Students experience wait for counseling

The average wait time to see a counselor during the 2014-2015 school year was anywhere between three to four days. On many occasions students were even able to see a counselor the day they called. Two weeks before the past fall semester began, however, a full-time counselor decided to retire and the University Counseling Services became very busy.

The loss of one counselor caused an increase in wait time for students wishing to see a counselor. The wait time during midterms and finals increased to a week or more, depending on which counselor students were wanting to meet with.

“As we got to the end of the semester there was more demand for our services,” Deirdre Dalsing, director of University Counseling Services said.

“Eventually students were asked to put their names on a waiting list, and when their counselor was available they would receive a call.”

Which counselor students wished to see was an important part of the waiting list because when students start out with a particular counselor they tend to want to continue working with them whenever they make an appointment.

Counseling services operates on a triage system, so there was no first-come, first-serve basis in terms of choosing which students receive assistance first.

“The triage is for students experiencing a real crisis. That is, there is a risk of safety amongst themselves and others around them. Students in the triage situation are seen within an hour of their appointment,” Dalsing said.

If students were not in need of triage services and remained on the waiting list, they were offered the name and numbers of local Platteville counseling services.

Counseling services has since added a new full-time employee, Jodi Moen. Moen received her undergraduate as well as her Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and is very excited to be back on campus.

“I think that counseling centers are a unique subset of campus where students can talk about things confidentially,” Moen said.

With the addition of Jodi Moen, counseling services is back to having a full staff.

“Students are not going to see half of what they saw last semester with waiting,” Dalsing said.

The current wait time to see a counselor on the UW-Platteville campus is four days at the maximum. Students can now be reassured that if they make an appointment with University Counseling Services, they will be seen in a timely manner.

University Counseling Services can be reached by telephone at 608-342-1891, and is open Mon, Fri from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Tue, Wed, Thu from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. An after-hours crisis line is available through Unified Community Services at 800-362-5717.

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