The International Association of Counseling Services (IACS) recommends that colleges and universities maintain a ratio of one full-time equivalent mental health professional to every 1,000 to 1,500 students. IACS warns that exceeding the ratio may lead to students waiting for services that discourage them from seeking counseling and increasing the chances of them leaving the university. Delays in treatment could also present difficulties in providing services to students experiencing increasingly more severe psychological issues and negatively impact their academic success.
It is estimated that the ratio of counselors to students within the CSU system is 1:1,710. The counselor-to-student ratio on some CSU campuses is woefully inadequate and has led to excessive wait times for students to see a counselor – estimated to range from between 4-8 weeks. In order to address this issue, SB 11 requires the CSU to hire additional full-time mental health counselors.
Some campuses have tried to address this problem by privatizing their mental health services with out-of-state organizations. Private mental health services are unable to provide the same quality and standards of care as permanent, full-time counselors hired by the CSU. CSU mental health counselors are knowledgeable of their campuses and students and are, thus, able to provide high-quality care.
Another issue that SB 11 addresses is the lack of mental health counselors throughout the state. SB 11 would provide incentives for students to become fully licensed mental health counselors by providing paid internships for students who need to complete supervised professional experience prior to licensing required by the State of California Board of Psychology or the California State Board of Behavioral Sciences. By providing paid internships to prospective mental health counselors, the CSU would be able to attract more students to the program and increase the number of mental health counselors in the state.
It is for these reasons that the CFA is proud to sponsor SB 11 and thanks you for offering your support.