September 2023 Newsletter


Hey, Highlanders! September is Suicide Prevention Month, so we curated some wellness resources for you. If you haven’t yet walked through the center of campus, please take a few minutes to do so. Every September, Student Life sets up a powerful display symbolizing the sobering reality of depression and suicide among young adults.

We are committed to doing our part in reducing the stigma around mental health concerns, and we hope this newsletter will inspire you to start conversations with others. If you have any concerns at all or just want to talk to someone, don’t hesitate to call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.

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Spotlight: On-Campus Resources

Did you know that MCC has a counseling center right on campus? The mission of the Counseling Center “is to provide psychological counseling and/or referral services to assist students in achieving academic success and personal development goals.” 

The Counseling Center can help students facing a variety of concerns, including stress, anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed, depression, relationship issues, difficulty making decisions, grief, and/or trauma. The counseling center has trained professionals who can talk about any concerns you may have.

The Counseling Center offers free, unlimited, individual and crisis appointments to all MCC students. Call 254-299-8210 or email to schedule an appointment!

If you are on-campus and in crisis or danger or need help immediately, please call Campus Police at 299-8911 or call 911.

Spotlight: Off-Campus Resources

McLennan County is home to many phenomenal agencies that also provide free or low-cost mental & physical health care to qualified individuals. Below are a few resources, and you can find more listings in the Campus Resource Guide.

  • The Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network (formerly MHMR) is a local organization that offers a variety of mental health services and crisis services on a sliding pay scale based on what you can afford (this means HOTBHN will not turn people away who don’t have insurance). For more information, visit the HOTBHN website or call 254-752-3451.
  • Veterans Affairs Medical Centers provide free mental and physical health care services to veterans. Here’s an FAQ about mental health services. Get connected with the local Doris Miller VA Medical Center by visiting the website or calling 254-297-2050 (mental health care line).
  • Waco Family Medicine offers affordable physical and mental health care for historically underserved residents of McLennan and Bell counties. WFM has even received awards for innovation in mental health care. Offering options for both children and adults at multiple sites, WFM also has accessible behavioral healthcare. Get connected by calling 254-313-4500.
  • The Steve Fund is an initiative designed to increase mental health equity for young people of color. To chat confidentially with a trained crisis counselor, just text STEVE to 741741. This service is entirely free and available 24/7/365.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 988 24/7/365 to talk with a nearby professional about your own feelings or concerns for others. You can also chat online with crisis centers all over the US at
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 24/7/365 to talk with a trained crisis volunteer who will provide confidential advice, support, and referrals if needed.
  • The Trevor Project: Call 866-488-7386 or text START to 678678 to get connected with a trained counselor 24/7/365. The Trevor Project specializes in supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 24/7/365 to receive crisis counseling related to natural or human-caused disasters.


We’re grateful for the MCC C.A.R.E. Team for the tireless work they do in supporting our students and getting them connected to resources in times of crisis. We’re grateful for your effort and excited for the expansion of your team as Lacey Fitch-Ondracek returns to MCC!

Self-Care Tip

In light of our reflection on Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and our efforts to destigmatize help-seeking behaviors, we wanted to include some of the benefits of counseling for anyone considering visiting the MCC Counseling Center or finding a therapist off campus.

  • Counseling is individualized, which means the things you talk about and the skills you learn will be unique to your goals and your comfort level.
  • Counseling helps you improve communication, interpersonal skills, and conflict resolution.
  • Counseling can help you love yourself better, such as by helping you accept yourself and increase your self-esteem.
  • Counseling helps you change behaviors you’re not fond of, especially those that are self-defeating or self-sabotaging.
  • Counseling helps you understand and better manage your emotions.
  • Counseling can help you find relief from mental health concerns like depression or anxiety.
  • Counseling helps you develop coping skills and problem-solving skills to manage stress like school or significant life changes.
  • Counseling can help you improve your ability to make decisions, which is especially important for college students selecting a major or applying for jobs!
  • Counseling offers a safe outlet for you to vent about what you’re feeling, but the counselor will not leave you there; they’ll help you find hope, motivation, or encouragement as you work towards your goals.

Starting counseling might feel overwhelming at first as you look at all the technical language, types of therapy, and number of counselors that come from a search on Google or Psychology Today. The staff in the Counseling Center would be happy to help you walk through the process of finding a counselor. You can also read this article for a brief overview: Types of Counseling.

Read more here: 27 Benefits of Counseling

Easy Recipe

I’m all about one-pot meals because it’s so easy to cook and clean up after in my tiny apartment! This month’s recipe has me excited about creating a rich pasta dish that’s still healthy and affordable. 

Need any ingredients? Swing by Paulanne’s for some non-perishable goods, frozen meat, fresh fruit, cheese, and/or milk! There’s a good chance we’ll have most of the ingredients for this meal when you stop by to shop the pantry!

One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 4 


  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp butter 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lb. penne pasta 
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 oz. cream cheese* 
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • (optional) 3 cup fresh spinach
  • (optional) 1/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes


  1. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Add the butter to a deep skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the chicken is slightly browned on the outside.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet with the chicken and continue to sauté for one minute more.
  3. Add the uncooked pasta and chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken and garlic. Stir to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the broth up to a boil.
  4. Once the broth comes to a full boil, give the pasta a quick stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta simmer over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. Stir the pasta briefly every two minutes as it simmers, replacing the lid quickly each time.
  5. Once the pasta is tender and most of the broth absorbed, add the milk, cream cheese (cut into chunks), and pesto. Stir and cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has fully melted into the sauce. Finally, add the grated Parmesan and stir until combined.
  6. If using, add the fresh spinach and sliced sun dried tomatoes. Stir until the spinach has wilted, then remove the pasta from the heat. Top the pasta with freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper, then serve.


*Cream cheese usually has markings on the outer wrapping showing lines for each ounce. Use this as a guide to cut three ounces from the block.

NUTRITION (per 1 serving)

Calories: 749 kcal | Carbohydrates: 53 g | Protein: 42 g | Fat: 42 g | Sodium: 1099 mg | Fiber: 4 g

CREW This Month

Every Thursday, 1–5 pm @ SLC || Greater Waco Legal Services

Reach out for legal advice—FREE to all students, faculty, and staff! Consultation is free, but students are responsible for costs associated with applications or court fees.

Thursday, 10/12, 3–4pm @ Parking Lot R || Shepherd’s Heart Food Distribution

Swing by Lot R for FREE food from Shepherd’s Heart! Free and open to anyone in the community!

Thursday, 10/19, 11:30am – 1:30pm @ SLC || Third Thursday Thoroughfare

Come for free lunch and learn about resources in McLennan County just for college students!


More events are available on the  CREW calendar ! Be sure to save the calendar so you never miss an event!

View past newsletters here:

*Composed by Emma Cartisano*