Campus faces counselor shortage

Kalli O'Brien, News Reporter

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In the past year, Counseling Services has had two resignations leading to a shortage in counselors available to students.

Interim Director of Counseling Kateri Johnson said the counseling staff has had to adjust and adapt to their heavier workloads.

Currently, Winona State University has five full time counselors and with a campus this size the ideal amount would be to get two more full time counselors.

If the department were to get two more counselors, it could diminish the waitlist that a lot of students are sitting on because they are not already being seen on a regular schedule.

Counseling Services are included in every student’s tuition.

Winona State operates on a short-term counseling model, which is being seen by a counselor every three weeks or so to maintain mental health. While this helps a lot of students, some need to be seen more than that. However, under these current circumstances, that is not an option.

Demand for appointments is increasing every year, even though enrollment is decreasing. Johnson said the importance of finding another counselor and diminishing the waitlist is important to the student body, as well as relieving the current counselors.

Johnson said her and the rest of the counselors are happy that students are reaching out for help, however they feel terrible for the students they can not talk to.

“We are heartbroken we cannot meet the demands of the students,” Johnson said.

Mick Lynch, another counselor on campus who is navigating his extremely busy schedule due to the counselor shortage spoke about how he’s been impacted by this.

“This difficult time reminds me of why I do what I do,” Lynch said.

According to Johnson, the counselors working full time, including Johnson and Lynch are forced to take on a heavy workload. Skipping lunch breaks, coming in early, as well as staying late.

Counselors said how wonderful Student Senate as well as other various groups on campus has been.