CentraCare grant

Monday, January 25, 2010


On-campus psychiatric care now is available to St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College students as the result of a $32,000 grant from the CentraCare Health Foundation and its benefactors. The grant makes it possible to offer affordable and accessible psychiatric services to students and is one of many ways St. Cloud Hospital is partnering with St. Cloud State University to meet its students’ needs.

"St. Cloud Hospital is pleased to partner with our local colleges to provide increased access to mental health services," said John Schmitz, M.D., medical director of adult psychiatry services. "Our collaborative approach with their providers gives students the mental health care they need. Otherwise, students may have to wait months to receive psychiatric services."

"This collaboration is very important to our students, said St. Cloud State Student Health Services Director Corie Beckermann. "Accessibility to psychiatric services is a critical need on our campus, as it is on campuses around the country. "

The partnership began with increased access to St. Cloud Hospital psychiatrists by university staff for phone consultations on complex cases. Last year, the service was expanded to add a limited number of face-to-face appointments at the CentraCare Health Plaza. "As a result," said Beckermann, "our staff has increased our knowledge of psychiatric treatment and medication management, and students have had greater access to services at free or reduced rates."

"This year, having access to psychiatric care on campus has made a significant impact on our ability to get services to students in a timely manner," said Beckermann. The grant provides funding for up to 12 hours per month of on-campus psychiatric appointments for students referred through a campus health or counseling services provider. In addition, phone consultation services with a psychiatrist are available to health care providers and counselors at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University who wish to consult on complicated student mental health cases.

SCSU currently has services available to students with mental health needs through Student Health Services, Disability Services, and Counseling and Psychological Services. Board-certified medical providers in Health Services can diagnose and treat students for most mental health problems. The Counseling and Psychological Services staff of six full-time psychologists provides free counseling and talk therapy services as well as a broad range of outreach programs such as classroom sessions on alcohol abuse, eating disorders and stress.

"The addition of these on-campus appointments and the higher level of care these psychiatrists provide have dramatically improved our ability to help students whose needs are more complex," Beckermann said.

"St. Cloud State is grateful to CentraCare for providing access to resources that help us respond to students who are experiencing problems," said St. Cloud State President Earl H. Potter III. "This is another fine example of the many ways campus-community collaborations can improve our ability to tackle emerging needs."

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