Resources and Support for Students in Difficulty: Summary

Resources and Support for Students in Difficulty
02/22/2011; 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM G239 & 243 Angell Hall

Summary: Rachel Maki, from the Dean of Students Office, Tim Davis, from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and Trish Meyer and Stephanie Salazar from the Depression Center gave a brief overview of the types of resources and support that their offices provide to students (as well as to instructors, advisors, and staff).  The Dean of Students Office works with students who are dealing with every conceivable type of issue, from mental health to major medical to family or student emergencies.  In addition to receiving calls and incident reports from students, roommates, parents, instructors, advisors, staff, neighbors, etc. the Dean of Students Office also convenes a weekly “Students of Concern” meeting at which point people from across the University bring forward names of students about whom a serious concern has been raised so that patterns can be detected and appropriate follow-up can be coordinated.  If you are working with a student who has a complicated set of problems, needs support in finding and/or obtaining assistance or services from other offices, has experienced a hate or bias incident, or with regard to whose situation you simply don’t know where to begin, contact the Dean of Students Office: 734.764.7420.  (The Dean of Students Office also maintains a 24/7 hotline (734.764.3700) for faculty and staff for the reporting of critical incidents.)  In addition to Outreach and Training Programs, CAPS offers clinical services, and also a range of programs aimed at providing students with information and support apart from individual counseling.  Their three main programs are: 

  1. Common Concerns Meetings, which occur on a weekly basis (currently Mondays through Thursdays 4:15-5:30PM) and deal with Depression, Academic Performance issues, Anxiety, and Difficult Relationships; 
  2. Drop-In Programs, which occur on varied days/times on topics such as Stress Reduction, Self-Esteem, Sleep Hygiene, and Relaxation; and 
  3. Group Counseling, which unlike the previous two programs requires an appointment and offers weekly group sessions based on a range of social identities and/or issues and experiences.  

As mentioned previously, CAPS also provides short-term individual counseling, referrals out, including to long-term providers, and maintains a ‘counselor on duty’ for crisis situations (734.764.8312).  They also provide QPR (suicide prevention) training, as well as workshop versions of their Common Concerns Meetings and Drop-In Programs to units or groups upon request.  The Depression Center brings together information and resources dealing with the treatment of and research on depression, as well as engaging in a variety of forms of outreach to campus, local, and national constituencies.  Among their principal forms of outreach to the U-M community is the campusmindworks website, which is a clearinghouse of information and resources on mental health disorders, organized by issue and constituency group (students, parents, faculty & staff, care providers) and with a flexible search function.  Campusmindworks has also developed a series of drop-in wellness groups on topics such as depression, anxiety, and stress, which meet monthly (October through April) on North Campus, Chrysler Center, Room 133.

Questions: The following questions arose during the open Q/A and discussion:

  • CAPS vs. the Depression Center: To whom should the initial referral be?
    The initial referral should generally be to CAPS, who will refer out if appropriate, unless the student already has a specific diagnosis and is looking for a specific treatment provider.
  • GSIs: What assistance or resources for making referrals are there for GSIs who encounter students in need of such a referral?
    CAPS has a ‘counselor on duty’ during normal business hours for crisis situations (734.764.8312).  They also have information and specific guides (e.g.,Helping Students in Distress” and “Concerns About Writing”) on the faculty & staff section of their website:
  • Information Sharing:  If you have referred a student to CAPS (or some other treatment provider), should you inform anyone else in the department (e.g., chair or key administrator) or university (Dean of Students or Director of Graduate Student Affairs at Rackham)?
    Generally such referrals and notes about such issues should not be placed in the student advising file but kept in more confidential place, unless you specifically discuss this with and obtain permission from the student (which can be a good idea).  For undergraduate students in LSA, the Office of the Assistant Dean of Student Academic Affairs maintains confidential files (Dean’s files) created at the request of advisors, instructors, or administrative staff in which such information is kept and which are accessible to members of the Academic Standards Board, (general) advisors, and others at the discretion of the Dean.  If you have a concern that the student is in serious crisis, report the incident to the Dean of Students Office (for undergraduates): 734.764.7420, or to Rackham Graduate School Director of Graduate Student Affairs (Darlene Ray-Johnson:



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