UVU Mental Health Services backup

Individual therapy services for students are backed up to the point of turning down clients. Keaton Bennett, a Dean Student of Well-Being explains the path forward.

A sign that reads "Student Health Services" rests on the ground.

The Student Health Services banner rests outside of the busy office. Photo by Nathan Natividad.

Trying to get individual therapy has been a frustrating experience for students as the demand for mental health services has increased. While UVU offers many forms of mental health services, individual counseling seems to be the most popular.

Students attempting to register for individual therapy will open a link to a standard mental health background questionnaire. During the survey, students are then directed to a page that reads, “The wait list for Individual Therapy is currently full and we are unable to accept new clients at this time.” Therein lies the problem. 

Contacting Keaton Bennett, a Dean Student of Well-Being, about the issue, more information was given about what has been planned to alleviate the wait time. “I have heard comments of a long waitlist before,” Bennett explained. “And I have met with them before.”

“There wasn’t a long wait for me, but that doesn’t mean that with students coming back from Covid that influx hasn’t increased more,” Bennett continued.

When asked if other health services have been affected, Bennett said, “That’s [individual counseling services] the only thing I’ve heard of. If there’s something else going on, I haven’t heard of anything else.”

“Last year, in student fee hearings, we had a presenter come and talk about how they’ve used the fees for the previous year and how they plan to use fees for the next year,” Bennet explained. “Some people raised concerns that there is a long waitlist, and how can we fill that need.”

Bennett continued, “What it came down to was that they were looking to fill a position, but because the salary they [offered] doesn’t compete with [most] jobs in the field, no one was applying for that position. To [help] that, we were able to rearrange the student fees, and they told us that they would use the additional [funds] that we get to increase that salary so that the position can be more competitive.”

Bennett then affirmed he would check in on the current state of the student fee hearing’s funding reallocation efforts to Mental Health Services (MHS).

Ending on a positive note, Bennett mentioned that there may be more plans in the works to help students find the help they need. “Our student body president, Lexi [Soto], is working on finding other avenues. We have trained counselors, but there are other universities in the state that have found third parties, like apps and other programs.” 

Although details regarding these other options have yet to be officially declared, an interview with Soto has provided more specific details as to what future solutions may be.  

Despite the backup for individual therapy services, UVU MHS encourages students to attend group therapy sessions, which are available. Regarding this, Ammon Cheney, the outreach coordinator for MHS, has stated, “I believe it is safe to say we never turn down students. One of my favorite endorsements for SHS is that we have services for every student on campus.” 

More details can be found on the MHS website.

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