Counseling Center adding staff due to increased emergencies

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The Appalachian Online

Tommy Culkin

Appalachian State University’s Health Services is currently conducting a national search for two additional full-time employees for the Counseling Center.

The center is looking to fill two different positions: one counselor and one postdoctoral fellow. Both would likely begin working in August, said Dan Jones, director of Counseling and Psychological Services.

The Counseling Center’s need for more staff members is due to a large increase in the amount of people needing to use its services.

From the start of the spring 2014 semester to Feb. 13 2014, the Counseling Center faced 10 emergencies and conducted 462 individual counseling sessions. In the same timeframe this semester, the Counseling Center has faced 96 emergencies and conducted 653 individual counseling sessions.

Jones said he expects the postdoctoral fellow to be hired within the next few weeks. The counselor position must be filled by August 2015.

The Counseling Center has also increased its staff by hiring temporary counselors while the hunt for full-time employees continues. Three temporary counselors have been hired as of press time, and the Counseling Center is continuing to add more.

“We’re trying to get more staff, but you can’t just hire permanent staff,” Jones said. “You have to do a national search, so it takes us a while to do that. In the meantime, we have to hire part-time, temporary people.”

Both temporary and permanent counselors treat clients. The only difference between their roles is that permanent employees tend to have broader roles.

“My position was created primarily to provide clinical services to students,” said Heidi Campbell, a temporary counselor added in January. “[I do] very limited amounts of outreach or administrative work. The vast majority of my time is spent meeting with students individually.”

Despite the increased number in clients, the Counseling Center has been able to avoid a wait list this semester.

STORY: Thomas Culkin, News Reporter