SUNY Plattsburgh investing in student mental health services

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 11:19 PM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - SUNY Plattsburgh is investing tens of thousands of dollars into student mental health services, using money from the CARES Act.

The demand for mental health services on college campuses has been increasing since 2009, according to American Psychological Association. It’s a trend the fallout of COVID-19 has expedited.

Now, the university will invest roughly $135,000 into their student mental health services at the Plattsburgh campus.

“We, in the counseling center, typically see about 10% of the student body in any given year,” said Christy Minck, the assistant director of counseling.

Minck said the demand for on-campus mental health care increases each year, leaving clinicians with full schedules almost instantly.

“When you think about college, you think about individuals coming to school and still forming an identity,” Minck said. “They’re also trying to form independence and that can be very challenging.”

With the grant money they’re receiving, they will be able to accommodate a handful of additional students. In the past month, it’s gone toward opening a 24/7 student assistance program line and hiring an evening counselor.

Students on campus say the resources are essential.

“It’s been really helpful,” said freshman Renee Sterling. “It’s great to have at college because college is a really stressful time for a lot of people.”

“I’ve spoken with the counseling department here as well,” said Leon Bernardot, another freshman. “They work very well with students.”

Even with these new resources, Minck says they’ll continue looking at new ways to help students.

“There’s just many different things that are unique to the experience of college students,” Minck explained.

In addition to the student assistance program and an evening counselor, money from these grants will go toward hiring six per-diem counselors in the spring and training clinicians in a new type of trauma therapy.