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09/28/2015 03:31 pm ET Updated Jan 13, 2017

This Program Could Drastically Improve Mental Health On Campus

The "embedded model" shows a lot of promise.

In an attempt to address the increasing demand for mental health services at the University of Michigan, the school is entering its second year using a program called the "embedded model." And the university says it's yielding promising results so far. 

Students are registering higher levels of depression and stress on campuses nationwide. At the same time, students at various universities have complained about difficulties securing time to receive counseling on campus.  

The embedded model places specialized staffers in individual schools and colleges within UM to enhance access to care. Emily Hyssong, an embedded social worker at the University of Michigan, explained to HuffPost Live that being down the hall from students instead of across campus enables providers to be more aware of students' fields and cultures.

"That's really been something that we've seen to be helpful in getting more students in, getting them in sooner, getting them to identify their needs to really point them in the right direction of getting resources," Hyssong said.

The Michigan Daily reports that in the first year, more students were seeking help once the program started, and it shows one way that university counselors could reach more students. 

Having a university social worker embedded in a school or college within the university allows them to "tailor" their counseling for the unique culture of the major, according to the Michigan Daily. The counselors also become more familiar with faculty within the school, and are able to be more efficient helping students who do seek help. 

Devhanshi Mehta, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania and the president of Active Minds UPenn, explained to HuffPost Live that while there's still "a lot of stigma" associated with asking for help, drastic changes have occurred at UPenn to raise awareness about mental health.

"As a freshman, I definitely felt very alone and I didn't think other people were struggling either," Mehta said. "There's this saying at Penn called 'the Penn face,' where you see everyone else and they seem okay, so how do you go to look help because everyone just seems okay?" 

UPenn students are petitioning for similar reforms to the structure of how counseling services are available at their university. 

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