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SDSU Aims To Assist Students With Mental Health Without Screenings

Sandy Jorgensen-Funk, director of Counseling & Psychological Services at SDSU, and Alfredo Aguirre, director of San Diego County's Mental Health Department, talk to KPBS.


Sandy Jorgensen-Funk, Director of Counseling & Psychological Services at SDSU

Alfredo Aguirre, director, San Diego County Mental Health


An investigation into the Colorado theatre shooting found that before the massacre, James Holmes sent a notebook to a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado. The book was reportedly filled with violent images of shootings.

Sandy Jorgensen-Funk, director of Counseling & Psychological Services at San Diego State University, told KPBS that no mental health screening is done on incoming students.

“I don't think it would be a good idea to be screening students for mental health issues for a variety of reasons," she said. "We don't want students to feel stigmatized about whatever they're dealing with. We don't want students to feel as though they're going to be blocked from being able to enter. We want them to be able to come in, and our goal is to provide as much information as possible about the services we have.”

She said the school looked closely at its counseling services after a school shooting in 1996 on the SDSU campus left people dead, and again after the Virginia Tech massacre.

“What we've really tried to put in place is an opportunity for any student, staff, or faculty member who's concerned about a student to be able to call our office and talk with a therapist by telephone that same day," she said. " And consult with us about concerns that they're having. And if it's an urgent situation, then be able to see that student for a same-day appointment.”

Alfredo Aguirre, director of San Diego County's Mental Health Department, said many mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder manifest between the ages of 16 and 25.

"With just the nature of the condition, many of these individuals aren't even aware they're exhibiting symptoms of the illness," he said.

Information about resources available at college campuses and in San Diego County can be found through the county's It's Up To Us program.

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Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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