AUCCCD Annual Survey

For the fifth year in a row, anxiety is the top condition of students seeking care at campus counseling centers, according to the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) 2014 survey. Before the last five years, depression was the top condition for which students sought treatment, but that now is a strong second. And many students of course come to counseling centers with multiple conditions. The survey provides a snapshot, through data provided by the centers, of the mental health of college students and the issues they (or at least those seeking help at the counseling centers) are facing.

AUCCCD is the international organization for counseling center directors comprised of universities and colleges from the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia, comprised of 737 members as of this survey period. AUCCCD developed and administered their Annual Survey to its membership as a means to increase the objective understanding of those factors critical to the functioning of college and university counseling centers. In December, 2014 all college and university counseling center administrators, identified in the Higher Education Directory, were invited to participate in the Annual Survey.

The survey also tracks a number of other issues, such as whether the students served in counseling centers reflect the demographics of the student bodies. Here the survey finds that counseling centers seem to be doing well at reaching racially and ethnically diverse populations. But gender continues to be an area of concern. Male students make up, on average, 44 percent of the student population at the colleges in the survey, but they make up only 34 percent of those who seek care at counseling centers.

A major area of concern for many counseling center directors in recent years has been an increased demand for services, without increased staff. Here the survey had some good news. More than half (54 percent) of counseling centers reported that they gained additional clinical or psychiatric staff during the last year. That compares to 30 percent the prior year.

The need for additional staff is reflected in data on waiting lists to see a counselor. While centers do an initial evaluation and triage, many lack the staff for full sessions with students who seek them.

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