Student Resources: About Counseling Services
By Allegra Diaz
If you’ve ever wandered down the second floor hallway of the Student Services Center, then you’ll know that the last door on the left is home to UH Hilo’s Counseling Services. Whether it be for a counseling session or a desire to meditate, the center is open to students, families, and community members from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Counseling Services provides a safe space for students to receive counseling, to learn about coping strategies, and to receive consultation. The center provides relationship and group counseling, as well as consultation services to friends or family of students. Focusing on outreach, the center offers training on suicide prevention and mental health awareness to the campus community.
The center is run by three, full-time counselors. Each counselor is licensed to be a mental-health counselor, and two out of the three counselors received a master’s degree in counseling psychology. The third, Frank Kuo, has a PhD in counseling psychology, and he is the director of Counseling Services. There are also four student interns, who are majoring in psychology at UHH, who work in the office. These interns are able to gain experience counseling students with the supervision of the licensed counselors.
Many universities nationwide have counseling services to aid college students as they journey through a unique developmental stage.
“College students are a special population… they’re in the age of late teens to early adulthood,” Kuo explained. “They experience certain issues, and we can understand more about college students [through the service]... Community resources are limited in the Hilo community, so it is good to have a service provided on campus for free,” Kuo stated.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the center passed out care packages and set up relaxation stations around campus. However, because of the switch to online platforms, the center had to modify their methods of outreach. They created a peer-to-peer support platform for students to go online, talk to each other, and find the resources they need. The center also created “Stall-Talk” posters in bathroom stalls that are changed out every month with new discussions. Suicide prevention cards and bi-weekly health-and-wellness newsletters provide students with relevant information and upcoming activities.
Students can get in touch with Counseling Services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling the office at (808)-932-7465, or by walking into their office. “Walk-in Wednesdays” are special opportunities for students to receive a 30 minute counseling session without scheduling an appointment beforehand. Walk-in Wednesdays are held from 1 to 4:30pm every week. Students can also check out the Counseling Services website to find out more about the services available to them.