JFS Orlando and Hillel Partner to Meet Student Counseling Needs


JFS Orlando and Central Florida Hillel


Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando (JFS Orlando) and Central Florida Hillel are proud to announce a new partnership to better meet the needs of UCF students.

Hillel is the center for Jewish life on the UCF campus, a home away from home for many students who see the community as their extended family. As such, in the last couple of years, Hillel has seen first-hand a significant increase in students seeking mental health counseling. Although students were referred out to the campus counseling center, Hillel saw a need for more accessible, and culturally competent, professional therapy. Hence, Hillel and JFS Orlando have teamed up to provide just that.

Starting August 2021, JFS Mental Health Therapist, Shaina White Williams, MSW will be available for open hours in Hillel’s newly equipped Wellness Lounge, which was funded by a $10,000 grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. Students will be able to meet with Shaina on-campus or virtually via telehealth. Additionally, new “Ted Talks” and “Lunch & Learns” with local specialists will be curated especially for students to encourage dialogue about mental health topics.

“Our new partnership with Hillel will help students access, not only much-needed services, but also care from someone who understands Jewish culture,” explains JFS Clinical Director, Ashlyn Douglass-Barnes. “We hope this initiative will change the stigma surrounding mental health and educate students about being in the ‘sweet spot’ for the onset of mental health diseases and why it is important to pursue help early.”

Therapists are specialized in a variety of modalities and can address any area of concern, including depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, peer pressure, adjustment to college issues, loneliness, and disconnection. Most insurances are accepted, and financial assistance is available, thanks to a $5000 scholarship grant provided by Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando to assist students without insurance. To request an appointment, students can visit www.jfsorlando.org/centralfloridahillel.  

Together, JFS Orlando and Hillel look forward to furthering the accessibility of vital mental health counseling for the Central Florida Hillel community.

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