Before he arrived at Wichita State University, Steve Paniagua had never seen a therapist. He’d struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies for years, but his family could never afford treatment. As soon as he got to the Kansas school, Paniagua called the school’s counseling center. He learned that he could meet with a licensed therapist as often as he needed to, free of charge.


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“For two years, I would go maybe once a week to the counseling center,” Paniagua said. “It was that extra support that I needed. If something bad happened, I always knew I could go there and be a little bit safer than I was before.”


Paniagua graduated last month. He has no job and no health insurance.


When you have something for a really long time, you don’t know what you’re going to do when you lose it. What happens if my depression gets really bad again? It’s one of those things I haven’t really thought about,” Paniagua said.


While student enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities only grew by 5.6 percent between 2009 and 2015, the number of attended counseling appointments grew by 38.4 percent. At mid-size schools (those that educate between 5,000 and 10,000 students), an average of 10 percent of the student body uses the counseling center.


In 2016, over half of all college counseling centers experienced an increase in funding from their universities. As more and more schools expand their mental-health services, students are becoming increasingly accustomed to free or low-cost, easily accessible therapy. That can make it hard to leave college behind.


Read the source article at The Atlantic