“Call the Counseling Center at (949) 824-6457 or come in person and ask to make an ‘initial appointment.’ The receptionist will assist you in finding the first available appointment that fits your schedule.”
This is a response that you hear a lot these days if you go to the Counseling Center. The part that they fail to mention is that the “first available appointment” generally takes about a month to come by. To me, this is unacceptable. If I go to the Counseling Center, for whatever reason that might be, that reason must have had an impact on me and my experiences in such a drastic way that has made me call for help.
So for me to take all of my strength to seek help, only to hear that I have to wait one more month before I can actually receive any help, is unbearable. The reality is that our Counseling Center is not offering enough resources for students to feel safe and heard. Maybe it’s because of lack of funding, or maybe due to the lack of care toward mental health services.
While research shows that more than 20 percent of the UCI student body goes through some symptoms of depression, we have to ask: what has the administration done to address and resolve this issue?
When approached about this issue, the administrative representatives at the monthly ASUCI luncheon responded that they believe there is already enough services and that there is counseling available for “emergency” situations.
But again, I think it is important to understand what an “emergency” really is. Based on the Counseling Center, an “emergency” is: when students are thinking about harming themselves or others, when students feel unable to function, when students are seriously concerned about other students’ welfare or safety, or when students have experienced a traumatic event.
My question remains the same for the much respected administrative representatives that believe the current services are good enough. When you blatantly dismiss an issue that affects one in every five Anteaters, how can you ever claim that you support the students? When, in your opinion, the fact that only emergency situations deserve immediate attention, how can you claim that you promote a healthy community among the student body?
Dear administration, next time, before any of your respected representatives comments on mental health services with such palpable ignorance, please make sure they are educated enough so they don’t sound absolutely dismissive of such critical issue. Although you might think the mental health services are already good enough, I would challenge you to try to look at it from the students’ perspective. We the students are the ones who get denied the opportunity of counseling until it reaches a critical point for us.
This is a real issue that we go through, and there needs to be real solutions to address it. Therefore, I urge you to pay closer attention this issue in your upcoming luncheon, and expand the counseling services for the students.
Parshan Khosravi is a second-year political science major. He can be reached at email@example.com.