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University Health Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s University Health Services (UHS) offers integrated medical, mental health counseling, wellness, and public health services to support more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students in achieving healthy outcomes and strong academic performance. Founded in 1910 to address infectious disease outbreaks, today the program offers a broad set of illness and injury care; sexual/reproductive health services; pharmacy services; preventive care and immunizations; and psychological and psychiatric care, including crisis intervention, clinical assessment and diagnosis, therapy, psychiatric consultation and medication management, substance abuse, and referral through case management. Wellness services, including stress management, yoga, meditation, healthy eating, fitness, sleep management, and smoking cessation are also available through the program. Its professional staff includes 35 licensed medical care providers, 30 licensed mental health and wellness providers, 16 professional prevention staff, and over 50 student employees. Most of UHS funding comes from student health fees, and services for students are either free or significantly discounted.

A key component of the integrated system is its mental health services, with over 20,000 visits made this past year for assistance in addressing anxiety, depression, academic problems, relational problems, high-risk drinking, and social phobia. Counseling and consultation services generally begin with a 15-20 minute consultation. The student completes a brief form followed by a 10-15 minute discussion with a counselor to discuss concerns and to determine what mental health or wellness services resources are most appropriate. To reach a broader group of students, UHS also offers what it terms its “Let’s Talk” program located in academic buildings and residential settings across campus to allow students who are reticent to seek care to drop in during specific hours for friendly, confidential discussions. If needed, students are referred to counseling UHS for additional assistance.

In addition to offering a broad set of clinical services, UHS participates in campus-wide health initiatives and prevention campaigns addressing violence prevention, healthy sexual behavior, wellness, and responsible alcohol use. For example, the “Do Spring Break Right” Campaign focused on alcohol, sun protection, and safe sex and posters, newspaper advertisements, featured web stories, and social media promotion, which resulted in 4,000 visits to the spring break webpages. The “Stick it to the Flu” Campaign resulted in more than 12,500 students receiving flu shots.

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