For Parents and Loved Ones

You care about keeping your student in a mentally and emotionally healthy state at the University of Michigan. This page will help you better understand the scope of what services are available and ways you can best support your student.  

“Communicate with your children to find a way to check in on their mental health that doesn’t feel invasive to them. My mom and I have a system where she asks about my stress level, loneliness level and overall mood and I can simply answer on a one to ten scale, which allows me to keep parts of my life to myself while still keeping her in the loop about how I’m feeling.”

Services

There are many resources at the University of Michigan and in the surrounding area that students can access, from counseling and treatment services to academic and other support resources. See our find treatment services page for a list of of treatment options on and off campus. The two most commonly-accessed U-M student health services are:

Many services at these sites are covered by student fees that are included as part of tuition.

Students with diagnosed mental health conditions 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. A list of other support resources can be found here.

Confidentiality

The best first step is to have a conversation with your student about your level of involvement in their healthcare. 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.

Once students reach the age of 18, health care providers are legally bound to protect their privacy, and can only share information with someone if the student provides written consent.

This is the official statement from Counseling and Psychological Services regarding whether you will be informed if your student is seeing a counselor:

Treating information confidentially means not releasing any information to parents or loved ones, including whether a student has made an appointment or attended sessions at CAPS, without their signed written consent. Our staff keenly recognizes that this may be difficult however we are legally and ethically required to maintain these standards of confidentiality.

What may be helpful to know is that in most instances, students are more than willing to sign a release of information that would allow the therapist to discuss their situation or concerns with their parent(s) or loved one(s).

However, for any number of personal reasons, there are students who are not willing to sign a release of information. In these situations, we uphold privacy concerns consistent with professional guidelines and mental health laws. If you have questions about this don’t hesitate to contact us.

Insurance and Paying for Mental Health Services

Mental health services at U-M are 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

A student health service fee is paid each semester as part of tuition by students who are currently enrolled for classes on the Ann Arbor campus and PhD students 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 services at CAPS and most services at UHS.

Whenever possible, it is good to have health insurance for care 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. Students can be covered under their parent’s health insurance until they’re 26 years old. Domestic and international student health insurance plans are also available through the university.

If your student is not from the Ann Arbor area, check if their current health insurance policy will cover services received in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Be sure to review the insurance section of this website for a list of questions to ask your insurance company and more information on paying for mental health services and psychiatric medications. International students are required to purchase health insurance that meets University standards.

Education and Outreach

University of Michigan staff and students across campus do a large amount of outreach and education around campus in order to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and promote help-seeking to address mental health issues. The Depression Center provides education through its Depression on College Campuses Conference, which is held annually on campus and is free to students. The Depression Center also has this website alongside bi-weekly wellness groups, as well as targeted programming for student-athletes.

Other Education & Outreach:

CAPS

Wolverine Wellness

U-M Mental Health Student Organizations

Resources for parents

The University of Michigan has a website dedicated to parents of U-M undergraduate students. Visit the parents site for information on academics, health and safety, parents’ weekend and more.

The JED Foundation also has a parents guide on supporting your college student’s mental health from a distance.

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