Iowa Lakes Community College Awarded $20,000 Grant To Provide Mental Health Services To Students

Thu 10-15-2020

(Estherville)-- Iowa Lakes Community College has been awarded a $20,000 grant from Northwest Iowa Care Connections Mental Health and Disability Services. Julie Williams, Executive Dean of Students at ILCC, says it will allow them to provide students access to mental health services through two different providers...Julie Williams01 

"We've had the question, you know, COVID causes a great deal of fear and anxiety and stress, and our students are feeling those affects. So we asked the question, how do we help our students flourish during these difficult times and the answer really was access to mental health services and offering those services 24/7 365 days via teletherapy. And so this grant is providing the funds for us to acquire two forms of telehealth: Talk Campus and also Synergy Teletherapy."

Williams says it will also allow Iowa Lakes to start up an awareness campaign once the new services are up and running in November...Julie Williams02 

"We want students to know that they can go to the app, they can go to the site and access these in a safe, confidential environment and have access to mental health professionals based out of Sioux City. The therapists will provide those teletherapy sessions from a fairly local source. Many of our students who wish to seek mental health find themselves waiting several weeks for an appointment. Northwest Iowa rural area, sometimes it's difficult to attract enough mental health professionals and so this will help fill that void."

Williams says there's an increasing need for the services among college students...Julie Williams03 

"There's a survey that was done in April that indicated 80 percent of college students are reporting COVID-19 negative effects on their mental health and one in five said their mental health has significantly worsened due to the pandemic. So we need to respond, we need to help access those resources to deal with those challenges."

According to a press release, in the 2019-2020 academic year, educational counselors at Iowa Lakes Community College conducted 84 total screenings dealing with alcohol abuse, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, depression and substance abuse.