Following the recent school shootings that have occurred nation-wide, the Florida university system’s Board of Governors requested a $14.5 million increase in funding in support for mental health and the police force.
The portion of funding that would be allocated to UNF is half a million. While this does not sound like a lot, Dr. Andrew King — Director of the Counseling Center — believes it would greatly benefit the university.
With UNF’s recent experience involving an outburst from a student in the library last week that police referred to as a “mental health case”, King believes the increased funding will help the center be more responsive to more students.
“When people’s mental health needs are being met they are not a distraction in the classroom, they are not a distraction in the residence hall, or the library,” King said.
With more funding, the center would be able to employ two more counselors, two more psychologists, a case manager and update their computer software.
“People say, ‘why should I pay a counseling fee if I’m never going to counseling?’ What they need to understand is if you never come here and never get direct service, you still benefit,” King said. “When you walk around and this place is peaceful and quiet and things operate the way they do it’s because a lot of work is getting done kind of behind the scenes.”
In addition to having counselors and resources available at the center, their website and social media accounts are full of informative videos, and they put on events and presentations around campus.
Right now, if a student called the counseling center, they would have to schedule an appointment two to three weeks from the day they called. Dr. King believes that with more staff, that wait time will be significantly reduced.
The decision to give money to the universities will be up to the Florida legislative system to decide on in their proposition for the 2017-18 budget, which they will create next spring.
Spinnaker will continue to track this story and update it as more information becomes available.
Students interested in visiting the Counseling Center can find it in Building 2, Room 2300. Counselors are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For help after hours, call (904) 620-2602.
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