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Stepped Care Model

What is Stepped Care?

Stepped Care is a system of delivering and monitoring mental health treatment so the most effective, yet least resource-intensive treatment, is delivered first. Program intensity can then be either “stepped up” or “stepped down” depending on the level of client need. For example, less intensive treatments include self-help approaches or peer support, and more intensive treatments can include individual therapy or psychiatric consultation. Throughout the process, mental health indicators are monitored to give both the counselor and the student feedback on their progress and to empower the student to participate actively in care options, decisions and delivery. The Stepped Care Model is founded on the belief that people should not have to wait for psychological services, people require different levels of care, and finding the right level of care often depends on monitoring outcomes. 

What can students expect?

This new model will allow us to...

  • Provide timely access to mental health care and education 
  • Create nuanced, customized treatment plans in response to specific needs and requests
  • Utilize a strengths-based approach by supporting client autonomy  
  • Provide opportunities for connections with other campus resources and supports
  • Provide opportunities for students to connect in new ways with each other
  • To provide mental health resources using new technology in effective, flexible and expedient way
  • To increase the number of students we are able to serve, while decreasing wait times
  • Provide mental health services in a variety of ways in order to accommodate student comfort levels and preferences

How does it work?

Any student seeking support should fill out the online intake and assessment forms by clicking on “Request Wellness Services.” Our intake coordinators will respond within 1 business day to schedule an in-person appointment for the Initial Screening.

Stepped Care Model

Full Stepped Care Model

step 1

  • Initial Screening to assess level of care and treatment plan
  • Single session for one-time consultation
  • Crisis walk-in for one-time consultation
  • Post-hospitalization care planning

step 2

  • Health Center, ASC, ISO, Chapel Office, Multicultural Affairs Initiatives, CCI, Residence Life, Title IX Coordinator (Sexual Assault Reporting)
  • Referral assistance for off-campus providers

step 3

  • Connect with a Peer Wellness Coach for support, tips, and accountability in identifying and meeting wellness goals

step 4

  • Online support counseling and self-paced education
    Students seeking mental health resources & information to access on their own (for all students including, students studying abroad, commuters & students living off-campus, student leaders seeking mental health training & information)
  • Apps and Online Resources 

step 5

  • Foundations Workshops
  • Topical workshops and therapeutic groups rotate each semester

step 6

  • Short-term therapy, customized session-length and frequency
  • Goal-directed, based on diagnosis and symptomology
  • 8-session limit (per semester)

step 7

  • Long-term or weekly outpatient therapy or specialized treatment (eating disorders, chronic or severe mental illness, hospitalization weekly care)
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Evaluation for eating disorder treatment at Walden Behavioral
  • Emergency evaluation for hospitalization

Download detailed PDF of the Stepped Care Model ➔


Request Wellness Services

P 978 867 4301

Deana Trefry, Dean of Student Care
P 978 867 4311

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