Counseling Services

The pressures and stresses of college life and beyond can be challenging and can stop you from focusing on your studies. We want to help. Oakton offers free individual and group counseling to support you and help you address your mental well-being so you can succeed during your time with us.

We have trained counselors ready to assist currently enrolled students. Some issues they frequently offer guidance on include:

  • Grief and loss
  • Self-esteem
  • Academic struggles
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Relationship issues
  • Loneliness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Gender issues
  • Concerns about sex and sexuality
  • Family problems
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Eating concerns and disorders
  • Substance misuse
  • Cultural matters and perspectives

If you decide to seek counseling with us, your counseling services record will be kept confidential and separate from your academic records, except in cases of certain legal exceptions.

Our counselors also offer crisis intervention services during Oakton's normal business hours and referral information for students who need long-term services not available at Oakton.  

Counseling, Confidentiality and Crisis

Counseling records are kept separate from all other Academic records to ensure your confidentiality. Records are maintained in an electronic database stored in a secured, password-protected environment and accessible only to Oakton counseling staff.

Information obtained during counseling sessions is not disclosed to anyone without your knowledge and written consent. If you do provide written consent allowing us to disclose information, you may cancel that (in writing) at any time. Once we have received your cancellation, we will not disclose any additional information.

The only exceptions to these strict confidentiality rules are rare instances where psychologists and counselors are required to reveal information by federal, state, or local laws. These exceptions come into play when:

  • We believe there is a substantial likelihood that a client will cause serious physical harm to himself or another person unless protective measures are taken. In these cases, Illinois law mandates that the parents of dependent students must be notified.
  • We have reasonable cause to believe that a child is being abused or neglected, or an aged or incapacitated adult is being subject to abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • We receive a court order upon good cause shown or in compliance with a subpoena.
  • We are approached by authorized federal officials for information related to national security and intelligence activities. By law, we may not be able to reveal to the client when we have disclosed such information to the government.
  • We need to seek legal advice from Oakton's policy and legal affairs advisor.
  • The parents of a minor (i.e., a student who is under the age of 18) request information.

Social Networking and Confidentiality
Oakton counseling staff will not accept friend or contact requests on social networking sites from clients or students with whom they have professional relationships (including trainees and student employees). This policy exists to minimize the potential for online relationships that could compromise client confidentiality and the privacy of both clients and staff.

If you or someone you know has attempted suicide and needs immediate medical attention, or suicide is imminent, call 911 immediately.

Counseling Services provides crisis services to currently enrolled Oakton students. If possible, call in advance to schedule a same-day counseling appointment. If you are not in immediate crisis, you may stop in or call for a routine counseling appointment. 

During regular operating hours, counselors are available to respond to crises and unexpected events that impact students. To connect with a counselor during a crisis, contact the Wellness Center at either campus at 847.635.1885 or stop by the Wellness Center, Room 1200, Des Plaines, or Room A175 Skokie.

Examples of urgent crises may include:

  • thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • not eating for several days (for reasons not related to a physical illness)
  • being a recent victim of physical or sexual assault

After-hours Crisis
Oakton does not provide after-hours crisis intervention. Students on campus who need crisis support when Counseling Services is closed should contact Public Safety at:

Des Plaines, Room 1170
Non-emergency - 847.635.1880 
Emergency - 847.635.1888 

Skokie, Room C100
Non-emergency - 847.635.1422 
Emergency - 847.635.1888 

Additional Resources

Emergency/Crisis Numbers

  • Emergency 911
  • Oakton Public Safety Emergency - both campuses
    847.635.1888
  • Des Plaines Police - non-emergency
    847.391.5400
  • Skokie Police - non-emergency
    847.982.5900

Also see: Helping Someone in Crisis

Rape and Sexual Assault
Find additional support services for victims of rape and sexual assault at www.rapevictimadvocates.org.

  • Rape Victim Advocates
    312.443.9603
  • Rape Crisis Hotline
    888.293.2080

 Hotlines

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    800.273.TALK
  • Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network
    800.656.4673
  • Adult Abuse
    800.992.6978
  • National Domestic Violence
    800.799.SAFE
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Action Helpline
    800.662.4357

Frequently Asked Questions

Personal counseling is free and available to enrolled Oakton students only. Students may receive up to 12 individual sessions per academic year. If long-term counseling is recommended, referrals will be provided.

Group counseling is also free. There are no group counseling session limits, but there are a limited number of group types.

Not all problems can be treated by Oakton's counseling team. In those cases, community resources and referrals are provided.

No. Oakton's counselors do not provide psychiatric services. Therefore, they cannot prescribe medication. If psychiatric services are recommended, counselors will explore treatment options and referrals in the community.

No. If couples counseling is recommended, counselors will explore treatment options and referrals in the community.

Yes. We provide online and in-person counseling services.

Many seek counseling because they need help managing the challenges we all experience at one time or another. Seeking outside help from a trained professional is a good way to work through a difficult time.

In addition to the clinical services we offer, the Wellness Center also promotes better health for mind and body through campus-wide programming and to specific groups upon request. Programming takes many formats including awareness and screening events, information tabling, virtual interactive games, wellness giveaways, film screenings, and workshops.

Examples of past events include:

  • Depression and Suicide Awareness
  • Healthy Relationships Screenings
  • National Coming Out Day
  • Stress Free Zone
  • Smoking Cessation & Marijuana Jeopardy
  • Japanese Forest Bathing
  • How to Help a Friend
  • Pandemic Coping
  • STI and HIV TestingTrans Day of Remembrance
  • Healthy Sleep Habits
  • Micro Self-Care

Upon request, Wellness Center staff can also design and provide outreach or programming to specific campus groups on topics such as stress, coping with loss, procrastination, sexual assault, mindfulness, body image, etc. Please call 847.635.1885 or email us at wellness@oakton.edu to inquire.

Counseling Staff

Our counselors are ready and eager to help you.

Mel Battistoni
(they/them), M.S.Ed., LCPC - Des Plaines
Clinical interests: LGBTQIA+, neurodiversity, identity exploration, eating disorders, relational psychotherapy, group therapy

Mark Kiel
(he/him), Clinical Psychologist - Des Plaines
Clinical interests: identity issues, group dynamics, eating disorders

Keith Morgan
(he/him), LCSW - Des Plaines and Skokie
Clinical Interests: life transitions, trauma, men's mental health, LGBTQA+ students

Rebecca Hamilton Niño
MA, LCPC - Des Plaines
Clinical interests: trauma, nervous system regulation, relational psychotherapy, wellness programming

Amy Wu
(she/hers), MS, LMFT - Des Plaines and Skokie
Clinical interests: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) mental health, immigration and acculturation, racial trauma, relationship and family issues