According to a national 2014 Healthy Minds Study in which 4,000 Cal Poly students participated, 21 percent of college students are experiencing moderate to major forms of depression and 34 percent have lifetime diagnoses of mental health disorders.
“Historically, there’s always been a disconnect between the need for more mental health support services and the fiscal and social stigmas that face mental illness in the academic environment,” ASI Board of Directors member Gianna Ciaccio said. “On a campus with nearly 21,000 students, unfortunately not everyone has access to a sound support system of friends and family.”
Cal Poly Campus Health & Wellbeing is currently funded by the health service, facility, and student success fees, yet Counseling Services still falls below the recommended student to clinician ratio standards, only employing 14.5 professional counselors of the minimum 20 that are recommended. The current Campus Health & Wellbeing facility is also unable to house additional clinicians, potentially hindering Counseling Service’s attempts to increase support of student mental health and wellbeing.
That’s why on April 19, the ASI Board of Directors passed a resolution that encourages Cal Poly administrators and relevant groups to prioritize the expansion of the Campus Health & Wellbeing facility. With ASI Student Government support, Campus Health & Wellbeing departments will conduct focus groups consisting of a cross-section of students, faculty, and staff to assess the priorities. These groups will also assess expenses to ensure that a new facility adequately supports the campus community without becoming a financial burden on students.
In addition, on May 12 the Student Success Fee Allocation Advisory Committee voted to fund the hiring of two additional counselors for the 2017–18 academic year. “It’s really imperative that programs such as Counseling Services or PULSE have the infrastructure to offer support to those students and beyond. I think this resolution educated the members of the committee about the necessity for more counselors, so I’m happy to see the support for our students struggling with their mental health come to fruition,” Ciaccio said.
For more information, view the complete Resolution In Support Of Increased Mental Health Resources & the Expansion of the Campus Health & Wellbeing Center.