Caroline Quarles 0

Belmont University Counseling Services

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Mental illness is a growing concern on many college campuses. About 26% of Americans 18 years and older have a diagnosable mental illness. That is 1 in every 4 adults. But it shouldn't take national statistics or public surveys for educational professionals to recognize the prominence of mental health on their own campuses. A student's health and safety should be an institution's first priority.

The Counseling Center on campus is a resource for all students at Belmont. It is a short-term service with fantastic and caring staff. In fact, there are ten staff members including the director and office manager. As of the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, there are 8,012 students enrolled at the university. Ten staff for 8,012 students. Yes, perhaps not every student utilizes this service, however, enough do. The university must consider not only the students who are currently in on-campus counseling, but also the students who want help but may not know how to get it, the students who want to enter counseling but don't because they are afraid of being turned away due to the lack of counselors, and the students who may eventually need counseling at some point during their time at school. Ten staff for 8,012 students is not enough.

At Belmont, 81% of incoming students receive financial aid. And on average, therapy costs $75-$150 at minimum per session. As college students, we all know how much money that is, and how hard it can be to afford that. The free counseling on campus is a major relief, a money saver, and some people's last hope in getting the help they need. The Counseling Center is one of the most important departments on campus, and is on that deserves a significant amount of our university's energy and financial resources, not our landscaping.

Belmont University needs more counselors, and that is something that is not negotiable. Please support me, this issue, and all those who have been silenced by their mental illness, and sign this petition. It's time for the university to start listening to its students AND take action.

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