Students at the 7Cs received an email from Denise Hayes, the Claremont University Consortium vice president of Student Affairs, on Oct. 29 informing them that the Monsour Counseling Center currently has a five-week wait for therapy intake appointments.
According to Hayes, during the past three years Monsour has hired two additional full-time staff members. Despite this increase however, the Monsour wait time has risen from the typical two weeks.
“There is a sizeable increase in the number of students utilizing Monsour. As a result, the counselors reach the maximum number of new students they can see in order to continue to have appointments for the students they are currently meeting with,” Hayes wrote in an email to TSL.
Monsour’s Director, Gary DeGroot, has hired a new therapist who began working on Nov. 5. Monsour is also continuing to offer same-day crisis appointments and 24/7 emergency support, and maintains a list of local therapists that accept the Claremont College’s insurance plan. They are also conducting depression screenings on all the campuses and providing several workshops for students. However, some students still feel as if this problem could have been avoided.
“It’s definitely happening after the fact, and it would have been nice to see some more administrative action earlier in the semester or even before school started,” Kyra Stone PO ’16, one of the presidents of the 5C Mental Health Alliance, said.
Meanwhile, Pomona College has decided to further support its students by providing funding to offset copays if students wish to go to local therapists off campus. In an email to Pomona students, Associate Dean of Students for Wellness and Personal Success Jan Collins-Eaglin wrote, “At Pomona College, we are still concerned about the wait time and accessibility of services during this high stress time leading up to finals in December.”
Nathalie Folkerts PO ’16, part of Wellness Peers, a new group on Pomona’s campus supporting students with all wellness-related issues, said that she is happy with the administration’s support.
“I am super grateful that in light of [what’s occurring], they acted very quickly and that they’re obviously very concerned and trying towards a solution, which I really appreciate,” Folkerts said.
Many students also feel that there other ways that Monsour can improve counseling, such as improving their diversity and consistency.
The Wellness Peers program is a new project of Pomona’s Dean of Students Office.
“The idea is just to envision a group of people on campus whose job is to increase discussion around wellness and all its forms, so that would be mental health, physical health, spiritual, emotional, different things like that and have events around those wellness areas but also to foster that dialogue,” Folkerts said. “It was very vague in the way it was made and they did that so students could shape how it’s going.”