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Bill Would Boost Mental Health Counselors At CSUs


Mental health advocates say anxiety is up among college students dealing with things like debt and the cost of living. That's prompted a push for more counselors at California State University campuses. 

CSU campuses would be required to have at least one full time mental health counselor for every 1,000 students, under legislation passed by the Senate Education Committee. Few campuses meet that standard now.

"Counseling centers in the CSU are woefully and chronically understaffed," says Mimi Bommersbach, a clinical psychologist at California State University, Chico.

She says the demand for mental health services is up 30 percent for several reasons.

"Political climate is one thing, cell phone usage is another thing, financial costs — the cost to our students and the pressures they're feeling," says Bommersbach. "They're working ... it used to be one job going to school, now it's two jobs going to school."

Jared Giarrusso is with the California State Student Association. He says students are dealing with a lot of issues as they try to get their degree.

"Homelessness — 11 percent of our students are homeless; food insecurity — over 40 percent of our students are struggling to feed themselves; and the political climate and discourse on and off our campuses have created an environment where our students' mental health is constantly being challenged," says Giarrusso.

So far, there is no organized opposition to the bill. The measure now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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