University Health Services will reevaluate its mental health services and responses through a collaborative effort between University of Wisconsin departments this semester, according to news release from last Friday.
The UHS Mental Health Services partnership with the UW Police Department, University Housing and the Dean of Students Office will focus on ensuring the well-being and safety of students, de-escalating potentially high-stress situations and promoting a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Director of Communications at UWPD Marc Lovicott said in an email statement.
Director of UHS Mental Health Services Sarah Nolan said the collaboration will provide a broader choice of options to better ensure students’ physical safety and emotional well-being.
“We see an opportunity to better serve students by more closely integrating mental health professionals into these situations,” Nolan said in the news release.
Campus-wide conversations about how UHS approaches mental health services and responds to mental health incidents came out of the summer’s social justice protests. A specific student incident from last summer also prompted UHS’s earlier commitment to reexamining its current response system.
UHS and UWPD will discuss ways to integrate mental health care professionals into responding to mental health situations — interactions previously handled by UWPD alone, according to the news release.
“This is very much a collaborative effort, not just UWPD,” Lovicott said in the email statement. “We’re excited to be moving forward with our partners at UHS, Housing and Student Life.”
Consistency in the robust mental health services provided by the collaboration of departments will help professionals respond accordingly to incidents as well as prevent crises from occurring, UWPD Chief Kristen Roman said in the news release.
These four campus entities are also working to establish housing plans to ensure mental health professions are appropriately fielded to incidents that occur in university housing, according to the news release.
UWPD data shows many mental health-related incidents occur at residence halls or are reported by resident assistants, according to the news release. Director of University Housing Jeff Novak said in the release that these integrated response services will benefit students who live on campus.
“Having these new on-campus resources for mental health will be a great way to support our residents, and we’re grateful that University Housing can be a part of this new initiative,” Novak said in the news release.
The four entities believe their collaboration will allow for a timely assessment and constructive care for those experiencing a mental health crisis, according to the news release. Details will continue to emerge during the spring semester as stakeholders and students are consulted for future collaborative plans.