Ohio University’s Counseling and Psychological Services has seen a large increase in student visits since the 2016-2017 academic year.   

Since the 2016-2017 academic year, the total number of students seen at CPS has risen from 2,281 to 2,733, or 452 students. The number of drop-in appointments at CPS has increased as well, both for the academic 2019-2020 year and 2019 Fall Semester. 

In total, CPS experienced a 19.82% increase in the number of students visiting over the past three academic years, Paul Castelino, director of CPS, said.

During Fall Semester 2019, 1,794 students were seen for drop-in or initial consultation appointments, compared to the 1,344 students that were seen in 2016. 

There has already been an influx of students utilizing CPS services during the 2020 Spring Semester. 

“This spring semester, as of the end of 4th week, we are up by 8% compared to last year and 20% up compared to two years ago,” Castelino said in an email.

A change in weather could contribute to the increase that CPS has seen in patients. 

Up to 3% of the population may experience the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, according to CPS. SAD is characterized by more symptoms of depression during the winter months. Castelino said in an email that patients with SAD effects are seen at CPS beginning in late October. 

Students seen at CPS can be affected by global issues as well, but Castelino said in an email there is largely no connection. 

“We do see some international students affected by immigration policies,” Castelino said in an email. “However, there is no evidence to show that global issues have caused an increase in demand in services.”

Data also shows that there are higher demands among seniors and freshmen. During the 2018-2019 academic year, 20.4% of all patients who utilized services at CPS were freshmen. Seniors made up 21.5% of the total number of students in attendance during 2018-2019. 

When seeking mental health services at CPS, there are a number of options that are available to students and other patients. 

Both drop-in and regular appointments are available at CPS four days a week, and Light Box Therapy is also available for clients.

Light Box Therapy patients sit in front of the box for 15 to 30 minutes and are encouraged to go along with standard tasks, such as homework or reading.

“CPS has put a lot of emphasis on creating multiple access points for students so students do not have to wait long to receive services,” Castelino said in an email.