McKinley Mental Health Program Overview and Goals

The Mental Health unit at McKinley Health Center (McKinley) provides assessment and recommendations for subsequent treatment for a variety of emotional and behavioral difficulties. Short-term individual psychotherapy, up to a few sessions, is provided as indicated. McKinley's staff of mental health professionals include psychiatry, clinical psychologists & licensed clinical social workers. Limited psychiatry services are available by referral from McKinley primary caregivers. Students may also consider the University of Illinois Counseling Center when considering an appointment for counseling. Information can be obtained at

Acute assessment is available 8am-4pm weekdays for students in crisis. One staff member is scheduled daily for this role.  Triage is focused on the assessment of possible harm to self or others and, as needed, transfer for further assessment and possible hospital admission. As time permits the clinician may introduce interventions, coping skills, campus, and community therapy options. Further information is available in the pages that follow. If you are in crisis after hours, call the Rosecrance Crisis Line at 217-359-4141. (Or dial 988 for The National Suicide Hotline.)

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To Obtain or Cancel a McKinley Appointment for Counseling or Medication, Call 217-333-2700

To schedule an initial appointment please dial 217-333-2700 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. If you are being referred from a provider outside of McKinley Health Center (McKinley), please have your provider send McKinley a detailed clinical summary. For medication management, make an appointment with a primary caregiver who will then establish a primary relationship and generate an internal referral for psychiatry assessment. For counseling, you may make an appointment directly with the next available counselor.

*NOTE* If you need to cancel an appointment you must call at least two hours prior to your scheduled appointment time. Failure to do so will result in a $20 fee charged to your student account.

If you are charged for a missed appointment and feel the charge is in error, you may download and complete the Did Not Keep Appointment (DNKA) form (requires a PDF viewer) and mail the completed form via Campus or U.S. Mail to McKinley Health Center for consideration.

Appointment schedules in Mental Health book out weeks in advance during much of the fall and spring semester.

What if I’m in a crisis or cannot get an appointment?

McKinley provides same day emergency consultations to students with urgent mental health concerns between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. These consultations are focused on stabilizing the current crisis/emergency and providing immediate support to the student while linking them to our services. Students who are dangerous to themselves or others will be transported to one of the local emergency rooms for further assessment and treatment.  McKinley caregivers do not provide care of the student during hospitalization. After hours, any students who are concerned they may be dangerous to themselves or others should call the Rosecrance Crisis Line at 217-359-4141, go to the nearest emergency room, or dial 988 for The National Suicide Hotline.  McKinley has a Dial-A-Nurse program 24/7 and these resources can be accessed by calling (217) 333-2700.

What should I expect from my appointment?

The first appointment will provide the student with an opportunity to talk confidentially with a licensed mental health caregiver about immediate concerns. The student should plan for this appointment to last about 60-90 minutes in total. The student will complete initial intake forms and meet for about 45 minutes. The student will talk about some of the reasons for the appointment and the caregiver will collaborate with the student to help determine what services and resources will be most helpful.

Psychiatric Medication

The McKinley primary caregiver may be able to prescribe and adjust needed medication. Appointments to see a McKinley psychiatrist are available by referral only from within the Mental Health Unit or from a McKinley primary caregiver. Wait times can be weeks or months for an initial psychiatrist appointment. While many of the oral medications are readily available through the McKinley Pharmacy, long-acting injectable psychiatric medications, clozapine, and some complex medication combinations cannot be managed nor obtained at McKinley and the student will need to establish care with local psychiatrists in the community, or at home. Plan ahead if local community care is the student’s need as access to local psychiatrists for chronic medication management can take up to 6 months for the initial appointment within Champaign-Urbana.

Stimulant Medication Prescriptions

Some McKinley primary caregivers may continue treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity if the student submits appropriate documentation of need from a licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. McKinley does not provide diagnostic evaluation for ADD/ADHD diagnosis and generally does not start students on stimulant medication. McKinley may prescribe medications for a student if an appropriate legible letter or medical records come from a licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, with comprehensive support for the diagnosis. Medical records or letters from home primary care physicians are not accepted for ADD or ADHD medication support. If a student needs to seek campus support for accommodation in the classroom, call the Disability Resources and Educational Services Department on campus (

Support for Emotional Support Animals

While many of our staff love animals and are pet owners, McKinley Health Center is not able to provide assessments to document the need for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). ESAs are viewed under the Federal Housing Act (FHAct, 42 U.S.C.A. 3601 et seq) as a “reasonable accommodation” for those who have a physical or mental disability.

Guidelines and Documentation Requirements Related to ESAs 

Additionally, if you live in University Housing and want an ESA to live with you, you must be registered with Disability Resources and Education Services (DRES) and fill out their registration form

If you have not been diagnosed with a disability and want to be evaluated to see if you are eligible to have an ESA, you must find a mental health provider in the community to diagnose you and recommend that obtaining an ESA is a reasonable course of treatment given your condition.

To find a mental health professional in our area to help you meet this need, a good place to start is to contact your health insurance provider.  This link allows you to search for local therapists.

What if I need to talk to someone in case of Emergency or after 4:00 pm?

McKinley hours of operation are posted and students will be seen and provided support by available caregivers within those hours. The last same day appointment for Emergency Triage with the Mental Health Unit is 4:00 pm, Monday – Friday.  McKinley collaborates with Rosecrance Central Illinois,  to provide support and referrals for individuals needing mental health support after 4 p.m. and on weekends. Please contact the Rosecrance crisis line at 217-359-4141 to speak with a counselor, or call The National Suicide Hotline by dialing 988. McKinley Dial-A-Nurse program is available 24/7 and these resources can be accessed by calling (217)333-2700