Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Free walk-in counseling consultations now offered to Southeast students

Sunday, February 7, 2021
Graphic by Alisha Reisenbichler

Students attended “Let's Talk SEMO,” a new walk-in approach to counseling, at the U.C. Program Lounge and Dobbins Center Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Assistant Director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Accessibility Dinia Jenkins said the program provides students with a place to speak to a counselor in a relaxed setting.

“It takes a lot of courage to come into [Crisp Hall] and speak to a counselor. Sometimes it is scary to walk into a place you know nothing about. You don’t know what to expect,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said “Let’s Talk SEMO” visits are confidential, and students can remain anonymous.

She said students will not have to fill out paper assessments or receive a formal treatment plan at the program.

“Students only have to fill out a demographic sheet to help us track how many students we have seen. The demographic sheet doesn’t require a name or other personal information — none of that. Students can come in and just talk,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the “Let’s Talk” walk-in counseling model has been adopted by nearly 100 universities and colleges nationwide.

She said the model was originally developed and used by Cornell University in New York.

Cornell’s program has been nationally recognized for its success in increasing student access to mental health care.

Jenkins said after the department corresponded with Cornell, they thought the walk-in counseling model would be a great fit at Southeast.

“We hope that once the word gets out, more and more students will show up. We know the program may start off slow, but we see it growing and expanding to more locations across campus,” Jenkins said.

“Let’s Talk SEMO” will be available every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Friday from noon to 2 p.m. at the U.C. Program Lounge and Dobbins Center for the remainder of the spring semester.

A statement from the Center for Behavioral Health and Accessibility shared this additional information on “Let’s Talk SEMO:”

The informal visits are free to Southeast students and are typically 15 to 20 minutes in length.

The walk-in consultations are first-come, first-served; appointments are not necessary.

Students are welcome to discuss a variety of concerns with a counselor; no topic is off-limits.

“Let’s Talk SEMO” is not designed for crisis support or as a substitute for formal counseling. If you or someone you know is in a crisis or in emotional distress, please call (573) 986-6191 to talk to a counselor. After hours, call DPS at (573) 651-2215 for a crisis coordinator on call.

For more information on counseling services, visit the Center for Behavioral Health and Accessibility website here.