Graduate students are six times more likely to experience anxiety and depression than the general population. The same study shows that transgender, gender non-conforming, and women graduate students are significantly more likely to experience anxiety and depression than their cis male counterparts. Additionally, as educators, graduate students (and women in particular) are often tasked with noticing and navigating their students’ concerning behavior.
We recognize that these are systemic issues, but nevertheless hope that the following resources will be helpful.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Student Health Services provides 8 free counseling sessions for each student per year (regardless if they are on Wash U’s insurance or their own). These sessions are not just for individuals but also for couples, and group counseling.
Here are instructions for how to make an appointment.
Caring for the Health of Others: Training and Resources to Assess Risk and Help Out
Please assess the risk before calling an emergency number. If you are unsure whether the situation constitutes an emergency, call 314-935-2595 or 314-935-6695 for help assessing the situation and navigating campus processes.
If you are concerned for someone’s well-being, mental health professionals advise following a method of “ask, listen, and refer.” That is, to provide support and help them connect to a broader support network.
There are several on-campus resources to help you determine the best way to help colleagues or students in distress. Below is an explanation of what you can expect to happen when you reach out to these resources.
What happens when you contact WashU Cares:
If you are worried for a colleague or student who has expressed thoughts of suicide or exhibited other concerning behavior, Laura Sandoval-Sweeney, the Care Manager for WashU Cares, can help you assess how serious the situation is and what your next steps should be. You can reach her at 314-935-5820.
If the situation is deemed to be an emergency, the police may be contacted and police officers may arrive unexpected at that student’s house. Because there are many sensitive reasons why students would not feel comfortable with police responding to a mental health crisis, we urge you to educate yourself and others on the distinction between suicidal thoughts and suicidal planning, as well as the signs of other non-violent mental health issues. Most people with mental illnesses are not violent.
In most cases, WashU Cares recommends helping the student find an appropriate resource and filling out a WashU Cares form. After a care manager reviews the form, she will contact the person who created the report, assess the risk, and contact a faculty member or dean to meet with the student and inquire further. She may meet with the student to discuss possible resources and follow up through an email, phone call, or meeting.
What happens when you contact the Habif Health and Wellness Center
A mental health emergency may warrant a same-day appointment with a mental health professional.
The Habif Health and Wellness Center provides counseling, as well as less-traditional forms of support. These include TAO, an online program to help develop strategies for managing anxiety and depression, as well as “Let’s Talk,” a drop-in service that provides brief, free conversations with counselors. We recommend that you visit the Habif Center’s explanation of their services and the limits to their services.