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Counseling and Consultation Services offers free services to students

January 7, 2019

While the demand for mental health services on campus is growing, the folks at NIU’s Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) want students to know they are always available to help more people.

Students should not hesitate to contact CCS should they need help. The office is staffed every weekday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for walk-ins for initial consultation services. CCS also has a 24-hour hotline available for immediate needs and emergencies.

Parents, peers and faculty also can contact CCS if they are concerned about a student.

The number of students seeking individual and group therapy services at CCS has grown from 5.6 percent of undergraduate students in 2012 to 9 percent in 2018, Executive Director Brooke Ruxton said.

Outreach efforts continue to grow to keep up with the high demand for mental health services, an issue Ruxton says, “[is] a huge challenge for counseling centers across the country, not just NIU. Over the last several years, more and more students have been seeking services for mental health concerns, and so [everyone’s] trying to keep up with that growth in demand.”

The increase in the need for services is a positive sign of decreased stigma regarding mental health treatment and the need for support, she said. This also suggests that students, family and faculty should come together to provide additional support and understanding for each other.

CCS provides services to students dealing with a number of issues including significant mental health diagnoses, crises and phase of life concerns, whether that be struggles with relationships, exploring their identity, staying connected with family, coming to school, or facing graduation and thinking about what their next steps are.

These resources are offered for free.

At CCS, students can speak one-on-one with CCS’s therapists or participate in group therapy. To ensure that students receive the necessary support outside of the office, CCS helps faculty, parents, and peers to better understand and assist their students and loved ones through consultation and educational programming. CCS also refers students to other resources in the community if they are a better fit for the student’s needs.

In addition, CCS extends its services across campus with activities to help students learn coping skills and seek comfort, such as monthly therapy dogs at rotating residence halls on the second Monday of every month, weekly mindful meditation drop-in groups, anxiety and stress management groups, and outreach activities such as Chai Chat, Depression Screening and Wellness Fair.

The CCS office is located in the Campus Life Building. Students can walk in, Monday through Friday, between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for an initial consultation with a counselor. Community members can also call to consult with a staff member about students they are concerned about. CCS offers 24-hour on-call services at 815-753-1206 for those in crisis or needing immediate assistance.