University Sees Increase in Students Seeking Campus Mental Health Services
More and more college students are requiring mental health services and the University of North Florida is answering the call. The UNF Counseling Center has just been reaccredited by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS), Inc., a Virginia-based organization of the United States, Canadian and Australian counseling agencies.
The UNF Counseling Center was evaluated by IACS during a year-long self-study process and a two-day site visit against high standards of counseling practice and was found to offer competent and reliable professional services to its clientele. Approval by IACS is also dependent upon evidence of continuing professional development as well as demonstration of excellence of counseling performance.
“Mental health is a core component to student success and is essential to a student’s personal as well as academic progress and graduation” said Dr. Andrew King, UNF Counseling Center director. “Our staff is dedicated to working in partnership to address challenges, build on a student’s strengths and adapt to the changes that are yet to come. It’s hard work, but it’s our passion.”
During the 2017-18 academic year, UNF Counseling Center staff provided direct services to over 1,400 students, which included 867 new clients and 585 returning clients, an increase of 7 percent in the total number of students seen year to year. At the same time, the Center provided more than 10,530 client appointments, an increase by 14 percent in the number of appointments provided overall.
“Student well-being and a healthy campus are extremely important in higher education today,” said UNF President David Szymanski. “At UNF, we promote a wholistic approach to students, keeping them healthy in every sense of the word.”
Students on campus have benefited in positive ways from counseling. One student said that as a result of counseling, “I have been able to be more proactive in seeking out resources to help get through a difficult semester and accept that sometimes help is necessary.” Another student shared that counseling helped them “succeed in school, think about my actions and gain a better understanding of how to deal with stressful events in my life.”
The Center provides group/individual counseling, art therapy, psychiatric/nutrition services and services for distance learners as well as a Relaxation Room, which provides a safe, relaxing space for members of the UNF campus community to find refreshment and restoration in a stress-free environment. Additionally, the Center provides a crisis intervention service during normal business hours and also offers an after-hours support line.
First accredited in 1981, the UNF Counseling Center provides mental health services to the university community, including assessment and referral, individual, group counseling and crisis intervention to currently enrolled students, as well as consultation and outreach services to faculty, staff, parents and students.
The mission of the UNF Counseling Center is to enhance students’ total educational experience by providing a confidential and supportive environment where student concerns can be shared and explored. Center services assist students with their personal development and enhance their potential for academic success.
IACS is a voluntary evaluative process involving a written self‑study and the adherence to established standards of practice. These standards are articulated by the IACS Board of Accreditation, the members of which are directors of counseling services located throughout the United States and internationally. IACS is the only accreditation association that accredits counseling services on university and college campuses.