Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is bustling with activites as faculty and staff welcomed the largest freshman class in several years and returning students to the Campus Beautiful for the 2023-24 academic year. Along with the excitement of the school year come challenges with managing a full course load, developing a social network and for many, being away from home for the first time. To help students adjust to college life, EKU provides free on-campus resources from tutoring to workshops to mental health counseling.
At the 2023 student convocation, EKU President David McFaddin encouraged students to be proactive with their mental health and utilize the services that are available to them.
“Students at EKU have an integrated support system, right on campus, to help them succeed. We are the institution where we look to the left, and we look to the right, and we lock arms and say, ‘We’re gonna get there together,’” McFaddin said. “We strive to be the best in delivering mental health services to our student body and help them navigate the challenges they face every day.”
According to the American College Health Association, a study conducted in 2022 showed 77% of college students experienced moderate or severe psychological distress. Recognizing an increased need and desire for mental health services among college students, EKU is leveraging a collaborative effort between its Counseling Center, Psychology Clinic and Student Health Services to provide more support for students.
“We made tremendous progress during the 2022-23 academic year toward integrating our mental health teams at EKU,” said Dr. Dustin Wygant, executive director of integrated behavioral health. “We are working hard to utilize all our resources and teams to best serve the university community and help students succeed at Eastern. We’re in a really great position to help students manage the challenges that come with college and make their time at Eastern an excellent experience.”
Last year, the Counseling Center and Psychology Clinic provided mental health services for more than 1,000 clients within the EKU community.
EKU’s Counseling Center provides confidential psychotherapy, educational events, and individual, couple or group therapy sessions. Workshops can help students learn coping strategies, how to manage stress and how to increase focus. The Counseling Center has a relaxation room—open to anyone in the EKU community—equipped with massage chairs, Oculus systems for meditation and a library of mental health resources. The Counseling Center also operates an after-hours urgent support and crisis line for students 24/7.
Extended mental health services—such as therapy, testing, support groups, outreach and telepsychology—are also offered through EKU’s Psychology Clinic. Additionally, EKU’s Student Health Services has three psychiatric nurse practitioners on staff to help students who need mental health medication services. Both the Psychology Clinic and Student Health Services facilities have recently been renovated and updated.
All mental health services from the Counseling Center and Student Health Services are free to currently enrolled EKU students.
As part of National Suicide Prevention Week, EKU is hosting several events to build awareness around mental health services and suicide prevention across campus. Nationally-prominent suicide prevention expert, Dr. David Jobes (The Catholic University of America) headlined an event on Sept. 8 for faculty and staff about his evidence-based approach to treating individuals with suicidal ideation. Additionally, the campus community is invited to view the documentary “Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” on Sept. 14 in the Powell Building. The following week on Sept. 19, a tabling event will provide mental health resources, information, activities and giveaways.
With the fall semester now underway, EKU would like to remind students of the abundance of campus resources available to ensure student success and wellbeing. For those unsure of where to start, the Counseling Center can offer a welcoming and comfortable environment and referrals, if needed. Visit the Counseling Center in Whitlock 571, call 859-622-1303 or go to counseling.eku.edu.