Counselors are well overdue

Callie Burgan

With the spring semester underway, students may soon begin to feel stressed as some of their exam dates quickly approach. 

This makes the health and counseling staff members valuable to help maintain the mental well-being of students who choose to use their services. 

It is no secret that the Pitt-Johnstown Health and Counseling Office is short-staffed, and a search to hire two full-time counselors is ongoing. 

Temporary counselor Laura Perry-Thomson left at the end of last semester.

Health and Counseling Director Shelley Peruso has said that her ideal staff would be to have three full-time counselors and a director. 

Although we do not have an exact number of how many counselors are needed to adequately help Pitt-Johnstown’s students with concerns or worries, we think it would be worth it to double the number of available counselors. 

At a Sept. 10 student government meeting, Peruso said candidates for the counseling position must meet specific qualifications. Online records show that those requirements include: a master’s degree, a license in counseling or social work, at least one year of experience in counseling or case management. In addition, experience with adult-aged students is a quality being searched for. 

We believe that adding more counselors to campus is long overdue and applaud Peruso, who has taken on extra counseling work in addition to her director responsibilities. 

While we hope that students’ needs are considered when hiring another counselor, it is important to remember that everyone’s needs are different and that students may not get the help that they need if they don’t feel comfortable talking with a counselor they cannot relate to. 

That is why having some counselors with different educational backgrounds and clinical styles is important. 

Student Affairs Vice President Chris Stumpf is quoted in an Advocate article as saying that good counselors are expensive. He also said Pitt-Johnstown administrators are not too cheap to hire a new counselor. 

We feel that the money, time and effort that would be spent in search of qualified counselors would be worth it if it led to a more mentally-friendly environment for students. 

With a greater inclination toward mental health, students might be more likely to thrive academically and have a more positive collegiate experience.