Monsour to Hire New Psychiatrist, Encounters Obstacles

The search for an
additional psychiatrist at Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services at the Claremont University Consortium, launched in August 2013 after the departure of one
of Monsour’s two staff psychiatrists, is underway but facing difficulties.

According to Director and Chief Psychologist Gary DeGroot, three candidates have been interviewed
in person, while others who have expressed interest have been contacted by phone. However, the search remains open, with no candidate likely to be hired
in the near future.

“We are experiencing difficulty
getting a large pool of applicants,” DeGroot wrote in an email to TSL.
“Applicants are interested, but sometimes, meeting the part-time nature of the
job has made it difficult.”

Mendel Feldsher, who is currently the
only psychiatrist employed by Monsour, is only on campus on Mondays, which contributes to the two-week waiting period for students requesting appointments.

“A second psychiatrist would
definitely help the current situation,” said a sophomore who wished to remain anonymous and has visited
Monsour for anxiety and depression. “I mean,
there’s tons of students who would greatly benefit from seeing a psychiatrist
and getting treatment, but they can’t because it’s basically impossible to get
an appointment. How is one man supposed to treat hundreds of students on his

The lack of a second psychiatrist
has led many students who would otherwise seek help at Monsour to look
elsewhere for treatment.

“The drawbacks to having one
psychiatrist on campus is that those students who can’t wait for our current
psychiatrist’s next available appointment are being referred to psychiatrists
in the community,” DeGroot wrote. “Another psychiatrist is needed to meet the
high need of students who are being referred for medication evaluations and for
continued medication monitoring.”

Other students agreed that a second psychiatrist would improve Monsour’s

“I know some people who would
greatly benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, but when they’ve tried to get an
appointment, it’s been all booked up,” Katherine Shearer SC ’17 said.
“Hopefully the search will end soon, and a psychiatrist will be hired so more
students can seek help.”

Shearer also expressed concern that
students might give up on seeking help for mental illnesses instead of going
off-campus to find help, which may leave them in worse situations without an adequate support system.

“Ideally, even if Feldsher is
booked, students would go off-campus to see a psychiatrist,” she said. “But to
many students that’s too difficult—they don’t know who to go to, or how
they’ll get there, or if they’ll have time. With a second psychiatrist, a lot
of these people could probably get help on campus and they wouldn’t have to go
through that added struggle.”

DeGroot wrote that hiring another psychiatrist could eliminate many of the problems Shearer and other students have mentioned.

“Having two psychiatrists as we did last
year would also allow the students to have a choice of providers prescribing
medications and conducting med checks,” he wrote. 

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