Posted May 15, 2022
UW-River Falls Counseling Services has seen an increase this past academic year in student visits for mental health concerns.
“We saw 12% of the (student) population, and that is up,” said Mark Huttemier, lead counselor at Counseling Services. “When I first started here, it was 5%.”
The increase in UWRF student visits for mental health reflects a rise in national statistics. According to a Boston University study assessing mental health in college students across the U.S. from 2013-2021, findings indicated a 135% increase in depression and a 110% increase in anxiety.
To combat the rising number of students in need, UW-River Falls has implemented a variety of different services.
“We have a meditation group, we do an art group,” Huttemier said. “We’ve done community groups the last couple of years due to the pandemic.”
At the Counseling Services, located in 241 Rodli Hall, there are massage chairs and pamphlets for students in need of a break or information, Huttemier said.
The importance of availability and timeliness for students on campus is another aspect that the service seeks to maintain.
“Our (Counseling Services) main goal is to not have wait lists, and we’ve been successful. Other schools are really struggling,” Huttemier said.
Counseling Services also works closely with other programs on campus, one being the Behavioral Intervention Team.
The Behavior Intervention Team is tasked with receiving, reviewing and maintaining records concerning student behavior, according to the UWRF website. The goal is to mitigate risks and promote well-being and success in the student population.
“They’ve grown a lot in their ability to be aware of students who are struggling,” Huttemier said. “It used to be students would come to us (counseling services). Now they are case managing the students to us.”
This extra layer of assistance for students allows better stability and allows the university to cater to the growing number of students in need.
Huttemier added: “The more people that are concerned about a student, the better that student seems to do.