It turns out Columbia students aren’t the only ones who are unhappy with their school’s mental health care system. Yesterday, the Yale Daily News published a weekend lead article about how Yale students have been disappointed by long wait times and unhelpful staff: A Yale College Council report showed that 31 percent of students who received help from the school's Mental Health and Counseling Department rated their experience as “poor” or “very poor.”
The Yale Mental Health and Counseling Department employs 28 mental health clinicians, 22 of whom work full time, to treat Yale’s student body of almost 12,000. Columbia’s Counseling and Psychological Services, by contrast, employs 38, 33 of whom work full time, to treat a student body of over 29,000. According to data from 2012 from the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, both schools have two to three times as many health professionals per student as do institutions of similar size.
So why are wait times still so long?
Yale promises a wait period of three days between a student’s "intake" call and their being matched up with a therapist or professional, but students frequently wait more than a week—and one student waited over a month.
Richard Eichler, executive director of Columbia's Counseling and Psychological Services, said the average wait time from when a person calls CPS to their first appointment is 5.67 business days. But some Columbia students have said they experienced longer-than-expected wait times—an issue Columbia College Student Council and other student groups are looking into.
Both schools' services are nevertheless very busy. Yale's Mental Health and Counseling Department sees about 1,000 of its 5,000 undergrads per year, and it’s estimated that over 50 percent of undergraduates will visit the MH&C at some point during their time at Yale. CPS drop-in centers recorded a similar 1,000 visits last year, and Eichler said that 50 percent of the class of 2013 visited CPS in their time at Columbia.
Students at both schools report feeling confused when faced by the seemingly labyrinthine systems in place, and both schools see students deterred from seeking treatment by the fear that they might be asked to take a forced medical leave and by rumors of general bad experiences.
Here's the link to the full article.