In order to succeed, college students must overcome many obstacles, not the least of which involve mental health struggles. At the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, students have access to numerous mentors, trained support staff and an on-campus counseling clinic fully staffed with licensed professional and paraprofessional mental health care clinicians.
On July 2, 2007, UAFS and the Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center (WACGC) partnered to create the UAFS Student Counseling Clinic in order to assist currently enrolled full-time students by offering counseling, outreach and crisis intervention services.
In the fall of 2006, Pete Kennemer, chief executive officer of WACGC, approached UAFS officials in order to offer volunteer counseling services to students, beginning what is now the UAFS Student Counseling Center.
Following the approval, Dr. Mitch Durham, chief clinical officer at WACGC, founded the UAFS Counseling Clinic, which has since been renamed the Student Counseling Center in order to reflect that the services provided by the center lean toward guidance and are less clinical in nature.
There are many factors that can affect the mental health of today’s college student. According to the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 2018, a study of 13,984 first-year college students across eight countries, including the United States, found that 35 percent screened positive for major depression, mania/hypomania, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, alcohol abuse disorder and substance abuse disorder.
The Student Counseling Center is designed to make guidance and mental healthcare readily available to UAFS students. It is located in room 312 of the Pendergraft Health Sciences Center, and students are eligible for up to eight sessions a year at no charge.
Licensed professional mental health and paraprofessional staff from WACGC are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students may come to the center without an appointment or can make an appointment by calling 479-788-7397. Immediate and after-hours assistance is available by calling 800-542-1031. All sessions are strictly confidential.
More information on the center can be found online at: https://campuslife.uafs.edu/services/counseling-center