Welcome to Mental Health Services (MHS) at Washington University in St. Louis. Our professional staff members work with students to resolve personal and interpersonal difficulties, many of which can affect their academic experience. These include conflicts with or worry about friends or family, concerns about eating or drinking patterns and feelings of anxiety and depression. Although some concerns are more frequent than others, students' experiences are as varied as the students themselves. Staff members help each person to figure out her or his own situation, through individual, group and couples’ counseling, crisis counseling and referrals.
Making an appointment
The first step for most students seeking mental health services is a brief, confidential phone conversation with a MHS staff member. The purpose of the conversation is to clarify and assess your needs, and explore options for next steps.
The telephone assessment can be scheduled online through the SHS portal
Most brief assessment phone appointments are scheduled for the same day (or the next day if your request occurs late in the day and there
are no more available appointments).
What To Expect
At the scheduled appointment time, you will receive a call from MHS for a 10 minute conversation with a MHS staffmember. The staff member will ask several questions about your situation and talk with you about available options that may be appropriate for you. These might include:
- Scheduling a routine appointment with a MHS staff member (usually in 7 to 10 business days, depending on student demand)
- Getting you into one of our MHS groups which many students have found to be supportive and effective assistance for addressing their concerns
- Scheduling you for an urgent appointment if your need is more serious (usually within 1-3 business days)
- Referring you to a community mental health provider. This can be a good option for students who want open-ended
therapy, prefer to pursue counseling off-campus, or want to begin a
counseling relationship immediately during those times of the year when
immediate access to MHS may be limited due to high demand
We rely on you to help us understand the nature and urgency of your needs. Please be as open as you can during this phone conversation.
After the first appointment, all of your return appointments may also be made online.
Please understand that routine appointments must be scheduled well in
in order to find a time that works for both you and your therapist or
psychiatrist. During periods of very high demand, you may experience a
delay in scheduling a return appointment. We appreciate your patience.
In the event of a crisis, during normal business hours, please either come directly to SHS or you may call us at 314-935-6695 and identify the situation as an emergency. If you are contacting us after business hours, call 314-935-5555 if you are on campus or 911 if you are off campus.
Before your appointment
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and medical treatment of mood, anxiety and learning disorders. Physical conditions may often mimic psychiatric disorders. MHS psychiatrists will confer with medical staff and provide comprehensive care to the student. Medications are prescribed when indicated and are monitored carefully.
The first step in scheduling your first visit with a psychiatrist is a brief telephone assessment. The telephone assessment can be scheduled online through the
Referring a student to services off campus
Often, students can benefit most with help from other people or agencies. The Mental Health Services staff work to keep abreast of these resources. Every effort is made to find appropriate referrals and help students make contact with them. If you prefer to pursue support for yourself off-campus and would like assistance with identifying appropriate mental health referrals, please call 314-935-6695.