Most UMKC students unaware of counseling services, survey finds

Kenneth Butcher

How often do you take advantage of the free counseling sessions UMKC offers? Were you even aware of them?

In a random, mostly anonymous survey of 50 students on campus, less than 20% had ever taken advantage of talking to the counselors that their tuition pays for, and less than a fourth even knew of the service’s existence.

It seems that, despite efforts by the university to increase mental health awareness, many students are unaware of the counseling offered through UMKC.

“No one ever really mentioned it to me,”​ was a common phrase across multiple interviews.

The university has counseling representatives at both general and transfer orientations and attaches information on this to the syllabus for every class it would seem retention of that information is more oriented towards immediate need.

Dr. Arnold Ables, director of Counseling, Health, Testing and Disability Services, said last year, around 819 students came in for counseling. Approximately 5,900 appointments for various counseling services were booked last year as well, a notable increase from the year prior.

According to Ables, 70% of students come in seeking counseling for stress anxiety, 60-65% for depression and 55% for relationship issues.

​“The reason these numbers do not add up to 100% is because people usually come in for various types of counseling on various issues,” Ables explained. 

These numbers are consistent with universities across the country, Ables said.

The counselor’s office offers an array of services, including counseling workshops, crisis and emergency, alcohol and drug prevention, consultation assessment and medication referral.

UMKC Counseling Services is located at ​5110 Oak St 201, Kansas City, MO 64112​.

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