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  • Staff report

EPCC Offers Help on the Matter of Mental Health


There are times when students can feel isolated and stressed. They may feel like they are overthinking or need someone to talk to.

Carmen Castillo-Attar

Students can contact the counseling department through the EPCC website and schedule an

appointment. They are available in person Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The

help that the counseling department is offering is not a new thing.

An article by Acad Psychiatry, approximately 8 percent of college students suffer from

depression and up to 12 percent suffer from anxiety disorders. The Counselors at EPCC extend offer mental health help to students and faculty members.

Counselor Carmen Castillo-Attar, M.A in counseling, said, "I have been working here 20 years,

and we always had a component of personal counseling and through the counseling office."

Although EPCC has been promoting and recommending the services, they have always offered them.

Castillo-Attar added that the counseling office mostly does crisis interventions. This means that if a student or a faculty member is feeling suicidal, feeling uneasy, and need to talk to someone, they can go and meet with an available counselor.

About four years ago, EPCC implemented the Employee Assistance Program. Dr. Andrew Pena, Executive Director of Human Resources, said, “The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential service that can assist an employee and their eligible dependents with

everything from crisis intervention, crisis support, short-term counseling, clinical case

management, referrals, if necessary, either to their health insurance or a support group, or other community resources.”

The service is for part-time and full-time employees. It is a 24/7 free hotline. The service is

completely confidential, so the employees, coworkers, or supervisors will not know if an

employee used the service at all. Pena said that the best way to make the employees more aware of the EAP is by recommending it to other employees.

Although the process varies from person to person, the meetings usually go as follows: the

counselor will ask some questions about how they are feeling, which is the student's issue, and what the crisis is.

Depending on the student's progress, the student and the counselor will have about three or four sessions. If the counselor feels that the student needs more sessions, the student will be referred to the community for different counseling services.

If the first session with the counselor is enough for the student, it stops there. If you are feeling down or you know another student struggling and seeking help, you can refer them to the counseling department EPCC - Counseling.

You can also contact counselor Carmen Castillo-Attar through her e-mail,, or by phone at (915) 831-2004. If you need more information about the EAP, you can talk to Dr.

Andrew Pena through e-mail at You can also call him at (915) 831-6325.

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