Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Kari L. Fletcher


Social Work


The purpose of this study was to learn how students at a small Midwestern college were utilizing the school’s counseling center. This quantitative study used a survey to learn about the mental health concerns and distress levels of students who had not used the college’s counseling center (

n = 127). The survey results revealed that the overwhelming majority of "non-counseled" students were aware of the counseling center and that it provided free counseling services. However, many of these students had recently experienced significant levels of concern with various problem areas, including anxiety, depression, relationships, and eating/body image. These problem areas were further examined through the lens of gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. This study also explored reasons why students had not sought counseling and whether they intended to do so in the future. This study also utilized secondary data reported by the college’s counseling center indicating problem areas reported by student clients ("counseled students") on intake forms. This study compared non-counseled and counseled students and found that the difference in rates of reported problem types between these two groups was statistically significant for anxiety, depression, relationships, family, and victimization—indicating that students with significant concerns in those areas were most likely to utilize the counseling center. The study concludes with implications for practice, policy, and research.

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Social Work Commons