Exponent Explains: Counseling and Psychological Services keeps students on track

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) at MSU provides a number of services that are highly demanded by students. From individual and group counseling, to crisis interventions, to psycho-education outreach efforts, CPS helps to ensure that students can maintain good mental health while under the stress of being a student. By working with students to promote positive mental health, CPS helps to keep students on track to perform well in the classroom.

Pat Donahoe, the director of CPS, emphasized the need for the programs they provide. “We have a really high demand for services,” he said, “One of the things that some students don’t know is that the services are free.” Full time students have access to all of the programs provided by CPS at no charge. Some of the services, although still free of charge to students, are utilized less than others. According to Donahoe, individual counseling is the most utilized program out of the many provided by CPS on campus. Students can meet with counselors regarding virtually any issue that could be negatively impacting their life, such as anxiety, depression, academic issues, substance abuse, sexual orientation, life choices or grief.

Walking into CPS on the second floor of the Student Health Center in Swingle Hall, a quiet room affords visitors a place to sit and read a magazine while waiting to see a staff member. The facility has a relaxed atmosphere, ideal for the kind of services CPS provides. Students need not schedule an appointment to take advantage of CPS during an emergency; services are available on a walk-in basis for crisis intervention when immediate attention is needed.

In addition to the walk-in crisis intervention service offered by CPS, there is also a 24/7 help line available over the phone. One of the goals of the 24/7 crisis hotline is suicide prevention and intervention. Students who are in a difficult state mentally are able to talk to someone who is trained and prepared to assist the student through their time of need. Without this vital service students would have no internal intervention service available to them outside of the hours of CPS at MSU.

CPS is funded in part by student fees and receives the remaining funds necessary for its operation from the State of Montana. This money is used to pay for the outreach programs at events like Catapalooza, employee salaries and upkeep of the CPS facilities, all of which help to keep students on track through their time at MSU. In the 2013-2014 scholastic year alone, 1,300 students received help from CPS.

“Part of our mission is to support the educational mission,” Donahoe said.

Those in need of any of the above mentioned services are encouraged to stop in at CPS on the second floor of Swingle Hall, or call the helpline at 586-3333.