Graduate Student Mental Health & Wellness

Graduate and Professional Student Assistance Specialist:  The Graduate School and the Dean of Students Office jointly support a staff position focused on graduate student needs.  Elaine Goetz-Berman serves in this role, which includes support, advocacy, and resource referral for graduate students.  Elaine’s approach to working with graduate students centers on her specialized knowledge about the unique academic and personal challenges they face.

University Health Services – Mental Health Services:  UHS offers a safe and confidential environment with a variety of support services available free of charge and open to all graduate students living in Wisconsin. These include individual, couple/partner, and group counseling, as well as stress management and psychiatry services. Those living out of state may access specific workshops, crisis support, Let’s Talk services, and Access providers for connection with care and resources in local communities or at UHS. Mental Health Services are currently being offered virtually (via phone or Zoom), plus some in-person outreach programs.

An Access Appointment is the entry point to services at Mental Health Services and is typically done over the phone. To schedule an Access Appointment, students should call Mental Health Services at 608-265-5600 (option 2) or log on to MyUHS for 24-hour appointment booking. In person appointments are available by request. This appointment will last about 20 minutes.

If there is a risk of suicide or concern about well-being of a student, call UHS 24-hour crisis service to speak with an on-call counselor at 608-265-5600, option 9.  If a situation is immediately life threatening, call 911.

In addition, UHS hosts a variety of group counseling opportunities:

Dissertators’ Group (Wednesdays 12:00-1:30pm) – A supportive group environment focused on the emotional, behavioral, and organizational challenges associated with the dissertation process.

Graduate Students’ Group (Mondays 2:00-3:30pm) – This group examines the sources of stress, ways of coping, and the role of peer support in adjusting to a role that often feels like it’s 24/7 as a graduate student.

Graduate Women’s Group (Tuesdays 10:30am-12:00pm) – Through offering support to others and receiving support, group members are challenged to learn about themselves, initiate change, and exercise honesty in a safe space.

Graduate Students of Color Group (Mondays 3:00-4:30pm and Thursdays 2:30-4:00pm)  For graduate students who identify as people of color, who may experience unique challenges, microaggressions, and lack of supports compared to their White peers and undergraduate counterparts.

The groups listed above are just a few examples. Additional groups address LGBTQ support, relationships, depression, anxiety, and other topics. Groups typically meet one to two hours weekly, and may run from four to 12 weeks per semester. These groups fill up very quickly, so students should enroll in these groups at the beginning of the semester.

Additional UHS Resources Include:

Grad Resilience (Thursdays 12:00-1:00pm) – This is a series of rotating 1-hour virtual lunch discussions for current graduate students. Each section presents strategies to navigate a feature of graduate culture with the opportunity for participants to share experiences and ask questions.

Let’s Talk – These confidential and informal 20-minute consultations with a mental health provider are available every weekday. Sign-up is available.

Wellness Initiatives – UHS’s interdisciplinary program is designed to assist students’ pursuit of healthy mind, body, and spirit. Programs address healthy living, nutritional counseling, mindfulness, exercise consultation, yoga, massage, stress management, and more.

Sexual Violence Prevention Program – UHS provides an online sexual violence and misconduct prevention program, which all incoming graduate students at UW-Madison are required to complete.

Survivor Services – Survivor Services provides confidential support for students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and/or stalking. Services include information and referral, individual and group counseling, and advocacy and accompaniments.

If you would like to have UHS give a virtual presentation to faculty and/or graduate students regarding graduate student mental health and resources on campus, please fill out this form to request a training. You can find all their outreach programs listed here.

Additional support and resources on campus include:

UWell – This is a comprehensive wellness initiative aiming to advance the health and wellbeing of the entire campus community by promoting existing resources. 

Dean of Students Office – This office is a primary resource for connecting students who are navigating personal, academic, or health issues, to supportive campus and community resources. They are committed to fostering a caring environment for all students. Responsibilities include the Student of Concern Report, the Bias Reporting Process, addressing Sexual Assault, Dating, and Domestic Violence, as well as many other issues affecting student wellbeing. Drop-in hours are Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:00pm, room 70 Bascom Hall.

University Veterans Services – Student veterans transitioning to civilian life face unique challenges. The mission of University Veterans Services is to support military-connected students by fostering personal transitions and pursuit of academic success.

Ombuds Office – University employees, including graduate students, can seek guidance regarding workplace concerns without fear of reprisal and at no cost to them.  

Employee Assistance Office Graduate students who hold assistantships are eligible to utilize the Employee Assistance Office. This is a confidential resource that provides counseling and consultation at no cost.

In addition to utilizing UHS’s services, graduate students who hold assistantship appointments may seek mental health services covered by their health insurance plan.