Nov. 9, 2021
Christine Even is a student affairs professional and licensed psychologist with more than 13 years of experience in higher education in university and college counseling center settings, and more than 17 years in the mental health field. She recently became director of the University of Missouri’s Counseling Center after serving there as a staff psychologist and in leadership roles for the past 10 years.
Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs, recently talked with Even to learn more about her favorite parts of her job and how students can put their mental health first.
Bill Stackman: Tell me a little about yourself.
Christine Even: I am originally from Wyoming. Though I miss the mountains, I love all the outdoor activities that Missouri has to offer.
Within my clinical practice at the MU Counseling Center, I have developed an expertise in working with students presenting with a variety of traumas. I greatly enjoy working with graduate and non-traditional students, international students, as well as underrepresented and other minority student groups. I appreciate the drive and resilience my clients bring to the therapy space.
BS: Nationally, we are seeing more students struggling with mental health. What advice do you have for students who feel overwhelmed, anxious or are struggling at Mizzou?
CE: I would like students who are struggling to know that they are not alone. Though coming to college offers many new opportunities, it also comes with challenges. Chances are, if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or are struggling at Mizzou — many of your peers are, too.
It’s also important to know that if you feel you can’t cope on your own, Mizzou has many resources available to help you navigate the many challenges life brings. The MU Counseling Center is just one of the many places that can help improve your overall well-being.
BS: What is your vision for the Counseling Center?
CE: There has been a significant increase in demand for mental health services both nationally as well as at Mizzou over the past decade. As demand has risen, so has wait time for services. A change is needed in order to best meet the needs of Mizzou’s students.
Over the next year, I am prioritizing the redesign of the MU Counseling Center’s service model to a collaborative stepped care model. This model will focus on improved and rapid access to services, increased collaboration with division and campus partners that contribute to overall well-being, a greater “menu” of mental health services provided, and the potential to serve more MU students over time. It is also important to me that our new service model eases access to services for students of underrepresented groups on campus and is based within a culturally oriented and culturally competent practice that is informed by relevant theoretical models.
I am looking forward to working in collaboration with students and campus partners in the design and development of our new clinical model, services and programming.
BS: Beyond the Counseling Center, are there other resources for students?
CE: Mizzou offers many opportunities for students to manage stress and improve their overall well-being in helpful ways. Check out MizzouRec to find ways to move your body. Visit Student Health and Well-Being on Engage to find events and workshops that help you build skills for managing stress and other mental health concerns. Download the Sanvello app and create an account using your MU e-mail to unlock a huge toolkit for managing symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. And if you’re ever facing significant difficulties related to your health, personal or family emergencies, financial issues or other areas of concern, please reach out to the Care Team.
BS: What is your best advice for students to be successful at Mizzou?
CE: I have two key pieces of advice I give the students I work with. The first is to be kind to yourself. This is especially important during times of change, uncertainty or adjustment. It can be easy to fixate on one’s own mistakes. Instead, practice self-compassion.
The second piece of advice is to know that, if you are struggling and your usual coping strategies are no longer working, it is OK to reach out for support. Everyone needs additional support from time to time.