Mental health at MSU

Note: this was compiled before COVID. Many offices are doing teledoc/virtual visits, but accessibility may still be limited in some cases. You aren’t the only person to have COVID exacerbate any existing mental health concerns.

Here is an ongoing list of mental health and wellbeing resources for Michigan State University graduate students, postdocs, professors, and instructional staff. Please contact me if something is out of date or incorrect, or if you know of another resource to add!

Content warning: depression, anxiety, other mental illness, suicide

Counseling and therapy

  • MSU Employee Assistance Program (EAP): 6 free counseling sessions per issue/event for grad students, postdocs, profs, staff, etc. & benefits-eligible family members (editorial note: these counselors and therapists actually know what it’s like being an academic, so they have great advice! I’ve been, and I recommend it)
  • Counseling And Psychiatric Services (CAPS) at the Olin Health Center (for enrolled MSU students including grad students): best for at-risk/crisis, triage
  • CAPS Connect: Drop-in counseling consultations where you can talk about concerns and get expert suggestions and further resources. Free for all enrolled MSU students (including grad students). CAPS Connect consultations are recommended for (taken from the website):
    • Students who aren’t sure about counseling, and are wondering if it might help.
    • Students who are more interested in the perspective of a counselor than in ongoing counseling.
    • Students who are concerned about a friend and are looking for suggestions on what to do.
    • Students with a specific problem they wish to talk about or talk it out.
  • Counseling with a “sliding scale” fee from Human Development and Family Studies at MSU
  • Ask your GP for a referral to a therapist (insurance usually covers most of it; these two accept grad insurance, among others)
  • You could also make an EAP appointment and have them help you find a long-term counselor or therapist that accepts your insurance!
  • If you are at the NSCL, you can talk for free with with Dr. Marsha Carolan, a therapist and professor at MSU. She spends a few days per month at the NSCL to talk with students and employees.
  • MSU postdocs have access to Teladoc, where you can chat with a doctor or therapist online.

Other MSU resources

  • The CAPS website also has links to local services and resources like hotlines, a local domestic violence shelter, a food cupboard, and online self-assessments (to help you privately determine if you should contact CAPS or EAP for a consultation)
  • Other campus support resources listed here, including gender and sexuality support, parenthood support, religious support, and exercise/substance/nutrition support
  • Ombudsperson for confidential advice about workplace conflicts (editorial opinion: you may wish to meet with a counselor/therapist first, and discuss with them whether the ombuds office is a good route for you)
  • Faculty Grievance & Dispute Resolution Office for workplace conflicts for postdocs and faculty (another editorial opinion: you may wish to meet with a counselor/therapist first, and discuss with them whether this office is a good route for you)

Resources for advisors

Professors and advisors are often a first point of contact for students, and can help students connect with the appropriate resource(s). See the list above, as well as the following items. Remember to take care of yourself, and get yourself help via the above channels if you feel like you’re overwhelmed.

Crisis hotlines and remote support

You don’t need to be thinking of suicide to be in crisis and need someone to talk to.

MSU and local:

National and international

If you know of another resource that you find really helpful but I didn’t list, or if a link is out of date, you can contact me! Again, I’m an astronomy postdoc, not a mental health professional. This is peer-to-peer advice and my personal (non-expert) opinion.