Staffing ‘not enough, but more than adequate’ IU counseling leader says

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The number of students using Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Indiana University Bloomington has increased sharply.

Last year, 3,539 students made 18,183 counseling center visits. The previous year, 3,187 students visited the center 13,588 times.

CAPS director Nancy Stockton said depression, relationship problems, substance abuse and mood-related disorders are common reasons students at IU seek counseling.

“I think in some ways students are increasingly stressed in 2011 partly because of the economy, they’re fearful about job prospects, many of them have family members out of work,” she said. “That kind of thing has increased stress.”

With an enrollment of 42,464 students at IU, CAPS sees about eight percent of the university’s student population.

Stockton said she believes the center has been able to manage the increase in student traffic.

“The university has funded three new positions over the last three years,” she said. “It’s still not enough, but I think it’s more than adequate.”

IU has about 17.4 full-time equivalent counseling center staff. That includes eight full-time psychologists, four full-time clinical social workers, two full-time counselors and two full-time psychiatrists. There are three full-time psychology students, a practicum student and a psychology resident.

There is no counseling session limit, but Stockton said students generally average between four and five sessions. The center tries to avoid making students wait.

“We don’t have a waiting list, per se,” Stockton said. “We try to schedule every student who calls. When the wait for an appointment exceeds two weeks… students are encouraged to use the counseling center walk-in service.”

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