A closer look at Student Health Services’ wait times

“I believe it is safe to say we never turn down students. One of my favorite endorsements for Student Health Services is that we have services for every student on campus.”

Time speeds by on an analog clock. Photo by Joshua Sperry.

Part of UVU’s purpose in providing its students exceptional care means striving to always “see” the person in front of them — their strengths and weaknesses, struggles and triumphs, and inherent dignity and worth. At Student Health Services (SHS), the staff is united in the goal of providing students with low-cost medical, psychiatric, mental health, learning disability, and crisis services.   

While these services at UVU are incredibly affordable, the availability of these services is limited, especially with the growing need for students needing individual therapy. Depending on the service, the waitlist can be weeks long, so is it worth the wait?  Fortunately,  I was able to speak with Ammon Cheney, a mental health therapist and outreach coordinator, about it.

Who is eligible to make an appointment? Any student enrolled in 9+ credit hours during the fall and 6+ credit hours in the summer are eligible for psychiatric, mental health, and medical services. To participate in group therapy, those who are enrolled in at least one credit hour can receive those services for free, the SHS website states. 

How long is the wait to get in? To receive individual therapy, Cheney explained, “The average wait time in Fall and Spring is 3-5 weeks. During summer semesters the average wait time is 1-2 weeks. People can end up on the waitlist longer if they are not responsive to text messages and phone calls from SHS administrative staff, or if they have schedules that do not mesh up well with therapist openings. Once a student is on the waitlist it is important to be responsive to text messages and calls from our administrative staff.”

For psychiatric services, Carynne Polansky, SHS administrative support staff, stated,  “There is not a waitlist, but there is a bit of a process before scheduling. The wait time differs depending on when we get their forms back and what additional records or information we may need. Once they are clear to schedule, recently we have seen about a week or two wait before they are meeting with a provider.”  

Additionally, Bill Erb, Senior Director of Student Health Services stated, “In collaboration with student government, we were able to quadruple the hours of psychiatric appointments available. Student government gave us additional funding and we were able to take psychiatric services from eight hours a week to 32 hours a week.”**

While the wait times for individual and psychiatric services vary, if you’re looking for something available sooner, group therapy is free to those enrolled in at least one credit hour and is a great opportunity to meet others in a supportive group.

“There is no waitlist for joining a group,” Cheney clarified. “Before joining a group, students will meet individually with a group facilitator to ensure that group therapy is a good fit for their specific needs. … Research supports group therapy as being as effective as individual therapy for most concerns, or even more effective for certain concerns.” Cheney continued, “We also have a large list of community resources where we refer students who need specialized treatment.” 

“I believe it is safe to say we never turn down students,” Cheney said. “One of my favorite endorsements for SHS is that we have services for every student on campus.” If you feel like you need immediate help, “A student does not have to be in crisis in order to meet with a member of our crisis team,” Cheney reassures. “Sometimes students are overwhelmed, panicked, or otherwise troubled. During business hours please come into SHS and ask to see a crisis worker.”

For mental health resources available outside of SHS business hours, please reference their website or SafeUT at (833)-372-3388. 

**For an additional article investigating further details about this funding, stay tuned.**

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.