During the 2017-18 academic year, the Counseling and Mental Health Center saw increases in the total number of students served and the number of students served for individual counseling.
According to statistics released Wednesday, the CMHC served a total of 6,890 students last academic year, 6,102 of who received individual counseling. The number of students served for individual counseling increased by more than 500 students compared to 2016-17.
Katy Redd, CMHC associate director for prevention and outreach, said demand for CMHC services usually increases near the end of every semester.
“We have a normal increase that we see typically towards the end of each long semester,” Redd said. “It’s not necessarily related to the change in season, more related to the end of the semester — finals, people preparing for transition either going home or internship or job or graduating, depending on the semester.”
This spring, CMHC saw a spike in demand for services after UT President Gregory Fenves announced that individual counseling services would be free, The Daily Texan reported.
Computer science senior James Graham said he tried to sign up for individual counseling early this spring, but was told there was no availability. CMHC suggested additional options such as group counseling and off-campus resources, Graham said.
“I don’t know how much of that was literal office space availability or availability of hiring, but there was definitely a restriction on what services I would have gotten,” Graham said.
In addition to serving more students for individual counseling, CMHC added 15 groups for group counseling in the 2017-18 academic year and now offers 96 groups total.
Group counseling connects students sharing similar issues. Sam Miles, communication and leadership freshman, is a member of a counseling group that serves students who live with chronic conditions. The group, called “Connecting Around Chronicity,” is in partnership with Services for Students with Disabilities.
Miles said the group allows her to relate with students going through similar experiences and has also supported her outside of counseling sessions when she faced issues in the classroom.
“I call up my friends from the group and I’m like, ‘Please send me hugs or memes or something,’” Miles said. “It’s really good that we have each other’s contact outside of the group too, because when you’re going through a mental health problem, you need to have some resources all the time.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article said 6,012 students recieved individual counseling in the 2017-18 academic year, when it was actually 6,102 students. The Texan regrets this error.