NYU Therapy Redirects Students To Outside Services


Polina Buchak

The NYU Student Health Center at 726 Broadway.

Caroline Haskins, Staff Writer

In order to meet high demand for mental health services, the Student Health Center relies on a high number of outside treatment referrals. But these outside referrals may not be accommodated by students’ health insurance plans.

Director of Counseling and Wellness Zoe Ragouzeos said that the Wellness Exchange has 54 full-time clinicians or one counselor per every 926 students. Yet according to a 2010 study, almost half of college students have at least one diagnosable mental illness.

“Our services are available to the 50,000 students attending NYU,” Ragouzeos said. “Realistically, no one service will be able to provide all sub-specialties in one clinic, no matter how many staff members they might have.”

LS freshman Hunter Estevez, who visited the Wellness Exchange last November, was referred to an outside center for long-term treatment because the NYU Wellness Exchange only facilitates up to 10 therapy sessions. Estevez said that she was lucky that she found a counselor she likes who is covered by her parents’ insurance.

“I was disappointed to know that they could only do 10 sessions because it’s easiest just to walk after class to an NYU building,” Estevez said. “But I like my counselor and I’m happy with how it turned out.”

For students who have Washington Square Student Health Insurance, psychotherapy or talk therapy that occurs for less than 10 sessions is available free of charge. But Ragouzeos said that about 8.5 percent of students in the care of the Wellness Exchange had 10 or more visits during the last academic year.

After the maximum number of sessions has been reached, students with a WSSHI policy will have 75 to 90 percent of their charges covered, depending on their plan. In addition, WSSHI policy will reimburse students who are covered by an outside health care provider within its network up to the maximum value that NYU is liable for. Students covered by a health care provider outside of the network will also be covered up to 50 to 60 percent of allowable charges.

Tandon freshman Haley Brasil said that after she was referred to an SHC counselor, she was told she would eventually have to seek long-term treatment outside of the Wellness Center. And although she was satisfied with the care she did receive, she wished the center could have been more accommodating toward her schedule.

”They directed me towards proper care and helped me get back on track,” Brasil said. “I wish they had more resources so that I could see medical professionals more frequently.”

Email Caroline Haskins at [email protected].