Since Texas State’s second campus opened in 1996, students at the university’s Round Rock location have had to drive to San Marcos to use the counseling center for their mental health needs.
Starting Sept. 25, Round Rock students were able to schedule meetings with counselors on their own campus.
“I believe (mental health care) is a service that needs to be provided,” said Marla Erbin-Roesemann, director of the St. David’s nursing school. “We know that today’s students seem to be more anxious than in the past.”
University officials referred Bobcats to the clinic at the Round Rock campus staffed by graduate students before counseling services became available on their campus.
Students and faculty did not take full advantage of this resource because they were not informed about the services it provided, said Joanne Smith, vice president for student affairs. Priority was not given to students who scheduled appointments at the clinic.
At times, students had to seek other mental heath services in the community because they could not get an appointment scheduled at the clinic, she said.
Kathlyn Dailey, director of the new counseling center, said one of the reasons that the center could not be put on the Round Rock campus sooner was due to lack of space. Ultimately, the center had to be established in the graduate students’ clinic that was not in use.
Unused space within the health care center has been converted to an office for a full-time counselor, Smith said.
The Round Rock Health Care Center had been receiving less traffic than originally expected since its opening in the fall of 2013, Dailey said. Lack of traffic at the health center was an additional reason the center was slow to open.
“We don’t want to commit all of these resources to that campus and take them away from here if they’re not going to be utilized,” Dailey said.
Round Rock has 1,809 students, according to data provided by enrollment management.
Approximately half of these students also attend classes on the San Marcos campus, Smith said.
“I’m not saying that students (on the Round Rock campus) don’t deserve the same care, but the reality for us is that we are more utilized here,” Smith said. “We would love to fully staff both places, but funding doesn’t allow for that.”
Roesemann said she is excited to have mental health services on campus.
“I applaud Texas State officials for listening to our needs and responding,” Roesemann said. “Our students need someone to talk to with an unbiased ear. All college students do.”
She said the new center will make it easier for faculty who may deal with troubled individuals because they can walk those students to the clinic. It allows for more immediate care in extreme situations.
Round Rock students who need care outside of the counseling center’s hours have multiple options, Dailey said.
“If a student reaches out there is not going to be a time that they will not receive help,” Smith said.
Suicidal students can call the main campus’ counseling center for a phone consultation or call a hotline, Dailey said.
Smith said anyone who is suicidal or knows someone who is should reach out to the University Police Department.
Smith said the police department is equipped with mental health training to help students who require the service. Williamson County police officers go through the same training.
“People think of the police in the criminal aspect, but they don’t consider that they are a community service too,” Smith said. “Police officers all over the country are training their officers to deal with these situations.”