Long-term Mental Health Care at the University of Texas

Written by Shae Carey. 

In January, the University of Texas stopped charging the usual fee of ten dollars per session at the Counseling and Mental Health Center.

The Counseling and Mental Health Center, located in the Student Services Building, provides students with psychological and psychiatric treatment. Dr. Marla Craig, Associate Director of Clinical Services, says that the fee “is subsidized by the Longhorn Network.”

“The Counseling and Mental Health Center, located in the Student Services Building, provides students with psychological and psychiatric treatment.”

Craig argues that CMHC needs “that money, [and] part of that money that we would get from the charges to the students goes to our budget so that we can pay our staff. We couldn’t just do away with it. With the President, Dr. Lily, who’s the Vice President of Student Affairs, and our director here working together to make this happen, the Longhorn Network said that they would subsidize it.”

Another concern that students have expressed is the lack of clarity on what long-term mental health care options are available at the University of Texas. Dr. Craig says that there are many long-term options such as group counseling and workshops.

“Another concern that students have expressed is the lack of clarity on what long-term mental health care options are available at the University of Texas.”

“Students can participate in those [programs] weekly for as long as they’re students. They can also come to the Mind and Body Lab and use that. We have a Crisis Line. As for individual therapy, we try not to just say if there’s a certain timeline on anything because a student might come in with limited to no resources [or] no insurance… so we work with the student as we need to.”

The increased scrutiny of mental health services on campus is a result of greater national awareness about mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, seventy five percent of mental illnesses arise before a person is twenty-four. The pressure of intense academic responsibilities, the responsibility of paying rising tuition costs, and the fact that college is the first time a student might be separated from their families puts students at greater risk for developing a mental illness.

“The pressure of intense academic responsibilities, the responsibility of paying rising tuition costs, and the fact that college is the first time a student might be separated from their families puts students at greater risk for developing a mental illness.”

According to the same study by NAMI, over twenty five percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year. As enrollment in universities nationwide increases, universities will have to re-evaluate what mental health options they provide for their students.

“According to the same study by NAMI, over twenty five percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year.”

Dr. Craig emphasizes that there is no session limit for students who come into the CMHC.

“We’re misunderstood a lot. When a student calls here and they’re working with the counselor, they meet with the counselor right away,” Craig said. “The average number of sessions that the student comes to the counseling center is about three. And then we’ll have more, depending on what the student needs. They’ll work with their counselor to figure out the next best steps.”

But, she continued, “Some [students]…  need more than the four initial sessions, that’s why sometimes [therapy] becomes longer than six months. [Their situation] might be pretty severe [or] they have nowhere else to go, and we’re pretty much it, and we’re not going to leave a student hanging.”

“”Some [students]…  need more than the four initial sessions, that’s why sometimes [therapy] becomes longer than six months. [Their situation] might be pretty severe [or] they have nowhere else to go, and we’re pretty much it, and we’re not going to leave a student hanging.”

 

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