College leaders say student mental health needs are overwhelming counseling centers

One university's counseling center has seen more students this semester than all of the last academic year.

Candace Layne would love to have a conversation with West Virginia’s lawmakers or the governor about the strain that college counseling centers are going through.

“I would love for him to sit down with some counseling center directors. Just an hour. He probably has no idea how university mental health centers in his state are overwhelmed with the needs of students,” said Layne, the director of Marshall University’s counseling center.

“The big part for colleges and universities is retention. We directly impact retention. Many of our students wouldn’t make it to the finish line without the counseling center. I know that’s true on other campuses.”

In 2018, when Layne started at Marshall, 683 students visited the counseling center.

Last year, the entire academic year, 991 students went to the counseling center for help.

This semester alone, with the continued stress of the pandemic, 967 students have come to the counseling center.

Read more from WV Metro News.

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