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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Possible cuts to campus counseling departments put student health at risk

UC administration fails to address UC Riverside’s new counseling employee contracts

On the UC Davis campus, students are offered access to Counseling and Psychological Services. These services can help with a variety of mental health concerns, from academics and relationship concerns to depression and anxiety. Types of services include individual counseling, group counseling and eating disorder services, all of which are easily accessible at no charge for registered students.

Professional help can be challenging to find when it’s needed, so having it offered on a college campus is a great resource to utilize. Any amount of help a person can receive is a step in the right direction. Although services are short-term, counselors can further help refer students to off-campus counseling resources as well, if necessary.

How would you react if this resource was no longer available to students here at Davis?

College campuses offer counseling resources to their students, and right now one of them is in trouble. UC Riverside is currently being ignored by administrative members of the UC in their contract renegotiations over the working conditions for their existing counseling staff and department. UC representatives have failed to appear during the last six meetings to negotiate requests for new employee contracts. CAPS staff, the UC Office of the President and the University Professional and Tech Employees union — which covers 12,000 UC workers in the state — are supposed to come to a consensus. Failure to renegotiate as a group could result in a loss of existing staff and changes to the counseling department.

In June 2017, the UC Office of the President and UPTE informed CAPS that it was “not a priority nor at risk for understaffing.” But the counseling services offered on college campuses should absolutely be treated as a priority for the sake of the students. For many of us, campus resources are the first places we approach when in need. Having a mental illness can make it difficult to find motivation to perform daily routines. So searching for a counseling center can take even more effort, especially once someone has admitted to themselves that they need or want help.

People can search for another resource on their own, but it can be a confusing process and add more stress to the situation. Outside therapy resources require a mental health insurance plan, which can sometimes be separate from regular health insurance. As college students, we are most likely still covered under our parents’ insurances. For those who wish to keep their mental health conditions private, this can scare them away from reaching out to outside sources.

Going through on-campus counseling first allows students to assess their situations. The sessions give them a chance to figure out problems and may get them more comfortable with accepting that there’s something wrong. Once they know more about what they’re dealing with, it may make them feel a little more at ease to talk with their parents.

Campus counseling and psychological services are significant to the wellbeing of students. Balancing academics, social life and family back home, students experience different levels of stress and deserve to have easy access to the help they need. These resources can save lives — they saved mine.


Written by: Jolena Pacheco — mspacheco@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.


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