You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

FAU among 8 Florida universities short on mental health counselors


Eight of the 12 state universities fall below minimum staffing levels for mental-health counselors as the need for counseling services grows on campuses, a new report shows.

The university system’s Board of Governors, which has asked for a $7 million increase in mental-health funding in the 2017-2018 budget, will receive an update on the counseling issue during the coming week, as state lawmakers unveil initial budget plans for the higher-education system.

RELATED: Complete Florida Legislature coverage

“As of February 2017, all but four (state university) institutions fall considerably below minimum staffing levels recommended by the International Association of Counseling Services,” the Board of Governors report said.

The association recommends at least one counselor for every 1,000 to 1,500 students. The University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, New College of Florida and Florida Polytechnic University meet that standard, the report said.

But three schools — Florida Atlantic University, the University of South Florida and Florida International University — have more than 2,000 students per counselor. FIU is at the top with 2,449 students per counselor.

Florida State University and Florida A&M University have more than 1,900 students per counselor.

“Given the surge in the numbers of students seeking counseling center services as well as the increasing severity and complexity of the mental health issues that students face, the (university system) needs a substantial influx of resources in the short term,” the report said.

The most common issues reported by students using counseling services were anxiety, relationship issues, depression, suicide and academic stress, the report said.

The university counseling centers have dealt with the rising demand through a variety of methods, including limiting the frequency and length of counseling sessions, using waiting lists and referring students to counseling services in the community.

But the report said those are only “short-term” solutions.

“Over time, they will create additional problems such as student dissatisfaction, declining academic success of students, staff burnout and saturation of community resources,” the report said.

This is the second year that the Board of Governors, which oversees the 12 universities, has asked for mental health funding. It has identified a $14 million need but has asked for the money over the next two years in $7 million allotments.

Senate Higher Education Appropriations Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said the Senate’s initial higher-education budget, which will be unveiled Tuesday, will include more funding for the state universities, but it will be up to each institution on how to spend that money.

“They have within their discretion the opportunity to fund programs like these,” Galvano said. “There is not a line item in the state budget that says this is specifically for university mental health funding.”

Galvano said universities don’t want the Legislature “to start micromanaging all of their programs” through the state budget.

“We could get to a point where we’re telling them everything they need to do,” Galvano said. “But each university and each (state) college has their own unique attributes either by geography or student population or focus of study and they need that flexibility.”

The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which is expected to proposed cutting state university funding in its initial proposal, will release its 2017-2018 spending plan on Monday.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Gov. Scott cites London fire in vetoing Florida condo bill
Gov. Scott cites London fire in vetoing Florida condo bill

Pointing to a high-rise fire in London that killed dozens of residents, Florida Gov. Rick Scott late Monday vetoed a bill that would have eased fire-protection requirements for older condominium buildings in the state. The bill (HB 653), which passed the Legislature with only one dissenting vote, dealt with requirements for retrofitting high-rise condominium...
Monday bill actions by Scott closes book on 2017 legislation
Monday bill actions by Scott closes book on 2017 legislation

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed 29 bills late Monday, including measures boosting spending on education, tourism marketing and economic development. By signing the bills, and vetoing five more, Scott essentially closed the books on this year’s regular and special legislative sessions. RELATED: Read The Post’s 2017 Florida Legislature coverage...
Short on votes, Senate Republicans delay vote on GOP health bill
Short on votes, Senate Republicans delay vote on GOP health bill

Unable to muster enough votes, Republican leaders in the Senate said on Tuesday that they would not force a final vote on a GOP health care bill this week, trying to get extra time to negotiate a plan which could win the backing of 50 Republican Senators, as a vote seemed like to slip into the month of July. “It&rsquo...
Why Gov. Rick Scott isn’t meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson in Washington
Why Gov. Rick Scott isn’t meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson in Washington

Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Washington, D.C., today. WASHINGTON — Florida Gov. Rick Scott‘s schedule here today includes meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and at least five senators, including Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, to discuss the Senate health care bill. But the governor...
Health care: Rick Scott in Washington, Florida House and Senate staffers embedded with Rubio
Health care: Rick Scott in Washington, Florida House and Senate staffers embedded with Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio says he wants Florida input and Gov. Rick Scott says he’ll “fight for Florida” as the Senate considers a health care bill. WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott is here today after pledging last week to “fight for Florida” on the Senate health care bill. And he&rsquo...
More Stories