Welcome to Colorado State University!  We are excited you are here.  In order to best support your mental health and well-being, we have developed this guide to make your transition to CSU as smooth as possible.  If you have received treatment for a mental health condition, there are several things you can do in order to stay healthy throughout your time in college.  As you review this guide, remember that these tips can also be applied to chronic or ongoing medical conditions.

CSU Health Network is every student’s home for health and well-being at Colorado State University. We are committed to care of body and mind to help students succeed in college and life.  All CSU students have full access to our wide range of services, including medical, counseling, and health education and prevention services, regardless of their insurance plan. To learn more about our services, visit health.colostate.edu.

CSU Health Network is here to support you.  We encourage students to engage with CSU Health Network to support their well-being.  This includes advocating for your mental health and medical needs just as you would when you are at home.  This guide will provide tips for transition to college as well as information for students interested in setting up their own personal care team while away from home.

Preparing for College

As you prepare to head to CSU, make sure you talk to your support system and care providers.  As much as possible, be a part of discussions about your treatment plans and goals so you can develop a clear understanding of your treatments.  In addition, be a part of discussions about your IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and accommodations at school (if relevant).

Take notes and consider focusing on the following:

  • Know the name of your condition
  • Have the names and contact information of your treatment providers
  • Be able to describe:
    • The problems or symptoms you have (ex. Anxiety, difficulty concentrating, poor sleep)
    • How these symptoms affect your life
    • The type of treatment you’re current receiving (group therapy, medication, etc.)
    • Your reactions and responses to treatment (what’s been helpful and what hasn’t)
    • The goals of treatment
    • The purpose (what problems are being addressed) and goals of your IEP, if applicable.

If you use medication, begin to take responsibility for taking your medication (ask a parent or guardian to supervise you at first).  Also, make sure you know the following:

  • Name of your medication(s)
  • Dosage of your medication(s)
  • When to take your medication(s) (mornings, bedtime, etc.)
  • Be able to describe how medication makes you feel
  • Be able to describe any side effects or problems you’ve had with medicine (current and/or past)
  • It’s also helpful to have your medication history available: what did you used to take? Why was it changed?
  • Know whether your home prescriber is comfortable to continue prescribing medications while you are away.
  • If that prescriber cannot continue to refill your medications, start making plans for how to get these medications prescribed and where they will be refilled.

Before you leave for Colorado State University

Use the following information to help you decide whether to continue seeing your providers at home, transfer your care to CSU Health Network, or work with an off-campus provider.

Continue your care with your provider at home

If you are interested in continuing your care with your at-home provider, you and your support system should discuss with your care team about whether or not this is an option.  Some things to consider include:

  • Will you be too far from home?
  • Will phone calls and infrequent face-to-face visits be sufficient?
  • If you take medication, how will you get it? Who will prescribe it?

If you choose this option, you will still want to connect with CSU Health Network because

  • You might have an urgent need we can help with
  • You may need help with academic accommodations or planning your specific transition to college
  • There should be an arrangement to share information as needed between your home providers at your providers at CSU.

This option may be best for you if: you have a complicated problem and are comfortable working with your current treatment team and it is possible to be in regular contact.

Transfer your care to CSU Health Network

Your access to all CSU Health Network services begins the week before classes start.  Before you arrive on campus, complete the entire Health History from on the Student Health Portal.  In addition, make sure that your treatment team from home has shared necessary information and records with CSU Health Network.

CSU Health Network Counseling Services operates under a brief therapy model where issues are addressed over a few sessions and focuses on solutions rather than problems.  We utilize this model in order to maximize our resources in meeting student counseling needs.  For students interested in accessing CSU Health Network Counseling Services, the first step is to visit us on the 3rd floor of the CSU Health and Medical Center where you will meet with an on-call counselor to co-create a wellness plan with services that are best for you based on your unique circumstances.  We recognize some students are struggling with issues that can’t be addressed in brief individual therapy and/or group counseling.  These students may require services that are not covered by student fees and are beyond our scope of care.  In these cases, we can support the transition to appropriate community resourcesTo learn more about CSU Health Network Counseling Services, visit health.colostate.edu/about-counseling-services 

CSU Health Network Psychiatry Services provides evidence-based medication management for psychiatric conditions.  Our treatment is integrated with CSU Health Network primary care providers so that we can provide consultation and accept referrals in order to best serve students.  We recommend making a “transfer of care” appointment during move-in week or the first week of classes by calling (970) 491-7121.  At this first appointment, you will receive an initial diagnostic evaluation.  We recognize that some students may be best served by providers in the community.  We primarily refer to outside providers for two reasons: student preference and presenting issues which fall outside of our scope of care. To learn more about CSU Health Network Psychiatry, visit health.colostate.edu/psychiatry.

Transferring your care to CSU Health Network may be the best option for you if: you require face-to-face visits, if our scope of services match your needs, and/or if you only need intermittent visits.

Transfer your care off-campus

Providers at CSU Health Network will typically refer students to care in the community if it is the preference of the student or if the student’s need(s) are beyond our scope of care.  CSU Health Network will be able to help with referrals for care in the community.  Please come see us and we will work with you to help transfer your care off campus.

Key Things to Remember

As you navigate the transition to college, here are some important things to remember:

  • Make sure there is agreement about specific parameters of care: how often, who is the lead clinician, how will changes in treatment be handled, etc.
  • Make sure a communications plan is agreed to and clearly spelled out
    • Make sure proper releases of information are filed with necessary clinicians and offices. Be specific as to when, under what circumstances and how information will be shared in the event of a problem or emergency. These should also lay out when family or other guardians will be contacted.
  • Make sure everyone knows what to do in case of emergency
  • In addition to a general communication there should be a clearly written out plan for managing crises should they emerge. Who will make clinical decisions, who is primary family contact and when should they be called should all be clearly agreed upon?
  • Make sure whatever documentation is necessary is shared with the Student Disability Center at CSU. More information can be found at disabilitycenter.colostate.edu
  • Put campus telephone numbers in your phone:

CSU Health Network is your on-campus home for health and well-being and we are here for you.  Please reach out if you need support during this transition to college.  To learn about all our resources to support your mental health and well-being, visit health.colostate.edu/mhwb-resources