The Student Services Finance Committee toured University Health Services Thursday and learned about services it provides, including new staff and a online service for its mental health sector.

William Kinsey, director of medical services at UHS, led the tour, highlighting the fact that students don’t have to go to their primary care provider before coming to UHS.

“Sometimes that’s a big hoop to jump through — students can’t get to a primary care provider at times, so they can just come to us for help,” Kinsey said.

The athletic training services the organization offers are covered under UHS insurance, but physical therapy services are open by referral to all students who would like to receive such services, Kinsey said.

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UHS is also involved in issues like public health and focuses on factors that impact health — such as air quality and water pollution.

James Morrison, UHS director of environmental and occupational health, said that services include animal research and health surveillance for students that were respirators.

“We have about 1,000 students that wear respirators around campus, and we make sure that the masks work properly for them,” Morrison said.

Angela Janis, co-director of mental health services and director of psychiatric services, said the mental health sector of UHS has drastically altered how initial contact is made for mental health services.

We have converted to a phone call approach that reduces the amount of time patients need to be here and in the waiting room, Janis said. She also mentioned that a 20 minute conversation over the phone is generally how UHS helps treat eating disorders and connect patients to services.

Janis said client turnover rates with UHS fluctuate, as students leave and return for services intermittently throughout their time at UW.

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“Generally, the length of time a student spends with mental health services is a school year, and some drop out but come back and get reconnected,” Janis said.

Janis said the mental health service sector is trying to fill four counseling positions they were unable to fill last year, and are trying to diversify the staff in order to match the diversity of the student body.

Silvercloud is a new mental health resource provided through UHS aimed at helping students who struggle with mental health issues. Janis hopes to expand the reach of UHS mental health services with the new program.

“Our aim is to get a 1,000 students connected to it by the end of the year and it’s something that is an addition to our services,” Janis said.


Correction: A previous version of this article stated athletic training services at UHS are not covered under UHS insurance. This article has been updated to accurately reflect the fact that those services are covered under UHS insurance, and clarify that physical therapy services are by referral. The Badger Herald regrets this error.