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BYU suicide and campus mental health appt. wait times

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The BYU student who attempted suicide on campus has died in the hospital. This incident highlighted an issue with long wait times for counseling appointments. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/12/05/woman-who-attempted/ 

After Monday’s incident, Brigham Young University students questioned wait times at the campus counseling center. The school said it will propose adding more therapists when its trustees meet in January. Currently, it has one counselor per 1,000 students.”

From the link within the link, “

Since the incident, several students have raised concerns about their attempts to seek counseling at the Provo school. They say the wait times are long, with some up to 10 weeks. When they do get in to see a therapist, they said, they can go a month or longer, between appointments. And if they wait too long into the semester, they’re turned away until the next term.

“I think the problem is BYU doesn’t allocate enough resources,” Payne said.

“They are understaffed, overbooked and no one can really get the help they need,” added Brigham Pitts, a freshman studying French. He recently waited three weeks to get an appointment and said his depression “definitely got worse” during that time.

The Deseret News takes a “there is nothing to see here” approach. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900045209/byu-student-dies-after-fall-deemed-suicide-from-campus-building.html

It always amazes me the different reporting on the same event.

I think it is news a student taped a letter to the counseling office door discussing wait times and a lack of follow up appointments. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/12/05/after-public-suicide/

Edited by bsjkki
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This is incredibly tragic.  I hope that the LDS church can find some money somewhere to provide a budget for a few extra counselors to help deal with the mental and emotional suffering of its members.

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I know someone who knows who the young woman is, I am heartbroken for them. We had a sister missionary here 2 years ago, just a wonderful, lovely person to be around, Canadian even. Anyways, she finished her mission and then for quite some time now she was posting these anxiety/depression videos online and she attends BYU. A few weeks ago she posted this video talking about her suicidal thoughts and everything. When I heard about this tragedy I was hoping it wasn't her and I was emailing around to find out. It wasn't but I wish things were different for people going through that.

 

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19 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

This is incredibly tragic.  I hope that the LDS church can find some money somewhere to provide a budget for a few extra counselors to help deal with the mental and emotional suffering of its members.

i'm sure they will, sadly this isn't just an issue for the Church, it happens everywhere

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/university-of-alberta-student-suicide-family-1.3276196

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2 minutes ago, Duncan said:

I know someone who knows who the young woman is, I am heartbroken for them. We had a sister missionary here 2 years ago, just a wonderful, lovely person to be around, Canadian even. Anyways, she finished her mission and then for quite some time now she was posting these anxiety/depression videos online and she attends BYU. A few weeks ago she posted this video talking about her suicidal thoughts and everything. When I heard about this tragedy I was hoping it wasn't her and I was emailing around to find out. It wasn't but I wish things were different for people going through that.

 

It’s so sad. 😢 I’ve had to help find counselors for my kids. It was something I had no experience with and I found it hard and frustrating...and very expensive. When a student seeks counseling, they have probably been needing counseling for some time. 

LDS social Services was helpful and made timely referrals which helped a lot. We payed out of pocket and were able to get them in quickly. It cost over $400 a month...not something the average BYU student could afford. I’ve found most highly recommended therapists do not accept insurance.

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I saw a lot of comments in the Trib article of students who said, while there is a long wait time to get regular scheduled visits set up, they do take walk-ins who can be seen within 30 minutes. 

 

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29 minutes ago, Duncan said:

i'm sure they will, sadly this isn't just an issue for the Church, it happens everywhere

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/university-of-alberta-student-suicide-family-1.3276196

This absolutely is a universal problem. In my experience, LDS social services was invaluable with their referral program. I didn’t know where to start, and they helped. I sometimes have empathy overload and imagine students seeking help and being  told there is a long wait. When you need help, that would be so defeating.

Edited by bsjkki
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Just for a bit of perspective, this is a problem at many different universities (see this article for example). It might be good for BYU to look at what other universities are doing to meet growing demands for counseling. I hope that they can find ways to make it easier for people to meet with counselors and get the help they need. They should also try to work on mitigating the things that get people to the point where they need counseling in the first place. There could also be more talk about mental health from the school and training on how to cope with things.

