University Health Services initiates mental health case-management program

December 14, 2010

Counseling and Consultation Services, the mental health counseling division of University Health Services (UHS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has created a new case-management program to serve students with complex mental health and social support needs, according to Danielle Oakley, director of counseling and consultation services.

UHS is the student health center of UW–Madison.

Molly Kloehn has been named the first case manager for the new program, which is funded by a grant from the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates (MIU). Kloehn holds a master’s degree in social work from UW–Madison and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Southern Illinois University.

“Currently, many students are referred to community providers for specialized care that’s not available on campus,” says Oakley. “But at times, students have difficulty connecting with, and staying connected to, appropriate community services.

Kloehn’s role as mental health case manager will be to act as a direct resource for the students. She will assess their needs, coordinate care plans and act as liaison among the student and campus and community resources.

Consistent with the goals of the MIU, the case-management program was created to reduce the impact of chronic mental or physical illness on the academic and personal success of the students. “We want all students to have the opportunity to flourish at UW–Madison and believe that this program will reduce the barriers for many students in achieving this goal,” says UHS executive director Sarah Van Orman.

It will accept referrals both from within UHS as well as from the Division of Student Life for students in need of services. These could be for students leaving UHS for care, as well as for students previously connected to community care who have stopped treatment.

Case management of high-risk students referred from campus counseling services has been adopted at many peer institutions and is considered to be an emerging best practice, according to Van Orman.

“This program represents a significant innovation,” says Van Orman. “It should allow a larger number students with chronic mental health needs to be served on campus, and it keeps us current with best practices for today’s university counseling centers.”

Kloehn has extensive experience as a case manager. For the past seven years, she’s worked with multicultural and socioeconomically diverse individuals in a mental health setting, completed psychosocial assessments, including mental health, alcohol and other drug abuse, crisis and safety, and established strong connections with Dane County agencies and providers.

“Community mental health has been my primary focus from the start of my career, and I’m committed to serving the Dane County community as a whole,” says Kloehn. “I’m am excited about working with UHS, community mental health services, and campus partners to address the mental health needs of UW students.”