How Pittsburgh-area colleges work to meet students’ mental health needs. We surveyed eight schools about the challenges.

On the campuses of eight Pittsburgh-area colleges and universities, it’s not unusual for students to wait this long, or even longer, for therapy — though some schools did report quicker scheduling. Policies regarding access and use of campus mental health services vary among the schools, affecting how students fare and if they ever use the services at all.

Key takeaways from our interview with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services director

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When Marc Cherna came to Allegheny County 21 years ago, the area’s youth and family services were seen as “a national disgrace.”

The agency was besieged by scandals. The number of young people being removed from their homes and put in the system was “out of control,” and its budget was rife with problems, he said. Cherna was brought in to rehabilitate. A year after his 1996 start date, Cherna created the county Department of Human Services by taking 32 departments and merging them into five. Residents told his team they would benefit from centralized services.