On a more personal note, it is kind of bothering me that everyone is talking about this only just now. When one of my classmates at BYU killed himself a few years ago in a less-dramatic fashion off campus, hardly anyone seemed to care about it.

Edited by mapman
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16 minutes ago, mapman said:

Just for a bit of perspective, this is a problem at many different universities (see this article for example). It might be good for BYU to look at what other universities are doing to meet growing demands for counseling. I hope that they can find ways to make it easier for people to meet with counselors and get the help they need. They should also try to work on mitigating the things that get people to the point where they need counseling in the first place. There could also be more talk about mental health from the school and training on how to cope with things.

On a more personal note, it is kind of bothering me that everyone is talking about this only just now. When one of my classmates at BYU killed himself a few years ago in a less-dramatic fashion off campus, hardly anyone seemed to care about it.

I’m sorry. It is sad that it takes an on campus, witnessed suicide to bring attention to an existing problem.

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2 hours ago, bsjkki said:

The Deseret News takes a “there is nothing to see here” approach. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900045209/byu-student-dies-after-fall-deemed-suicide-from-campus-building.html

It always amazes me the different reporting on the same event.

I'm not sure how you can say the reporting is a "nothing to see here approach."  Right after noting how tragic the event was the report spends the next third of the article writing about 4 different ways that students can get help. 

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10 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

I'm not sure how you can say the reporting is a "nothing to see here approach."  Right after noting how tragic the event was the report spends the next third of the article writing about 4 different ways that students can get help. 

I agree the article has all the pertinent facts for this one incident. I would call it a minimalistic article. Compare the home pages of the Tribune and Deseret News. In one it is definitely no longer prominent.

*if this was done purposely to not encourage copycats, I can respect that. In my area high schools, there is always fears of copycats after suicides.

Edited by bsjkki
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10 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

Compare the home pages of the Tribune and Deseret News. In one it is definitely no longer prominent.

 

The Tribune does go out of it's way to promote stories that cast the church in a negative light.  Right now 3 of the 6 headline stories on it's webpage concern the church in one way or another.  All are critical in one way or another.  In my observation this is in no way uncommon and typical of how the Tribune sells itself.  You can pretty much be guaranteed of reading something critical of the church every day in the Trib.

However, the current story linked to from the Trib home page is shorter than the story you link to from the Deseret News and lists only one resource, rather than the four in the Deseret News article, available to students.  Even more minimalist than the Deseret News minimalist article.

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One thing too is if you are a student, the cost of paying for a counselour could bar you from seeing one, especially if you are student loaning it. I don't know but I hope Universities offer free counselling

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5 minutes ago, Duncan said:

One thing too is if you are a student, the cost of paying for a counselour could bar you from seeing one, especially if you are student loaning it. I don't know but I hope Universities offer free counselling

Not to state the obvious but nothing is free. When colleges add such things, especially if they are heavily used, then tuition goes up for all. While student loans and decreased state funding of state universities is the likely primary driver of massive escalating college prices, a secondary cause is added services for students. Some of these are of questionable value such as gender or racial sensitivity training by people often making much more than professors. Some, like counselors, are seen as more valuable. Yet again when the counselors often get paid more than teachers, and people demand more and more of them, costs go up which leads to ever increasing tuition. The question then becomes if that's the best way to deal with the issue.

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Here is the deal that not many people understand.  If you want to see a therapist who does not accept insurance, you can request a superbill which is basically a receipt for funds paid, along with a diagnosis and procedure codes.  You can then submit to your insurance company and recoup some of those funds depending on your policy. 

I would send my child to a private practice if I had involvement.  But if the school has a 10 week wait for mental health services that needs desperately to change.  No excuse for that, when therapists are waiting to be hired. 

It’s not the schools fault this poor gal took her own life. But we can do more to provide services everywhere, in and out of the church.  

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I have had such awful experiences with therapists...especially my last one. Ugh...I paid a $100 for talking to myself.

