It's no secret that the 2019-2020 school year was different - to say the least.  One marker that demonstrates the stress caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic is the recent news from the University of Wisconsin System.  According to news sources, more than 14,000 UW-students sought counseling during the last school year - a number directly-attributable to COVID-19 concerns.

UW-Oshkosh Director of Counseling Sandy Cox reported to the UW Board of Regents that "students using campus counseling services reported that the coronavirus caused additional worry about their own well-being and those of loved ones.  [M]any students seeking counseling were afraid of infesting vulnerable family members". There were also concerns about their "financial well-being" and some of the students admitted to "substance abuse as a coping mechanism".  Most of those students seeking counseling services also reported "suicidal ideation".

Some statistics from the UW-System in regards to students who sought counseling:

  • 70% reported feeling stressed
  • 71% reported depression symptoms
  • 77% reported anxiety
  • 35% had self-injured
  • 41% seriously considered suicide
  • 13% attempted suicide

The 14,000-plus number of UW-students seeking counseling is 15% higher than it was just five years ago.  The increased numbers have caused staffing problems as the department seeks to provide services.  News sources share that the school system has a "goal of providing at least one campus mental health counselor for every 1,000 students; currently across the University of Wisconsin-[System}, the ratio is one counselor for every 1,426 students".  Administrators with the University of Wisconsin system don't see a reversal in the rising need for counseling services - especially with the COVID-19 Pandemic still raging along.

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