Monsour Hires New Staff Members

Part of an effort to reduce wait times for appointments and better serve student needs, Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS) has hired several
new staff members for the academic year.

MCAPS created a new position of Crisis Therapist/Clinical Care
Manager, which was filled by existing staff member Kevin Thomas; hired an additional psychiatrist, Katrine Enrily; and took on two intern therapists, Melanie Garcia and Lynette Whiting SC ’09, in one-year
training positions. Additionally, the clinic hired a post-doctoral therapist,
Tracey Dashjian, and a staff therapist, Anneka Busse, both in training
positions contracted through the end of the school year.

MCAPS Director Gary DeGroot wrote in an email to TSL
that by extending the work hours of the two psychiatrists, Enrily and returning staff member Mendel Feldsher, MCAPS is now able to provide 32 hours of psychiatric
services per week. Enrily works three days a week, and Feldsher works one day a week, according to office assistant Carla Juarez.

“MCAPS felt that these
positions would help to provide care for the high volume of students that we
see each year,” DeGroot wrote. “I believe the addition of a psychiatrist and
the crisis counselor position will help to cover student need.”

Commenting on the high
student demand, DeGroot wrote that MCAPS is “continuing to look for ways to
expand staff and services.”

“Student demand is high,”
DeGroot wrote. “We are a highly utilized center and with the addition of more
enrolled students the demand for services rises. I believe this is a
nation-wide trend in college counseling centers.”

Yenli Wong PO ’15, president of the 5C Mental Health Alliance, discussed student concerns regarding MCAPS that were expressed when the student group performed a survey last year.

“We saw that many students complained about the long wait time at Monsour,” Wong wrote in an email to TSL. “Another common response from students is that Monsour staff may not have sufficient diversity training in gender identity and expression, race and culture.”

Wong said that the addition of staff members is “a good first step,” but added, “whether the wait time will be cut down significantly remains to be seen.” 

New therapists Dashjian and Busse will take on several
roles within MCAPS in addition to providing individual therapy and on-call crisis
services. Busse led a workshop for survivors of sexual assault and helped train
sponsors and resident advisers, while Dashjian will co-facilitate the LGBT support group.

Busse, who worked as an intern at University of California,
Riverside Counseling Center last year, wrote in an email to TSL that she is “realizing [her] dream to become a licensed
psychologist” by working at MCAPS.

“My main goal is to collaborate with my clients to help them
make positive changes in their lives,” Busse wrote. “I also want to continue to
provide outreach services … [and] address stigma that is sometimes associated
with counseling. I hope to be a resource and support for students from all
backgrounds.”

Busse also co-created “Life Hacks: Mental Health Edition,” a
mini-series of workshops that aim toward “helping students build
life skills and enhance their well-being,” she wrote. The workshop is held every Tuesday
from 4 to 5 p.m at the Tranquada Student
Services Center.

Dashjian wrote in an email to
TSL that she loves working with
college students and comes from a background of working at various college
and university counseling centers.

“I would like to be an
actively involved supporter of LGBTQ student groups and will work to provide
great care and support for all of our students at the 7C’s,” Dashjian wrote. “As
always, I hope to help make a positive difference in my clients’ lives.”

Wong added that initiating the support process can be a challenge for students
seeking mental health aid and suggested that students talk to the Dean of
Student Support at each college for initial advice.

“We also need to improve the way students talk (or worse, don’t talk)
about mental health among themselves; silencing our struggles is antithetic to
the promotion of mental wellness on campus,” Wong wrote. “It’s really essential
for us to have healthy conversations about this every day in informal settings
with our friends and peers.”

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