For our interview group, we conducted interviews with six students from the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information. Our conversation was focused on the students’ awareness of UT Counseling and Mental Health Center and the services that are available to them on campus. The knowledge we gain can help us provide a better understanding of the extent of awareness of the services, and why might students be more or less inclined to use said services.
For background purposes, we asked students what year they were enrolled and whether they attended the University of Texas at Austin before starting a program at the iSchool.
Two students started in fall 2016; three students began in fall 2017, and one started in May 2017. From these students, only one attended UT as an undergraduate.
In the questionnaire, we asked takers to rate how aware or how much they have taken advantage of the mental health and wellness services available.
One student said that they were not aware that the center existed. Three students answered that they know where the center is and some of what it offers, but have not used it. Two students have taken advantage of the amenities. One of the two students who took advantage of the amenities attended the university as an undergraduate.
We then asked students how they heard about the center. Because the question was open-ended, we received various types of responses. Here are the answers we had:
One student gave two responses to this question.
Regarding what students know about the center, most of them new about location, hours and services available except one who could not respond.
Because the clinic is on the north side of campus and the iSchool is located within the downtown Austin area, we asked students how likely they would use the center.
Four students said that they would use the on-campus services due to what the center can provide, affordability, convenience and knowing that the center can refer students to other providers if needed.
One student said they would not use the on-campus services due to the limitation of therapy visits and the inconvenience it would take to use their therapists and then have to find another one once the limit was met.
One student said that they would only use group therapy services, but would use an off-campus therapist that met her needs.
Due to various answers, we asked the students if the iSchool was doing enough to make their students aware of the amenities.
Four of students responded that the iSchool does not make an effort to promote the services, while two answered that they heard from one or two faculty members or at orientation.
To help make students aware of the services provided, they responded with:
When shown the website for the center, most students noticed the extensive list of services provided, such as the Thrive app, the 24-hour Crisis Line, Mind Lab, Mindful Eating Counseling Division as well as other information such as service hours.
From the interviews we conducted, it can be said that the iSchool needs to do more to share the services provided by the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center. While most students might not use it, the center has other services that students might find helpful. Whether using outreach programs or having professors mention it in class, the iSchool should consider doing more to promote the center.