University Business April 2018 - 15

STUDENT SERVICES

Academic support hub adds mental health care
Students at the University of Tennessee
Health Science Center now receive more
than just academic assistance from the
office of Student Academic Support
Services and Inclusion. Besides its
traditional tutoring and other academicrelated services, the office recently added
mental health counseling.
"We thought this was going to be
the best way to destigmatize mental
health services," says Lori Gonzalez, the
health science center's vice chancellor of
academic, faculty and student affairs. "We
took mental health care out of the hospital
and health centers, and made it more accessible. We are breaking down barriers so
students can focus on their education."
An increasing number of college
students come to campus in need of
mental health counseling, Gonzalez adds.
Students in the University of Tennessee
program and at other academic health
science institutions face demanding

schedules, high tuition and academic
competition.
"These are high-stakes academic programs with high costs," says Gonzalez.
At Tennessee, two mental health
counselors now serve as talk therapists,
and the academic support office will
soon add a case manager to its staff. A
psychologist from the campus health care
clinic provides medical supervision.
The academic support office plans
workshops on preventing suicide, substance abuse and sexual assault, as well as
sessions on wellness and resilience. Participants will learn to recognize signs of
mental distress in themselves and others.
Students appreciate that the academic
support office now offers mental health
services, Gonzalez adds. The office was
already a go-to destination for other types
of support, so it made sense to intertwine
education and mental health specialists.
-Jason York

Building the program
The University of Tennessee Health
Science Center sought input and
recommendations from these
organizations in planning to offer
mental health services via the
academic support office:
* The JED Foundation, a national
nonprofit focused on the emotional
health of teens and young adults
* National Behavioral Intervention
Team Association, which works with
campuses to improve safety and foster
intervention
* National Center for Higher Education
Risk Management (NCHERM),
which conducted a counseling and
psychological services program review

Students hail safe, subsidized rides
Discounted Lyft and Uber rides present
a transportation alternative for students
on a growing number of campuses large
and small.
One of the latest to add this ride-hailing option is Assumption College, which
lies beyond the bus lines on the scenic
west side of Worcester, Massachusetts. In
February and March, the school paid $4
of every Uber ride students took to specified locations, including a city restaurant
district, shopping center, movie theater
and train station. "We really wanted
students to experience the beauty of
Worcester," says Catherine WoodBrooks,
Assumption's vice president for student
affairs. "Most students now, when they
want transportation, it's Uber."
Students also get free rides to other
www.universitybusiness.com

college campuses where they are taking
classes. The program is funded by activities
fees and a student affairs transportation
fund. As of mid-March, the college was
considering whether to extend the program through the end of the school year.
Ride-hailing agreements at Assumption and many others schools originate
with students and are negotiated by
student leaders. At the University of
Central Florida in Orlando, the student
government negotiated $5 discounts for
Lyft rides students take on Friday and
Saturday nights within a 2-mile radius of
campus. Each student can take up to 20
discounted trips between popular night
spots and housing areas.
Safe travel is a main goal of the agreement. "It reduces accidents and anything

TRAVEL BENEFIT-Assumption
College (above) and other institutions
are offering their students discounted
rides with services such as Uber.

else that can happen along the way," says
Stephanie Alfonso, director of communications for Central Florida's Student
Government Association. "And students
really appreciate it, because discounts help
when you're on a college budget."
-Matt Zalaznick
April 2018 | 15


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