Orientation Guide: Where to go for mental health services

Mia Wang

College is a high-pressure time for many students, especially the ones who are about to start their journey as freshmen. New campus, new environment and heavy classwork all can be a bit overwhelming and take a toll on students’ mental health.

Luckily, Iowa State is equipped with metal health resources that will offer help when students need someone to talk to.

Student Counseling Services (SCS) 

Student Counseling Services provides comprehensive and effective services to students, including counseling for individuals, couples and groups; career exploration; consultation; educational presentations or workshops; testing and crisis intervention. 

SCS is located on the third floor of the Student Services Building and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. SCS is closed on all university holidays, but is typically open during breaks.

To get started with counseling or other SCS services, students can walk in during walk-in hours when they have about two hours of free time.

The current walk-in hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

For students who feel they are in crisis, counselors are available during any of their open hours.

Most SCS professional services are provided by the university at no charge to the student. When testing is recommended, there is a minimal fee designed to recuperate the cost of the test. This fee can be charged to the student’s U-Bill if desired.

Crisis Counseling

Crisis counseling is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Student Counseling Services.

People can contact Iowa State’s Crisis Text Line by texting ISU to 741-741 if they find themselves in a crisis situation after counseling hours or during the weekend.

The Iowa State Police Department can be contacted at 515-294-4428 for non-emergencies and the Ames Police Department can be contacted at 515-239-5133 for non-emergencies. If there is an emergency, 911 is the number to call.

Students can also call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 if they need to talk to someone regarding information on self-help, coping skills or mental health education for themselves or for a friend who is in need.

Mary Greeley Medical Center also provides 24-hour medical care.

Thielen Student Health Center

The university health center also offers services that can help identify problems and then work to treat students’ mental health issues.

All of the primary care physicians are skilled at identifying and initiating appropriate and personalized treatments for mental health problems, including referrals to SCS, to staff psychiatrist Dr. Carver Nebbe or to mental health nurse practitioners Ranae Roberts and Sarah Hotchkiss.

Students can call 515-294-5801 to schedule appointments and 800-524-6877 to get after-hours advice.


Students also can seek interaction with clubs and organizations that are dedicated to mental health.

Iowa State’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) aims to help end the stigma of mental health. Students can find information on NAMI’s Facebook page: facebook.com/isunamioncampus

Another mental health organization is To Write Love on Her Arms, a nonprofit organization that aims to educate and encourage members to invest in treatment and recovery from depression, anxiety or self-harm. Students can call 515-357-6497 or email [email protected] for more information.

The Suicide Awareness Organization aims to break down the stigma around suicide, opting to provide members with alternatives to suicidal actions, holds events for mental health research and provides students with resources on campus to deal with suicidal thoughts or actions. The organization can be emailed at [email protected].