In August 2019, Cornell Health implemented 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.
- Students are now able to access care when they need it, through 25-minute counseling sessions that can often be scheduled the same day.
- Students 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 is 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., a 25-minute or 50-minute follow-up appointment, group counseling, or referrals to other resources on or off campus). Students who are already established CAPS clients should review this "Returning to CAPS" information about making their first appointment for Fall 2019.
- Students who want follow-up appointments 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, with whichever provider they wish to see.
- There is no copay for 25-minute sessions. A $10 copay applies to 50-minute sessions.
- 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.
- NEW: Students can now speak with a mental health provider from our on-call service any time 24/7 by calling 607-255-5155.
> Learn more about our mental health services
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 (BHC) 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 are accommodating these changes:
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has eliminated the telephone "brief assessment" screenings and and are now offering in-person first appointments that can often be scheduled the same day. Therapists’ daily schedules include both brief same-day appointments and pre-scheduled counseling appointments.
Changes made to mental health services at Cornell Health will be included in the university's comprehensive Mental Health Review.
Especially for faculty & staff:
You can make a difference in connecting students with mental health support. Please consider helping in these ways:
- Post these flyers in your office/public spaces
- Share this slide (CU NetID required) with students on media screens or in the classroom
- Encourage students who are struggling to seek mental health care from Cornell Health and/or another caring community resource
- Consult with CCI if you have specific concerns about a student who is struggling but reluctant to seek care
- Mental Health Service Wait Time Decreased by 22 Days Since Reforms, CAPS Officials Say; Cornell Daily Sun, 11/13/19
- Cornell Students Pleased With Changes in Mental Health Services; WSKG News, 10/29/19
- On World Mental Health Day, A Look Back at Cornell Mental Health Policy Change; Cornell Daily Sun, 10/10/19
- CAPS Increases Free Appointments, Counselor Availability Among Recently Implemented Mental Health Reforms; Cornell Daily Sun, 9/4/19
- Guest Room: Cornell Health Improves Access to Mental Health Services; Cornell Daily Sun, 8/27/19
- 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
- Presentation: Overview of Mental Health Changes at Cornell Health pdf (CU NetID required) provides additional background and context for the upcoming changes
- Campaign materials for Fall Semester, 2019
Last updated 11/13/2019; watch here for future updates.