Mental Health Counseling

Reach out to us - we’re here to help! Mental health counseling services, including short-term and crisis counseling, are provided at no cost to currently enrolled Palo Alto College students. Students are encouraged to speak with a counselor to develop strategies that will promote academic and personal success. If students need long-term help, they may be referred to the appropriate external resources. View a list of community resources.

If this is an emergency, call 911 immediately or call the Alamo Colleges Police Department Emergency Line at 210-485-0911. You may also contact the Center for Healthcare Services helpline at 800-316-9241.



Safeguarding mental health for academic success

Over the past several years, Palo Alto College has dedicated renewed energy toward making sure students’ basic needs are met. Ensuring that students are safe and secure – and that their physiological needs are met – can, in turn, improve the trajectory of students’ educational careers.

Read this interview with personal counselor Rhonda O’Cana in which she offers strategies and advice for safeguarding mental health.

PAC Family Plática with Andrea Flores
Personal counselor Andrea Flores talks with Dr. Garza about caring for our mental health as we face the uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Meet our Team

Rhonda O'Cana, LPC-S, Personal Counselor
M.A., Counseling, University of Texas at San Antonio, 2002

“I enjoy helping students find positive solutions to improve their sense of well-being and happiness - which ultimately leads to success.”



Counseling FAQs

Should I meet with a personal counselor or an academic advisor?

Personal Counselors help currently enrolled students with personal concerns that may affect academic performance like:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Self-injury or thoughts of self-harm
  • Relationships
  • Depression
  • Career indecision
  • Gaining self-knowledge
  • Life planning
  • Personal counseling sessions are offered remotely by phone or via an online environment.

To make an appointment:
Email (preferred) from your ACES account or call 210-486-3750 (leave a message)

For urgent matters, dial 911 or contact the Center for Healthcare Services helpline 800-316-9241.

Academic Advisors help new students and currently enrolled students with degree planning and course registration.

  • Individual Success Plans
  • Course registration
  • Change of major or field of study
  • Academic support
  • Academic advising sessions are offered remotely via an online environment.

To make an appointment:
Log into your ACES account and use Navigate to set it up
Call 210-486-3300 or visit the Advising Centers page for more information

Who may use counseling services?

Currently enrolled students may meet with a counselor for up to three (3) sessions per topic. There is no limit for group sessions or other events. Consultation services are also available to faculty and staff with student concerns.

How do I make an appointment?

Students may schedule an appointment for mental health counseling by emailing and completing a request for counseling form. Students may also call 210-486-3750 to leave a confidential voice message.

What options are available for meeting with a personal counselor?

Out of an abundance of caution, our team is currently providing assistance remotely via email, telephone, and in some cases teleconference.

How long do sessions last?

Each counseling appointment lasts about one (1) hour. Students may be asked to arrive early at the initial appointment to complete some background information.

What groups are offered?

Counseling Services offers groups and presentations on a variety of topics:

  • Relationships
  • Family dynamics
  • Finding your life work
  • Managing stress
  • Goal setting & time management
  • Returning adults
What concerns are addressed in counseling sessions?

Students may visit Counseling Services for all areas of focus, including:

  • Academic performance
  • Adjustment to college
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Cutting/self-injury
  • Dating/loss of relationship
  • Depression/mood swings
  • Career indecision/gaining selfknowledge
  • Time management and life planning


Happiness & Wellness Tips

If you’ve ever felt stressed or overwhelmed, here are a few positive ways to improve your overall mood and health! We’re here to support your mental health! Counseling Services are free to currently enrolled students.





Rhonda O'Cana, LPC-S
Personal Counselor

Student Center (SC 101)


Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.