By Tabitha Barr / Editor in Chief

The rate of mental health issues has skyrocketed in the past years and it continues to increase. College-age students are now understanding that mental health needs to be acknowledged and helped.

Hutchinson Community College is striving to do everything thing it can in that aspect, as the college offers counseling services to its students.

Christopher Lau, Coordinator of Advising, Career Development and Counseling, and Head of Student Services, wants students to feel safe on campus.

“At the college here, we have three licensed mental health therapists. In that regard, it makes us unique from other colleges, universities, etc.,” Lau said.

Many education facilities have counselors, but they may not be what students need or are looking for.

“Many have college counselors, who have the counselor title, but who aren’t licensed in the state to do therapy,” he said.

But every counselor at HutchCC is licensed in giving care and can help students with their problems.

Many students have not heard that the college offers therapy, let alone that it is offered at a financial-stable cost.

“It’s all completely free.” Lau said.

Employees at HutchCC know that college and life can be triggers in student’s mental health. They want to do the most in helping students understand themselves and understand how to approach life in a healthy way.

Their hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. If a student wants to arrange a session with Lau, Debra Graber or Mike Shirkey, contact Michelle Wortham at or 620-665-3377. She can schedule an appointment get students connected with the help they need.

While students are able to receive free counseling from the college, some cases may need more attention. HutchCC works closely and recommends for students suffering and need help faster, Prairie Star and Horizons Mental Health Center. Both provide reduced rates for college students. Horizons also offers a 24/7 crisis management services for students who need immediate help.

Sometimes, students don’t want to ask for help until it comes to the time they can’t put it off any longer.

“At the moment that the need is the greatest, that’s when the delivery of information is the most important.” Lau said.

He wants HutchCC students to know that they are here to help, even if they don’t realize it until later.

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