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Kaskaskia College to implement new in-person mental health services for students

This is an aerial view, via drone, of Kaskaskia College. (Submitted photo)


College receives state funds from Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act

According to research by the American College Health Association, nearly 77% of college students experience moderate to severe psychological distress. Kaskaskia College (KC), a community college in Centralia, Ill., is working to implement new face-to-face mental health services to help provide support for its students.

KC received approximately $100,000 from the state to support the implementation of the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act through new in-person counseling services. The act, which was passed in 2019 but was only recently allocated state funding, is designed to address gaps in mental health services on college campuses across Illinois, through training, peer support, counseling and telehealth. These funds will go toward new in-person counseling services for KC students.

“This is so important because statistics show that students experiencing mental health problems are twice as likely to leave an institution without graduating if they don’t receive help,” said Vice President of Student Services Amy Zanton. “Student retention is a very important part of our mission at KC so we want to do everything we can to help students graduate. Increasing our mental health services is a way to provide comprehensive care for our students to support their success.”

Kaskaskia College is partnering with Family Life Consultants out of Collinsville to offer in-person counseling services on campus two days a week. For the past several years, KC has also provided students with telehealth counseling services and will continue to do so through TimelyMD, a virtual health provider. Zanton said while students will still have access to TimelyMD virtual services when needed, she thinks the addition of in-person services will be a tremendous benefit.

“The pandemic has taught all of us the importance of face-to-face interactions and we feel that adding in-person counseling options will give our students more comprehensive and personalized support,” said Zanton. “Our Student Wellness Intervention Facilitation Team (SWIFT) was very involved in helping us decide what would be the best option for our students and this felt like a great fit.”

Kaskaskia College is a public community college in Centralia, Ill., within South Central Illinois District 501 serving all or part of nine counties including Bond, Clinton, Fayette, Marion, Washington, Jefferson, St. Clair, Madison and Montgomery. Committed to making education accessible, they host the Crisp Technology Center in Centralia, and also have education centers in Greenville, Nashville, Salem, Trenton and Vandalia, Ill.

The school, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, offers a broad spectrum of degrees, programs and certification options, specializing in two-year associates degrees and trade school programs. Founded in 1940, Kaskaskia College was the first Class I Community College established in the State of Illinois.

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