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Nevermind

Edited by mfbukowski

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I'm blown away by the focus on BYU's "inadequate" resources when the Trib article explains how much worse UVU, USU, and UofU are in terms of number of therapists available. 

Talk about a double standard! BYU has between 2 and 5 times the number of therapists per student as the other Universities. 

 

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34 minutes ago, Duncan said:

One thing too is if you are a student, the cost of paying for a counselour could bar you from seeing one, especially if you are student loaning it. I don't know but I hope Universities offer free counselling

They counsel for free. At least last time I checked.

is there any evidence that this person sought counseling and wasn’t able to receive it? I’m not sure how having more counselors will solve the problem if help wasn’t sought.

how many suicides happen at BYU? This is literally the only one I’ve heard of since I went to the school and started paying attention to anything BYU related

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16 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Just to note while the wait for scheduled recurring therapy is long at BYU, one can walk in at any time for immediate help. I think there was some misunderstanding of that point. Also there are other mental help facilities outside of campus. In the same way that going to the campus health clinic isn't typically the best bet for getting medical care, going to the campus therapist often is a worse choice than alternatives. The biggest problem isn't what BYU offers, although that could be improved, but ignorance of what is available around Provo and Orem.

I agree and this is not just a BYU problem. This is a problem everywhere. Knowing how and gaining access to mental health care is challenging. If you are the one having a crisis, this makes a difficult process even harder to navigate.

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13 minutes ago, Avatar4321 said:

They counsel for free. At least last time I checked.

is there any evidence that this person sought counseling and wasn’t able to receive it? I’m not sure how having more counselors will solve the problem if help wasn’t sought.

how many suicides happen at BYU? This is literally the only one I’ve heard of since I went to the school and started paying attention to anything BYU related

I have no answers to those questions!

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18 minutes ago, kllindley said:

I'm blown away by the focus on BYU's "inadequate" resources when the Trib article explains how much worse UVU, USU, and UofU are in terms of number of therapists available. 

Talk about a double standard! BYU has between 2 and 5 times the number of therapists per student as the other Universities. 

 

Like I have said, this is not just a BYU problem. But, if BYU has 2 to 5 times as many therapists as other schools and still has a 10 week wait...what does that say about the mental health of BYU students? Do the other schools have these long wait times?

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48 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I agree and this is not just a BYU problem. This is a problem everywhere. Knowing how and gaining access to mental health care is challenging. If you are the one having a crisis, this makes a difficult process even harder to navigate.

It's worth noting that there is a flier I believe they give out at the clinic at BYU listing mental health options. You'd never know from the way people, often apparently ignorant former students, are going on in places like Twitter and Facebook. In particular most students should qualify for medicaid.

1 hour ago, Avatar4321 said:

They counsel for free. At least last time I checked.

It's $15 per session although they reduce that if the student can't pay.

1 hour ago, Avatar4321 said:

is there any evidence that this person sought counseling and wasn’t able to receive it? I’m not sure how having more counselors will solve the problem if help wasn’t sought.

So far as I can tell we know nothing about this unfortunate young women. People, especially the usual suspects, are just jumping to conclusions. Ditto about LGBT issues. 

The main complaint though is the broader issue of more demand than the BYU therapists can keep up with.

1 hour ago, Avatar4321 said:

how many suicides happen at BYU? This is literally the only one I’ve heard of since I went to the school and started paying attention to anything BYU related

BYU doesn't keep statistics so it's hard to know for sure. Certainly this isn't the only one though. It's unfortunately reasonably common, presumably about at the rate of the state. 

1 hour ago, Jeanne said:

I have had such awful experiences with therapists...especially my last one. Ugh...I paid a $100 for talking to myself.

Yes, I'm a bit cynical myself. There's a lot of presumption therapists can cure things but their abilities are actually quite limited. Often oversold by therapists. Ditto the effectiveness of drugs.  As I said originally one of the key things to do is likely to take oneself out of the stressful situation causing the problems - that for many people is college itself!

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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