Every student needs mental health access
Members from higher education institutions have been using our union voice to make sure our students have access to mental health supports. On Tuesday, Highline College EA member Nicole Wilson testified in front of the House College and Workforce Development committee in favor of HB 1468, which would increase student access to mental health counseling at community and technical colleges.
“Counselors can provide holistic counseling by assisting students on navigating their internal and external barriers for their college success,” testified Wilson.
The bill creates pilot projects to help community and technical colleges partner with community-based agencies to expand the availability of mental health services. Wilson also called for the committee to take a more equitable approach to awarding the funding to make sure the most underserved students get needed supports.
“I recommend prioritizing pilot funding for schools with the smallest counselor to student ratios, as a more equitable criterion for selection,” remarked Wilson. “Pilot funding for a school with only one counselor would allow them to increase their staffing and services.”
Mental health supports at community and technical colleges are just as important as those at K-12 or four-year institutions, as Wilson noted. Equally important is having faculty counselors on campus able to directly support students. This bill is one step forward toward providing more badly-needed access.
Following the hearing, the committee scheduled the bill for executive session and possible vote for this Thursday – stay tuned to OurVoice for the latest on this and other priority legislation.