Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Patient experiences with CCPH are improving, but not enough

Negative experiences are still present but decreasing gradually
Robert Rigo

The need for mental health services is more prevalent than ever. On the University of Massachusetts campus, many students and faculty members are grappling with issues they likely have not foreseen this academic year, such as the legal issues related to the Whitmore sit-in and the recent death in our community. On top of life-changing events, they still need to worry about the everyday stressors that tend to rear their ugly heads as we get further into the semester.

To combat the mental health issues that emerge because of these stressors, UMass provides a multitude of services through the Center for Counselling and Psychological Health. These services are tailored to help an individual in any way that is most beneficial to that patient. CCPH provides a vast number of services, but may be spreading itself too thin. The ultimate goal is to ensure that no student or faculty member slips through the cracks, though this is easier said than done.

Across the United States, the mental health of college students is worsening, forcing college campuses to rethink how they are approaching mental health treatment. According to the American Psychological Association, this increasing statistic could be seen positively since it may be changing because a larger majority of the population has access to higher education. Further, students are more willing to reach out for help when they are in distress.

However, this only accounts for one side of the problem. It doesn’t address how those in the mental health field are overworked and how this can affect the care that is provided. In response to these issues, college campuses are attempting to adopt new practices to better help those in need while also protecting their staff.

At UMass, CCPH staffs many qualified providers who enhance the unique services it supplies. In the article by the APA, the author mentions how the tunnel vision on individual therapy in the mental health world is starting to disappear as more organizations are adopting new methods, such as group therapy and workshops, which may prove to be more beneficial. CCPH has already adopted these practices, and their care seems to be improving over the years.

Speaking to a few students on campus, they’ve told me their care has been mainly good, suggesting a shift in tone regarding CCPH. One student, Matthew Ciampa, a freshman earth systems major, told me that his first meeting there was purely accidental because of some confusion with phone numbers when he was searching for care. Regardless of this accident, Ciampa commented, “I felt that I was able to talk about what I wanted to without feeling a sense of nervous pressure by my surroundings.” He further summed up his session by saying, “It was a very calming and nice experience.”

The biggest challenge CCPH faces is creating more uniformity within their care. Some students still report negative experiences even though most students report positive or at least neutral ones. A Reddit thread from three years ago is just one indication of how different of an experience patients received and how, even with the complaints, CCPH has been improving.

To further improve, CCPH should focus on their uniformity of care throughout all services they provide so nobody is overlooked. Even with their improvement, it is important to remember that the services they provide can be life-changing for that person, positively or negatively.

All students and faculty should seek the services they need if they are experiencing negative thoughts or feelings in any capacity. The UMass 24-hour crisis hotline number, (413) 545-2337, should be used for non-life-threatening situations. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, 911 should be used if off campus and UMPD, (413) 545-3111, should be used if on campus. Further information for available services can be found on the CCPH website.

Katie Seda can be reached at [email protected] and followed on X @KatieSeda_.

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