As distress rates rise among APU students, the University Counseling Center (UCC) has made plans to serve higher numbers of students seeking counseling this year.
If the number of students seeking services continues to rise, the Center has two options: One is to hire more staff, which requires more financial resources from the university. The second and preferred option is group counseling.
“We at the UCC are trying to make a diligent effort to demystify group counseling and to help students to become more aware of this service offered through our office,” said Joel Sagawa, assistant director of clinical services.
Group counseling allows the UCC to maximize their time by serving multiple students and is also shown to be an effective treatment option for many APU students. All students are encouraged to explore the option of counseling, particularly group counseling, throughout their time here at APU.
According to a 2010 UCLA study, students across the country are feeling more overwhelmed than ever before. This same trend is seen at APU with a 29 percent increase in the number of students seeking counseling over the past two years. According to APU’s most recent National College Health Assessment survey, students are reporting higher levels of stress than the national average.
“We don’t know exactly [why this is happening],” Sagawa said. “The fact that utilization rates are increasing is in reality a good thing as suicide rates on college campuses have been falling, [which suggests] that university counseling centers are making a difference in the lives of those who visit us.”
The UCC offers a number of free brief counseling options to students, including Urgent Care Counseling, time-limited counseling, group counseling and several therapy and support groups.
“We would love to see every students on an open-ended basis but given our limited resources, brief counseling options allow us to serve more students over the academic year,” Sagawa said.