Mental Health at the University of Michigan
Tip: Become familiar with two of the most commonly-accessed U-M student health services:
Many services at these sites are covered by student fees that are included as part of tuition.
As the parent of a student with a mental health disorder, you likely have questions about mental health care at U-M, whether your student is in the process of applying to school or has already been accepted. The information below outlines the most common areas of inquiry, and provides links to more information.
There are many resources at the University of Michigan and in the surrounding area that students can access, from counseling and treatment resources to academic and other support services. See our resource database for a list of services including free and low-cost options.
For urgent mental health concerns, CAPS has a “Counselor on Duty” available during business hours (call 734-764-8312), and Psychiatric Emergency Services provides emergency/urgent evaluation and crisis phone services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (call 734-936-5900).
Students with diagnosed mental health disorders may be eligible to register with Services for Students with Disabilities to receive reasonable accommodations. This may include education coaching, academic accommodations or other services.
Education and Outreach
The University of Michigan staff is committed to outreach and education to address mental health issues on campus. Visit the CAPS website to learn about some of the campus outreach initiatives developed for students. The U-M Rackham Graduate School also has also launched a mental health awareness campaign specifically for graduate and professional students.
Insurance and Paying for Mental Health Services
Mental health services at U-M are most often paid for in one of four ways:
- by student fees that are paid as part of tuition
- through health insurance
- by the student’s own funds
- by accessing free services
Student fees are paid each semester as part of tuition by students who are currently enrolled for classes on the Ann Arbor campus. Students who are not taking classes over Spring/Summer terms are NOT considered currently enrolled U-M students during that time. Student fees cover:
All students are strongly encouraged to have health insurance which may cover mental health care that is not covered through student fees, such as long-term counseling, medication, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, or other services for which they would otherwise be responsible for paying. This is especially important for students with an ongoing medical or mental health disorder.
It is important to find out what mental health services are covered when making decisions about your student’s health insurance plan. For example, many students and their parents overlook the fact that their current health insurance policy may not cover services received in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Be sure to review the insurance section of this website for a list of other questions to ask your insurance company, and more information on paying for mental health services and psychiatric medications, including information on the U-M student insurance plan. It should be noted that international students are required to purchase health insurance that meets University standards.
Even if your student has health insurance, you may want to consider purchasing the Tuition Refund Plan, which may allow you to recover some tuition and applicable University room and board fees if your student has to withdraw from U-M due to physical or psychological reasons.
As a parent, it is natural to want to know about any problems your student may be having at college, whether academic, medical, or mental health-related. Throughout primary education, schools generally inform parents about any concerns that arise; prior to college, students do not have the right to withhold this information from their parents. Many parents expect that colleges and universities will operate in the same way. But for various legal and ethical reasons, parents are not entitled to college students’ medical or mental health records. Once students reach the age of 18, health care providers are legally bound to protect their privacy, and can only share information with parents if the student provides written consent. See the official statement below regarding whether you will be informed if your son or daughter is seeing a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services:
In most cases, parents will not be notified. State laws and professional ethical codes preclude the University from sharing student counseling records with third parties, including parents, without the student’s consent. There are important policy reasons supporting these confidentiality requirements, including the proven therapeutic benefits associated with encouraging students to talk openly and candidly with a counselor—without fear their conversations will be reported to others. Confidentiality, of course, is not absolute. It can be broken (and parents notified, as appropriate) if counselors determine that a student poses an imminent danger to his/herself, or to an identifiable third party.
What steps can you take to stay informed about your student’s healthcare? Perhaps the best first step is to have a respectful conversation with your student about your level of involvement in his/her healthcare. Many students are happy to allow their parents access to their health records and to let them know if they are receiving treatment. Others choose to keep this information private. Regardless of a student’s ultimate decision, we encourage students to list parents or family members as emergency contacts who the University will get in touch with in the event of an emergency situation. Students can add emergency contacts through Wolverine Access (click here for more information).
See the CAPS website for more information for parents regarding confidentiality.
Resources for parents
The University of Michigan has a website dedicated to parents of U-M undergraduate students. Visit the web site for information on academics, health and safety, parents’ weekend and more.
Visit the CAPS website for more information on mental health services and frequently asked questions.