Students seeking help through Taylor’s counseling center may face longer than normal wait times for the rest of the semester, due to high numbers of students currently admitted to the program, the vice president for student development told The Echo.
Students in need of counseling services should still come to the center, said Skip Trudeau, vice president for student development. However, students with less severe symptoms may have longer to wait than those facing an acute mental health emergency, he said.
“We don't want to stop anybody from getting help who needs help,” Trudeau said. “So if you're going in with an acute emergency, you'll be seen today. If you're going in with a non-acute, it may take a while for you to get in. The utilization rate is high, so it just depends on what the student's presenting with . . . Yes, we have a waiting list, but if you have counseling needs you should still seek counseling.”
With the end of the semester approaching and the added stressors of final exams, assignments and the holiday season, Dean of Students Jesse Brown said even if students are facing a long wait list, the counseling center staff members are looking for ways to support students until they are able to meet with a counselor.
He also encouraged students to turn to other campus leadership, including their hall directors, PAs, DAs and faculty to help connect students with other essential resources.
“What we really want our PAs and DAs to do is listen to students' stories, be able to hear them out and if needed, connect them to other resources on campus,” Brown said.
Over 400 students have sought out counseling services this semester, almost a quarter of Taylor’s student population, Trudeau said. Overall, student usage of the counseling has been increasing for the past few years.
This week it was also announced that after many years of service in Taylor’s counseling center, Counseling Director Caroline Poland resigned from her position to seek other opportunities.
“Caroline has had a faithful service here to Taylor University as a student and as a professional,” Brown said. “I know she is wired to be a counselor and I know she's enjoyed working with our students. She did a great job with making the counseling center known to the campus and what resources are available . . . She's done a tremendous job with that and we wish her well on her next adventure, whatever those are and pray God's blessing on her.”
Following Poland’s departure, the counseling center will be staffed by three part time counselors, three counseling interns and an administrative assistant, Brown said.
While Taylor searches for a new counseling center director, Brown will undertake some administrative duties to enable counselors to keep meeting with students, he said.
“We're going to do whatever we can to continue serving students,” Brown said. “We understand mental health is a concern that students have and we want to be able to provide that support as they are here at Taylor. I understand that Caroline's departure could impact students either personally, as they had a relationship with Caroline, or if they are concerned about the counseling center or the availability of the counseling center. But we want to do what we can to provide counseling services to students.”
If students have further questions about the counseling center, they can contact the center directly, Jesse Brown or Skip Trudeau for more information.