By Pulse Staff
University of Findlay Counseling Services Director Jodi Firsdon says every day the three counselors on staff are booked solid.
“We usually do every hour on the hour,” Firsdon said. “So for the most part, we’ll (each) do six to seven students per day. And then we still have our administrative duties.”
Firsdon says their daily appointments are usually booked about two weeks out, but walk-in hours can help students get into the rotation, especially during the first week of classes in what used to be called “Homesick Walk-In Hours.”
“We’ve just had such an increase in the severity of needs for the students coming in, it just wasn’t covering it. It was way beyond that,” Firsdon said. “I think we had about 30 people that came just that very first week of classes.”
Coming out of the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of students in general and Firsdon calls it the “perfect storm.”
“There just tends to be a bigger severity of issues that are happening at this point in time,” Firsdon said. “We’ve had a lot of loss with the pandemic. We had a lot of isolation. We missed out on a lot of skill learning that is very important at the college age.”
Firsdon says the most common issue they deal with is generalized anxiety disorder, followed by major depression and other mood disorders. They also see a lot trauma and a lot of eating disorders.
After the first week of classes, the clinic offers two days a week the rest of the semester for designated walk-in hours: Tuesday from 3 to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System
(WISQARS) Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2020 suicide was the third leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 15-24.
Firsdon says they have had 19 students report suicidal ideation so far this year.
Counseling services has a plan in place for crisis counseling as well.
“There is the 988 (phone number) that is available in the community,” Firsdon said. “It used to be the national suicide prevention lifeline.”
If a mental health emergency happens after hours Firsdon says students can contact security and security has the ability to contact her.
“If we need to problem solve or see if a student needs to go to the hospital or (we can determine) what needs to happen,” Firsdon said. “We usually average about seven to 10 hospitalizations per year.”
Occasionally counseling services has to make referrals.
“We do work with a psychiatric nurse practitioner through Blanchard Valley, and we are able to provide limited psychiatric hours that would help them (students) get medication,” Firsdon said.
That nurse is available through telehealth appointments.
As for the mental health issue on college campuses, Firsdon says awareness is a major part of what they do.
“I wish that people knew that it is more severe than what they think,” Firsdon said. “Just because they’re a college student, I hear all the time, ‘What do they have to worry about?’ They’ve got a lot to worry about. There’s a lot that’s going on and there’s a lot of issues that they’re trying to deal with.”
UF Counseling Services is located at 307 Frazer St. and can be reached at 419-434-4526 or firstname.lastname@example.org.