
The goal of this bill is to require CSU’s and community colleges to meet all the requirements when it comes to staffing. This would result in one counselor for every 1,500 students.
The access to counselors has drastically declined in the CSU system. It is easier to access the police than it is to access a counselor once you are in college.
The CFA did research to compare access to mental health counselors and police officers.
There are about 300 police sworn police officers all across the CSU system, not including the higher ups and management. That is an average of about 13 police officers on campus.
Almost all campuses excluding two schools have a ratio of more police officers than counselors. CSUEB is one of those campuses.
On the counselor side, there is about one counselor for every 3,500 students throughout the CSU system according to CFA. This makes it hard and maybe even impossible for one counselor to see every student and help them to their full capacity.
“With the shortage of counselors on CSU campuses, it has become common for students to face long wait times to get appointments, and frankly that is not good enough,” said Martha Cuan, the chair of CFA. Cuan is also a counselor at CSU Stanislaus.
An increase of mental health counselors will help students cope with the stress of family, work and school much better, says the CFA.
Having someone to help them navigate through a pivotal point in their lives can increase their graduation rates, attendance and even grades. This is especially important to students of color, LGBTQ students and those with disabilities.