Scope of Care
Student Health & Well-Being strives to facilitate student development and success by providing treatment options that promote the well-being of MU students and enhance a supportive, inclusive campus community. Students receive services from providers who specialize in meeting the unique needs of a university community.
Counseling services has four essential roles for advancing the educational mission of the University of Missouri:
- Provide clinical services that help students achieve their academic and personal goals, using a stepped-care approach.
- Respond to the psychological effects of a crisis impacting individual students and the campus community.
- Educate the campus community to recognize, understand, and respond to students’ mental health needs through workshops, consultation, training, and community level intervention.
- Serve as training site for learners pursing completion of advanced degrees (e.g., PhD, physician, MSW).
Students are encouraged to schedule an initial evaluation appointment to determine the best treatment or resources for their concerns. Any currently enrolled student is eligible to receive an initial evaluation.
A decision about whether the needs of the student fall within the scope of care is made after considering the information from the initial evaluation and/or, if needed, after consultation with appropriate staff.
The professional judgement of our providers will govern the determination in a particular case. Students and their clinicians will discuss treatment recommendations including those offered on campus and/or in the community.
Services offered within the stepped-care model include:
- Prevention and outreach resources
- Health coaching
- Symptom management and skill development workshops
- Group therapy
- Brief problem solving therapy (1–4 sessions)
- Brief individual therapy (typically between 4–10 weekly or bi-weekly sessions)
- 24-hour crisis and consultation support
- Referral services
Common concerns that may be addressed by brief problem-solving therapy may include:
- Making a specific, important decision
- Setting specific goals and checking in to continue progress on goals
- Learning to manage mild or situational emotional or relational concerns
Common concerns that may be addressed by brief individual or group therapy may include:
- Mild to moderate anxiety and depression
- Adjustment and developmental concerns (transition to college, graduation)
- Academic performance or motivation
- Interpersonal concerns (family, friends, romantic partners, roommates)
- Grief or loss
- Self-esteem or self-confidence
- Issues related to meaning, purpose, and spirituality
- Identity development related to various dimensions of self (sexual, gender, racial/ethnic, spirituality, etc.)
- Stabilization related to trauma or interpersonal violence
- Some body image and eating concerns
- Impacts of oppression
- Brief support and referral for autism spectrum disorders
- Mild to moderate substance use concerns
Common concerns that are best served by off-campus referrals:
- Significant substance use or abuse requiring specialized care
- History of chronic hospitalization or suicidality
- Eating disorders without medical stabilization (or requiring more intensive treatment)
- Psychosis without medical stabilization
- Non-suicidal self-injury that is not improving
- Students who need immediate intensive care and/or are experiencing a severe disruption in their ability to function (a severe deterioration in day-to-day functioning or issues requiring a community agency or case worker)
- Students who are assessed to best benefit from more than weekly sessions or long term treatment
- Students who need approaches not within the scope of our care
- Students who are noncompliant with treatment recommendations
- Students who have previously completed individual therapy or exhausted eligibility for group therapy
- Students and families who bring treatment requirements that have a time frame, a number of appointments, and other restricting factors that are not available through counseling services
- Students who prefer or need longer term therapy
Services that are not available through counseling services:
- Mandated or court ordered assessments and/or treatment
- Forensic evaluation or support
- Counseling required by an academic department or for course credit
- Evaluation or letters for emotional support animals
- Evaluations to diagnose learning disorders, ADHD, or other neurological or neurodevelopmental concerns
- Intensive outpatient programs, inpatient services or specialized treatment for conditions such as:
- Personality disorders requiring intensive treatment
- Long-standing and/or untreated eating disorders with medical safety risks
- Substance use disorders requiring intensive treatment
Counseling services strives to serve as many students as possible while acknowledging the inherent limitations of a university. Thus, students whose needs exceed what can be provided on campus will be given referrals to off-campus services, which may better address those concerns.
While counseling services has excellent relationships with community providers, it is important to remember that Columbia is a relatively small community and may not have all the resources available in a metropolitan area. Counseling services will continue to be available to offer additional assistance and support in getting connected with off-campus providers.
Student Health & Well-Being has insurance specialists who are trained to assist you in understanding your health benefits policy and identifying providers covered by your insurance.
During periods of high demand for services, our staff may no longer have openings for new clients without an extended wait. In that situation, counseling services may offer students other brief therapeutic interventions or may provide referrals in addition to the ongoing availability of 24-hour crisis support.
Students who choose to wait for a counseling services appointment are encouraged to utilize appropriate self-help and well-being resources found at www.wellbeing.missouri.edu.
Scope of care of medical services
Care provided by primary medical care providers:
- Acute illnesses (cough, colds, flu, infections and viruses) and injuries (sprains, strains, cuts)
- Ongoing and chronic health conditions
- Routine health maintenance
- Reproductive health
- Gender-affirmative care
- Immunizations, including compliance with university enrollment requirements and those for the MU School of Health Professions and the College of Veterinary Medicine
- TB screening
- Travel abroad
- Allergy desensitization
- STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing and treatment, including PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV)
- Coordinated care with behavioral health consultants
Providers will refer students to specialists outside of the Student Health Center, when needed.
Mental health concerns commonly addressed by primary care services include evaluation and management, including medication, for:
- Mild to moderate depression and anxiety
- Bipolar disorder stable on medication
- ADHD stable on medication
- Sleep concerns
- Physical symptoms associated with mental health concerns
- Gender affirmative care
- Some eating concerns
- Mild to moderate substance use concerns
Concerns commonly addressed by psychiatric services may include the above concerns as well as:
- Evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder
- Severe anxiety and depression
- Neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorders
- Personality disorders
- Referral to appropriate levels of care which may include hospitalization or intensive outpatient care