Using Telehealth to Access Counseling Services

Helping Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We recognize the negative impact on the emotional health of the WMU community as a result of the spread of COVID-19 and the disruption created to everyday life. This situation is both new and unpredictable. Grief at losing out on experiences, frustration, and uncertainty are all normal and expected reactions at this time.

We are hopeful that the numerous protective measures established will improve public health at WMU and beyond. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide in-person psychotherapy services to most students at this time. We have made these adjustments to support WMU students:

  • We are offering telehealth counseling for students who have seen a counselor in the 2019-20 academic year.  Some eligibility criteria must be met–see below.
  • We can assist students that do not meet eligibility criteria. We will help them locate resources in their local area.
  • Counseling is still available for first-time intake and crisis appointments. We encourage students to call us at (269) 387-1850 first to speak to an intake counselor for pre-screening.

Eligibility for Telehealth Services

To be eligible for services students must:

  • Currently be enrolled at Western Michigan University
  • Reside in Michigan
  • Have previously seen a Counseling Services provider during the 2019-20 academic school year, OR are currently living on campus and have access to emergency personnel
  • Meet screening criteria

To Start

If you need immediate assistance and want to consult with a therapist, please call Counseling Services at (269) 387-1850 before you arrive. We will verify your eligibility and explain how to initiate your first meeting with a counselor.

Scope of Service

Counseling Services provides a limited scope of service. If it is determined that your needs exceed the scope of service or expertise available at Counseling Services, or that your needs cannot be adequately met by participating in telehealth services, we will assist you to identify an appropriate referral to meet your needs.

Limitations of Telehealth Services

If you are having suicidal or homicidal thoughts, acute psychosis, or physical complications from an eating disorder, telehealth services are not appropriate for your needs. In this case, you will be referred to mental health resources in your community.

What to Expect Before You Begin Telehealth Services

  • You will be asked some basic screening questions
  • You will be required to provide information about how to contact you and emergency resources in your current location
  • You will be provided with a telehealth consent form that shares more details about the nature of counseling, and you will be asked to sign and return the form. Please sign a copy and return via fax (269)387-1879) or scanned copy to (email address) prior to your scheduled appointment.
  • You will  be asked to login to the patient portal to accept telehealth services.
  • We will email you a link to the Webex appointment five minutes prior to your scheduled appointment

Emergency Management for Telehealth Services

In the event of an emergency and for your safety the following measures are important and necessary:

  • Your counselor will need to know the location and address where you will be consistently during counseling sessions, and will need to know if this location changes.
  • Your counselor will request that you identify someone whom you trust, to give your counselor permission to contact should a situation occur that your counselor believes you to be at risk.
  • You will verify that this emergency contact person is able and willing to go to your location in the event of an emergency, and if your counselor deems necessary, call 911 and/or transport you to a hospital.

In Case of Technology Failure

If your scheduled appointment is prevented or disrupted due to technical complications, please contact us at (269) 387-1850 and ask to talk with your provider.

Support for students that do not meet eligibility criteria

  • We are happy to assist you in finding a local provider.
  • We encourage you to contact your insurance provider for a list of local providers who accept your insurance. Your insurance carrier may have a provision for telehealth services.
  • Psychology Today is a great resource for identifying a local therapist who accepts your insurance.

If you need further assistance we are here to consult with you. Please call our office at (269) 387-1850.

Do you need immediate emergency assistance?

Use these resources now.