Counseling Services offers great resources for SIUE students. That being said, there are ways they could improve when it comes to their hours and availability during peak stress periods throughout the semester.
As of right now, Counseling Services, which is located in the lower level of the Student Success Center, is open from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Online appointments can also be scheduled through TAO, Counseling Services’ online mental health service platform.
While the addition of the online assistance can be helpful for students unable to make an appointment during regular office hours, for some, it’s more beneficial to have an in-person visit with a counselor.
With busy student schedules that revolve around class, study time and work, we at The Alestle feel Counseling Services should offer extended or even 24/7 hours during the third week of the semester, midterms and finals week.
Unlimited access to Counseling Services and their counselors would ensure that students receive the help and support they need in order to be successful at SIUE. All too often, it’s easy for students to become overwhelmed. Whether it’s early on in the semester — dealing with homesickness and balancing busy schedules, or around the time of exams — when stress levels are at an all-time high, opportunities for students to seek help without limited time restrictions only increase student performance and well-being.
The goal of Counseling Services is to promote the “personal, social, emotional, and cognitive growth of SIUE students.” While they are constantly working toward this mission, it’s difficult to do so when some students can’t even get in the door.
Unless it’s an emergency, it can often take up to two weeks to schedule an appointment with a counselor. This can be a huge problem, especially when students face issues that, while not critical, need timely attention. For most, waiting around for an appointment does more harm than help.
Even a 24/7 hotline for students to call or text in times of need would be a huge step in the right direction. While it’s not a face-to-face interaction, it would provide students with quick, easy access to someone who can help.
Counseling Services is free for students, and because of that, there is only so much they can offer depending on the grants and funding they receive. It would be great to see them expand and provide more resources for students on and off campus. No one is asking them to provide year-round 24/7 office hours or access to counselors, yet.
That doesn’t mean they can’t look for ways to make themselves more readily available for students, especially when they need it the most. So many college students struggle with mental health, and while recent global conversations have lessened the stigma behind counseling and mental health disorders, there are people out there who are afraid to seek help.
By continuing to spread awareness and offer their service and support, Counseling Services can make a difference in the way SIUE students see, think and talk about mental health, and, in doing so, can provide an environment for everyone to flourish.