Eastern counseling clinic sees over 200 students in first month


Rob Le Cates

Kelsey Boll, a staff member at the Counseling Clinic, talks with a student about their day Monday afternoon.

Adriana Hernandez-Santana, Feature Junior Editor

Editor’s Note: The job title for Jessica Milburn was corrected within the story to be her correct title.

With the start of the 2022 school year under way, students are using the Health Education Resource Center, HERC, in high numbers. 

According to Associate Director for the Counseling Clinic Jessica Milburn, there has been an increase in students using the mental health services. 

The HERC, located on the first floor of the Human Services building, has seen over 200 students so far this year and has even more students making more appointments. 

The counseling clinic got to introduce themselves during freshman orientation. Since then, many freshmen have been seen utilizing their services. 

Due to the high demand for services, a new approach has been implemented to try and ensure everyone gets seen. 

“Students meet with myself or another counselor or a ‘consultation’ appointment,” Milburn said. “From that appointment, we make an individualized plan for that student, whether it is individual counseling, group counseling or another resource on campus.”

In the counseling clinic, there are a wide variety as to what students come in for. 

According to Milburn, some of the reasons students come in could be for assistance on issues like depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship concerns, identity concerns and more. 

Although we have been able to go “back to normal” from COVID-19, it still seems like some students are struggling with the adjustment. 

“It seems social anxiety has grown since COVID, as many people are still adjusting to being in-person,” Milburn said. “Additionally, some students may have general anxiety about classes starting and overall adjusting to college.” 

For students that seem to work better in group environments, the HERC works in group-style clinics as well. 

“Additionally, we offer several groups in the clinic that are helpful for students including: Anxiety Group, Art Therapy, LGBTQIA+ Support Group and General Therapy Groups,” Milburn said. “We are looking to try and get more groups started, so we can serve more students.”

The HERC also offers different classes for students to help in whatever area they seem to be struggling in. 

Some of the classes include topics such as mindfulness, resiliency, stress management, self-care, nutrition and sleep.

The mindfulness class is set to start on Sept. 15, and the resilience class begins Sept. 20. 

For those who are interested in any of the other programs, students are advised to look on HERC’s website to find out more information.  

In the future, there will be a big event to help promote mental health awareness. 

“We are also in the process of planning a Mental Health Fair on Oct. 4 with the Academic Success Center, the Rec, the HERC and several other departments on campus,” Milburn said. “More information will come out soon about that.”

It’s hard for many students to find a self-care routine that works best for them. 

When it comes to balancing school, after school activities and work, it can be hard to find time for yourself. 

It’s very important to try and make a bit of time for yourself to relax and take a moment to gather your thoughts. 

Milburn advises students to find a hobby or pursue any interests they might have to help aid in their mental health journey. 

“Find something that makes you happy such as working out, reading, art, spending time with animals or being with friends,” Milburn said. “Boundaries can also be a huge part of self-care and recognizing your own limits when taking on extra tasks.”

The hours for the counseling are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 217-581-3413. 

In case of an after hours emergency, please call 1-866-567-2400. 


Adriana Hernandez-Santana can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].