Please see below for preliminary information about:
- Upcoming changes to Cornell Health's counseling services
- Cornell's comprehensive review of mental health services
Last updated 4/8/19
Upcoming changes to Cornell Health's counseling services
Cornell Health is planning changes to student mental health services to provide more rapid access to care and increased flexibility in follow-up options.
These changes are in response to student feedback and a steadily increasing utilization of mental health services over the past decade.
Beginning in Fall 2019:
- Students will be able to access care when they need it, through 25-minute counseling sessions that can often be scheduled the same day.
- Students will have increased flexibility in deciding which mental health provider they see and when: they can select a counselor based on convenience or availability (i.e., first available appointment or a visit with a provider of their choosing).
- A student’s first visit will be a 25-minute session during which the counselor will focus on meeting the student’s immediate needs, learning about the student’s goals for treatment, and making a recommendation for next steps, if needed (e.g., another 25-minute session, individual or group counseling, or referrals to other resources on or off campus).
- Students who want follow-up counseling can work with their provider to determine appointment frequency and length (25 or 50 minutes).
- Students who do not schedule follow-up appointments can still return for 25-minute counseling visits in the future.
- Students will have increased access to “Let’s Talk” consultations across campus, group counseling, skills-based workshops, and psychotropic medication management services. They will also benefit from enhanced collaboration between the mental health and primary care medical providers at Cornell Health.
We are building on the success of our existing brief, goal-focused services – including Let’s Talk, urgent walk-in counseling visits, and the Behavioral Health Consultant program – by offering more immediate access to counseling sessions. Students who want follow-up care will have greater flexibility in accessing options to meet their unique needs.
This approach is similar to those being used at Brown University and other peer institutions to provide a greater number of students with more rapid access to quality care.
How we plan to accommodate these changes:
Beginning fall 2019, Counseling and Psychological Services will be shifting away from telephone "brief assessment" screenings to in-person first appointments that can often be scheduled the same day. Therapists’ daily schedules will include both brief same-day appointments and pre-scheduled counseling appointments.
- Cornell to Implement Innovative Approach to Student Mental Health Services; Cornell Chronicle, 4/8/19
- Lombardi Announces Mental Health Reforms, students “skeptical” but hopeful; Cornell Daily Sun, 3/21/19
Other university support for this model:
- Brown University CAPS treatment approach
- Boston College counseling services
- How UPenn cut counseling wait time in half without hiring new counselors; Chronicle of Higher Education; 3/7/19
Cornell's comprehensive review of mental health
In September of 2018, the Office of the President announced that the university would be conducting a comprehensive review of student mental health, stating that "Cornell Health will work with the campus community during the fall 2018 semester to determine the appropriate scope for a comprehensive review of student mental health at Cornell, anticipating that such a review could potentially begin in early 2019."
Over the course of fall 2018, feedback was solicited from a wide range of student, staff, and faculty stakeholders, including the university-wide Coalition on Mental Health.The consensus was that the comprehensive review should include two broad themes:
- Exploring how best to meet the growing clinical needs of students facing mental health problems
- Identifying ways in which the campus environment / campus culture might change to better support student mental health
Cornell’s comprehensive review will be conducted by two different groups working in concert with each other:
- A university Mental Health Review Committee composed of staff, students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional), and faculty
- An external team of expert evaluators (members to be announced soon)
This spring 2019, the university is in the process of finalizing membership in the Mental Health Review Committee, and will convene the committee and refine questions to explore with key stakeholders. The committee co-chairs (Miranda Swanson, Associate Dean for Student Services in the College of Engineering and Marla Love, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Equity in the Dean of Students Office) will also develop a plan for gathering campus input and collaborate with external reviewers to plan site visits. Between Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, the Mental Health Review Committee will conduct a ‘Listening Tour’ of campus; the external reviewers will conduct their site visits, and submit a written report.
More details will be added to this page soon.