Actions of MIT’s 15th president have ‘grown to inspire generations,’ Reif says.
Major Recommendations of the Task Force
Increase the staffing at the MIT Mental Health Service, and assess staffing levels annually.
Further extend Mental Health Service hours, including keeping the Mental Health Service open until 9 p.m. three nights per week.
Provide additonal late-night services, including on-site coverage until midnight.
Implement a comprehensive social marketing campaign to make students feel more comfortable about seeking help.
Promote campus-wide awareness of mental health issues and resources.
Form residence support teams to serve as a resource for housemasters, Graduate Resident Tutors and Resident Advisors, and increase the comfort level of students with mental health care providers.
Provide mental health information to freshman and their advisors.
Increase outreach and training for academic departments.
Collect and use student feedback.
Create a new position of Administrative Coordinator of Campus Support Services.
Create a Standing Committee on Mental Health.
Convene an annual strategy session for improving student support services.
Clarify medical leave policies.
Clarify communication protocols for addressing critical incidents (such as psychiatric hospitalizations, suicidal or other dangerous behavior, and medical emergencies).
Develop a critical incident response program and provide training in critical incident stress management.
Changes Already Made
The hours of the MIT Medical Department, including the Mental Health Service, have been extended to 7 p.m., four days per week.
Medical health liaisons have been assigned to all of the student living groups.
The Medical Department has extended its coverage to allow for unlimited outpatient psychotherapy visits for students, without any co-payment.
Major Findings of the Task Force
Demand for mental health services at MIT has been increasing: in 2000, the MIT Mental Health Service saw approximately 50% more students than in 1995.
The MIT Mental Health Service needs additional staff and resources to handle the current volume of students seeking care.
Some students are confused about the appropriate MIT contact for their particular situation.
The current system depends on students to recognize their own mental health needs, to actively seek out support services on campus, to use a health care system that operates primarily by appointment within standard business hours, and to differentiate between urgent and non-urgent needs.
Parents, faculty and staff expressed confusion about confidentiality and communication policies.
Task Force Background
Combined initiative of students, the Chancellor, the Undergraduate Association, and the MIT Mental Health Service.
Goal was to develop recommendations for improving mental health care at MIT.
Task Force composed of graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff.
Began meeting in November 2000 to examine accessibility, quality and perception of mental health support services on campus, including the MIT Mental Health Service, Counseling and Support Services, MIT's residential support network, and others.
Surveyed MIT students and collected data from other schools.