At many colleges and universities across the nation, basic and common healthcare services are offered to students for little to no cost. Regardless, there are times, some students view these services as unattainable or subpar.
With many individuals experiencing mental and physical health struggles on college campuses, institutions should prioritize student health care. A primary concern of The Equinox is that students at Keene State are not being adequately cared for, physically and mentally.
We do recognize, though, that this does not rest solely on the shoulders of the Wellness Center. It is part of a larger concern about student to faculty ratios.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends a ratio of one psychologist for every 500 students, and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a ratio of one counselor to every 250 students.
As of the fall 2022 semester, Keene State has approximately 2,890 students, but only one counselor listed specifically as a mental health professional among the Wellness Center staff. In comparison, the University of New Hampshire health and wellness website has staff ranging from clinical to administrative, each with their credentials listed.
Although all staff at the Wellness Center are properly trained and are capable of delivering care, the limited number of staff restricts what it’s able to provide.
Students may also rely on the Wellness Center for assistance with physical and mental health resources, including medication. However, because of stereotypes connected to college students and drug abuse, it may sometimes be difficult to obtain medication for mental and physical ailments.
That being said, The Equinox acknowledges that the prescribing of medication varies on a case-bycase basis. Another part of our concern is that many students do not consider the Wellness Center as a reliable resource. It has come to The Equinox’s attention that students feel they do not always receive accurate and timely care at the Wellness Center.
The Wellness Center is currently not open on weekends. If a student needs medical assistance during this time, they are left with no choice but to use local health resources. And often, this is not always an attainable alternative, because students may not be able to travel to or afford services off campus. For many, the Wellness Center is the only health resource they have, and they will have to wait until Monday morning to receive care for a Friday night nonurgent injury. Students are regularly reaching out to the Wellness Center at Keene State for assistance, but are met with scheduling problems – specifically, that most or all appointments are booked many weeks out. With the shifting size of the body of faculty and staff at Keene State, it is our concern that there are not enough staff members and resources available to care for students on a regular basis.
The Equinox recognizes it is not just the Wellness Center tasked with providing resources for student health, it is Keene State as a whole. We suggest that Keene State partner with local health resources, such as Cheshire Medical Center, to ensure that Keene State has enough health professionals and resources to care for the student population.
There needs to be more effort put in by the institution to ensure that proper measures are being taken to care for the mental and physical health of the student body.