The number of students seeking help at North Dakota States’s counseling center is up about five percent from the same time period in 2015.
Bill Burns, director of the counseling center, said that attendance to the center is slow in the summer and “slowly builds up until about the third week in October… where we get kinda maxed out and we kinda stay maxed out for the rest of the year.”
Burns said this year is his ninth with the center, and that by using a baseline from the year before he came to NDSU, the center’s attendance is up about 500 percent.
He said the increase is in part that the university expanded but the bulk of increased attendance comes from more students being willing to ask for and receive help.
Burns added that the center “never had a waiting list until the last couple of years”, and the maximum number of people on the waiting list to get a counselor this year after going through an intake appointment was 14. The 14 person waiting list only lasted for a three week period, he said.
For a student to be matched with a counselor takes minimally “up to a week, but it could take up to three to four weeks” depending on what the individual is dealing with and times they are available.
Amber Bach-Gorman, assistant director of the counseling center said that for a student who is scheduling an intake during a busy point, it may take two to three weeks to get in “which in students’ lives feels like forever”. Bach-Gorman added that for someone within the community to obtain counseling within two to three weeks would be “virtually unheard of”.
“Part of the challenge is, students live very busy lives. And so, trying to match up counselor availability with student availability can be a challenge,” Bach-Gorman said.
The center aims to match students with counselors at times when they will not be missing classes or work, Bach-Gorman added.
To assist in cutting down waiting periods, the center has made a deal with the community counseling trading center. With this deal, students on the waiting list will be referred to the CCTC.
“The bottom line is we’re a little busier than we were last year, but we’re working at ways to handle it,” Burns said.
“We’re seeing the people who really need to be seen, people that have to wait a little bit can wait a little bit,” Burns added.
The counseling center and the CCTC shares notes and do not charge students with the exception of a few tests, Burns said. The centers also do not have session limits for students.