Mason Family Flash

Expanding mental health support for Mason students

There is a growing need for mental health support for Mason students. Most patients often approach their primary care provider first with mental health concerns, which is why Student Health Services has partnered with the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) to expand mental health treatment options for Mason students.

Through federal grants administered by CHHS, Student Health Services has introduced two innovative initiatives that provide for mental health care in the primary care setting: the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program and Collaborative Care.

As a part of these programs, every Mason student who walks into Student Health Services receives a universal screening for alcohol, drug, tobacco use, and depression. If a student’s screening indicates a potential concern in these areas, a licensed professional counselor within the clinic will provide brief behavioral counseling. Other options include psychiatric consultation, referral to a higher level of treatment, or case management as appropriate.

This program provides additional support to the care that nurse practitioners and physicians already deliver to students with mental health concerns with the added expertise of a counselor and psychiatrist. For additional information about Student Health Services, visit

Students also have access to mental health services through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which provides crisis intervention, time-limited individual counseling, group counseling, coping skills workshops, community referrals and case management, online psychoeducational support, and more. To learn more about CAPS, visit

The addition of specialized treatment options in Student Health Services increases access to mental health support, particularly for students who may not feel comfortable asking directly for mental health care or who would not have identified the symptoms or concerns without a screening in the primary care setting.

Rachel Wernicke, Ph.D.
ssociate Dean and Chief Mental Health Officer
University Life

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