The regular weekly meeting of the Student Life Committee (SLC) on Sept. 28 centered on a presentation by Director of Counseling Services Dan Larson, with Professor of Theatre Elizabeth Carlin-Metz serving as the committee chair.
Larson addressed the increasing demand for the school’s counseling services. Last year0, counseling services saw 20 percent of the student population come through its doors, as compared to 15 percent in the 2006-2007 school year. There has also been an increase in students who have had previous counseling elsewhere.
The center has one full-time position and two part-time positions. The overall number of office hours put in was increased this year by 10. But even still, as Larson and Carlin-Metz pointed out, research done last year indicated that counseling services is understaffed by one full-time position.
According to Larson, among the most prevalent mental health issues are depression and anxiety, relationship issues, family issues, sexual harassment, eating disorders, ADD and ADHD.
After mention of the latter two, discussion ensued concerning the incidence of sharing and recreational use of Adderall, a drug commonly used to treat the symptoms of ADHD.
Larson discussed the issue of increased sexual assault, defining it as “inappropriate touching, groping, kissing … usually done by a close or trusted friend, so there’s a sense of betrayal.”
He also referenced the volume of talk on campus last year concerning sexual assault and the manner in which the talk “triggered memories of past sexual assault.” He went on to say that resulting cases could be classified as either PTSD or acute stress disorder.
“The intent [of the efforts to promote awareness about sexual assault] was wonderful,” Larson said, but there were some negative consequences.
The issue of mental health specifically during winter term was brought up by Student Senate representatives. Larson acknowledged the increase in traffic during winter term, but he dismissed it partly as self-fulfilling prophecy.
For future meetings, there was some indication from Associate Dean of Students Craig Southern that there will soon be a review of the campus party policy, which he described as “archaic.”
No action was taken during the meeting.