Over the past year, the undergraduate representatives to the Mental Health Community Council have solicited substantial input from diverse communities across campus regarding improvements to mental health policies and services at Brown. The most pressing issues are presented below.

Long-term Changes:

  1. Reduce the waiting time at CAPS, at least from two+ weeks to one week, through these possible mechanisms:
    • Offer evening and weekend hours in order to better serve graduate students, medical students, student-athletes, and other communities.
    • Increase s taff, especially staff of color and those who identify as queer or come from low-income backgrounds.
  2. Raise the 7 session limit. Operate with internal rather than explicitly stated external limits, in order to offer greater flexibility to students who cannot afford community care or whose families would not support seeking help.
  3. Improve transparency of the medical leave process.
    • Increase communication during the reapplication process, including raising awareness of who is on the admission committee and why they reached a particular decision.
    • Address the nuance of a “recommended” medical leave.
      1. Combat myths of frequent “mandated” medical leaves while acknowledging that there have been two in the past five years. Emphasize personal and community safety and the care taken by many professionals in assessing student well-being.
    • Acknowledge the financial stressors associated with taking a medical leave, and potentially tap into alumni resources to support students who:
      1. Need to access care away from campus.
      2. Lose a semester of tuition.
      3. Cannot return home.
  4. Reassess the timing of the medical leave reapplication process.

    • Allow for rolling applications OR 2 different readmission deadlines.  The February deadline works for students who want to seek on-campus housing and pre-register for classes; it may pose a serious challenge for students who are not ready in February but may have improved and be ready to return to school closer to the start of the semester.

  5. Supplement advising upon return from medical leave.

    • Consider bolstering the Leavetaking Coordinator program through the CRC.

    • Improve publicity for the Back at Brown support group.

  6. Improve and coordinate peer resources.
    • Improve and increase training for RPLs, Meikeljohns, EMTs. Incorporate multiple offices to design training. Solicit feedback regarding its efficacy.
    • Provide more support to peer leaders, especially following a crisis.
    • Remove the burden of establishing peer resources from students.
  7. Improve resources for students recovering from substance abuse.

    • Re-examine options for substance-free housing.

    • Establish an on-campus Alcoholics Anonymous.

    • Raise awareness regarding the reality of addiction on campus.

  8. Review DPS protocol for responding to psychiatric emergencies.

    • Increase sensitivity training, including awareness of race and gender power structures.

    • Reevaluate the need for DPS to be armed when responding to calls.

Short-term Changes:

  1. Add a CAPS clinician of color to the MHCC.

  2. Add a scribe to the MHCC, such that accurate minutes are maintained and reported back to the council in a timely manner after each meeting. The scribe should not be someone who is currently serving on the council.

  3. Offer an MHCC open forum to solicit responses to the MHCC Report.

  4. Create an interactive tool that explains the relationship between CAPS, OSL, DOC, and SEAS.

    • Include lesser known resources, such as the Chaplain’s office and the SHARE advocate.

    • Explain where you go for what needs, the level of confidentiality offered, and how each department can provide help.

  5. Improve Brown-specific section of QPR.

    • Identify communities that may be disproportionately affected by mental health issues on campus.

    • Provide examples of suicidal risk that more closely reflect the college experience.

    • Provide more information regarding resources at Brown.

    • Closely examine feedback provided regarding quality of trainer instruction.

  6. Make changes to the back of the student ID card.

    • Change “Psychological Services” to “Counseling and Psychological Services.”

    • Add the number for the Administrator On Call.

      1. Reconsider separating the AOC from DPS.

  7. Ensure that all students calling CAPS are triaged via a standard interview, and offered an emergency appointment if necessary.

  8. Improve faculty awareness of mental health issues.

    • Distribute materials to all faculty on identifying and responding to mental health issues. Include examples of mental health issues that are common at Brown. Emphasize cultural stigmas. Provide examples of empathetic language.

    • Stress the importance of accepting Dean’s Notes.

  9. Add an orientation workshop on mental health.

    • Coordinate efforts between staff and students.

  10. Clarify the role of the Student Care Coordinator.

    • Offer an introductory event or send a campus-wide email explaining how Jorge can coordinate community referrals and provide other support.

  11. Call all students on medical leave regularly.

    • Have an optional check-in program that would offer calls from OSL at least twice a semester.

  12. Institute a standard follow-up procedure for all AOC calls.

    • Conduct an internal review when cases do not go as they should.

    • Make corrective efforts, especially regarding response time, DPS sensitivity, and follow-up support for callers.

  13. Continue to request professors include an informational disclaimer to all syllabi, with resources including CAPS and SEAS.

  14. Offer long-term academic support through SEAS to all survivors of sexual assault. Upon contacting the Title IX office, students should also be made aware that SEAS offers support for students with PTSD symptoms.

  15. Increase CAPS & OSL outreach.

    • Hand out brochures during Heavy Petting and other highly attended events.

    • Increase collaboration with the BCSC and LGBTQ center. Put on a collaborative event.

  16. Centralize feedback forms for all departments, including faculty.


Suggestions for MHCC Subcommittees:

  1. Web Resources. Addresses:

    • Unification of resources into online “hub.”

    • Improving the online screener.

  2. Crisis Response & Suicide Prevention, including peer resources.

  3. Medical leave.

  4. Campus Culture.