This is the most stressful time of the year for college students, and also the toughest time to get help.
University of Texas at Arlington counselors told students last week that the counseling and psychological clinic is booked until next semester, reflecting a statewide shortfall in college mental health services.
When the online Texas Tribune asked this year why students battling depression and worry must wait weeks to see a counselor, the answer was simple: money.
Texas universities feel the pressure to keep staffing low. And counselors are expensive: The average salary for an entry-level psychologist is $62,000.
As a result, counselors at state universities must shoulder an almost impossible caseload.
At the University of Houston, the Tribune found, the counseling center has one counselor for every 3,285 students. (The recommended national standard is one for every 1,500 students, according to the International Association of Counseling Services.)
Half of all college students have sought counseling and one-third have taken medication, according to the American Psychological Association.
Texas’ college counseling and psychological centers are a risky place to balance a budget.