The first step for most students seeking mental health services is a brief, confidential zoom appointment with a MHS staff member. The purpose of the conversation is to clarify and assess your needs, and explore options for next steps.
The zoom appointment can be scheduled online through the Habif portal.
What to Expect
You will need to check in for the appointment 10 minutes prior to the start of your appointment. You will be asked to complete a brief assessment that will help us to better understand how you are currently doing. Your counselor will review the information prior to the start of your appointment. We will start the Zoom appointment only after you have checked in online and completed the brief assessment.
The MHS staff member will talk with you about available options that may be appropriate for you. These might include:
- Scheduling a routine appointment with a MHS staff member
- During periods of peak demand, the waiting time will grow. If you do not wish to wait, we can help facilitate a referral to a TimelyCare clinician
- Getting you into one of our MHS groups which many students have found to be supportive and effective assistance for addressing their concerns
- Scheduling you for an urgent appointment if your need is more serious (usually within 1-3 business days)
- Referring you to a community mental health provider. This can be a good option for students who want in-person open-ended therapy, prefer to pursue counseling off-campus, or want to begin a counseling relationship immediately during those times of the year when immediate access to MHS may be limited due to high demand.
We rely on you to help us understand the nature and urgency of your needs. Please be as open as you can during this Zoom session.
After the first appointment, follow-up appointments may also be made online. Please understand that routine appointments must be scheduled in advance in order to find a time that works for both you and your therapist or psychiatrist. Counseling return appointments can be made as far as six weeks out, and up to three counseling return appointments can be scheduled at any given time. During periods of very high demand, you may experience a delay in scheduling a return appointment. We appreciate your patience.
In the event of a crisis, during normal business hours, please call us at 314-935-6695 and identify the situation as an emergency. If you are contacting us after business hours, call 314-935-5555 if you are on campus or 911 if you are off campus.
For mental health concerns which are not life threatening when Habif is closed, please download the TimelyCare app, register using your WUSTL email address, and access the Talk Now feature.
Before Your Appointment
See your Patient Rights and Responsibilities and read the HIPAA Information to learn more about how your medical records and information are handled. Your conversations with our staff members are confidential.
As a client at MHS, you also have the ability to access some of the records related to your care via the student portal. To maintain your privacy, it is very important to keep your WUSTL Key and password login and password private. Should you have any questions or concerns accessing the portal or the internal sharing of your personal health information, please discuss this with your MHS clinician.
Making the Most of Short-Term Therapy
- Brief counseling works best when clients are prepared to identify and clarify goals for treatment. Your therapist will collaborate with you on this task.
- Be ready to do some work in sessions and between sessions. If you want to make progress, make therapy part of your life. Commit yourself to doing any homework or skills practice suggested by your counselor.
- Have realistic and positive expectations for counseling. What you get out of counseling is directly related to the effort that you put into counseling.
- It’s important to note that a therapist’s role is not to “cure” or “fix,” or to provide dramatic insights (as we often see portrayed on TV). The role of a counselor is collaborative in nature. Therapists help students identify and clarify goals for treatment, and assist with achieving these goals via emotional support, guidance, education, and homework assignments.
- Be open to trying new ideas and skills. Clients who are not open to trying new ideas and skills are less likely to make progress because doing so amounts to ‘doing the same thing over and over’ regarding their issues.
- Realize that progress does not occur on a straight line. It’s much more conducive to think of progress made in counseling as you would view the rise in the stock market or housing market over time. That is, in each of these instances there are many ‘dips’ but an overall ‘rise.’
- Be honest and open with your therapist. This can be difficult, especially if you’re not used to sharing, but give it a try. It may help you to think about what you want to talk about beforehand.
- Talk to your therapist about your experience of counseling. Therapists appreciate when clients talk about how therapy is working. If there are issues, you and your therapist can communicate about this and make a plan for improving how you work together.