Guest Opinion: Dr. Lisa Harris

Guest Opinion: Dr. Lisa Harris

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I am writing in response to the article last Thursday entitled, “Mental Health Resources a Low Priority on Campus.”  I am happy to state that this assertion is simply not accurate. In fact, we have spent a great deal of time discussing and analyzing our medical and mental health services this year.

Currently, students are being well served by our Health Services staff with little to no waiting and with appointment opportunities available.  We also offer connections to a nurse triage telephone line after hours and to many resources in the community for referral service, all of which are listed on the home page of Health Services.  If a student is in need of counseling from our mental health providers, our Counseling Center can serve them.

As a university that cares about serving the needs of our students, we are also assessing our health care staffing and delivery methods for our students.  We seek to understand the needs of our students to ensure that we are offering the array of services and specialties that are needed and, most recently, to ensure that our offerings are aligned with the new federal health care legislation.  As a metropolitan university, we are fortunate to be surrounded by well-established, professional health care providers in the city of Boise and exploring partnerships with them to serve our students may well be part of a cost-effective and comprehensive solution. Adding staff and services here on campus is also an option. Boise State wants the best answer for students, which is part of the reason that we are deliberately and strategically analyzing our options.

As our student population changes–ten years ago, 9.5% of our incoming freshmen were non-resident, as opposed to 38.4% this fall and 71% of incoming freshmen were enrolled full time, compared to 94.5% this fall–it brings a variety of interesting challenges, one of which is a different pattern of use in our Health Services area including mental health.  We are committed to continual assessment of our offerings to meet the changing needs of our student population.

In summary, Boise State University would never place the welfare of our students in a questionable situation intentionally, as implied or stated in the article.  Our goal is to provide the best mental health services to students available.

Dr. Lisa B. Harris
Vice President for Student Affairs

 

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