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More counselors may help college students to succeed

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University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
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When it comes to student success, mental health services are playing a crucial role.

"When you're a college student your grades are your life, and it's basically preparing you for your future and so all that stress can be very overbearing on a student so that's why mental health resources are so crucial," explained Chloe Foss, UW-Stevens Point Student.

At UWSP it can often take up to three weeks for a student to get in to see a counselor. Right now, the university has five counselors helping about 400 to 600 students each year. They say they need more.

"It's always this balance of quantity versus quality. We need to make sure we're providing quality services as well as getting to as many students as we can and we are trying to balance that," said Stacey Gerken, Director of Counseling Center, UWSP.

UW System officials asked the state for $10 million so they can hire more counselors. However, that request was denied.

System-wide the student-to-counselor ratio is 1,533-to-1. That's far greater than the recommended 1,000-to-1.

"The bottom line is that we do not have enough resources to meet the need of students on campus," Gerken said.

That lack of resources can have an affect on a student's success.

"The only reason they're still here and they're still productive students and still healthy individuals is because of that counseling center so it's incredibly important for our students," said Will Scheder, President, Student Government Association, UWSP.

Last academic year more than 80 percent of students in the UW System who got mental health counseling say it helped them choose to stay enrolled, especially around one of the most stressful times.

"Stress around finals can be really devastating or things going on in your personal life can affect your educational pursuit so having that can make your life a lot easier and better," said Lizzi Gizzi, UWSP Student."

Mental health services at universities continues to be in high demand and while the student-to-counselor ratio is higher than that what is recommended, counselors aren't turning away any student who needs a hand.