Counseling Center refutes accessibility denunciation, offers widely accessible services

A recent letter to the editor expressed concerns regarding access to services at the Counseling Center at the University of Illinois.

The Center takes its role in serving our students very seriously and has a strong desire to be as accessible as possible. This commitment is especially important given the growing nationwide need for counseling services on major university campuses as more students struggle with the stress of university life.

At Illinois, our Counseling Center provides more than 70 same-day, first-time appointments each week to students (phone lines open at 7:50 a.m.). We use “same-day scheduling” for first-time appointments believing that we reach students at the point of their greatest need.

Additionally, this results in a near zero percent “no show” rate for first-time appointments compared to the standard 17 percent when they are scheduled out in advance.

Center staff also provide ongoing individual and group counseling with more than 14,700 scheduled counseling appointments last year. Our outreach, consultation, education, trauma response and prevention efforts reach more than 22,000 students annually.

Realizing that our same-day scheduling approach for first-time appointments might not work for everyone, students with urgent mental health concerns may call the Center, or come in, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to talk with a counselor.

Student access to services is an ongoing priority, and we no doubt have room to improve our system. Student feedback is important to us as we continue to improve the Center to best serve our students and campus.

For further information about the services provided at the University of Illinois Counseling Center and how to access them, please visit our website at www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu or call 217-333-3704.

Carla J. McCowan,

Director of Counseling Center