Integrative Wellbeing Services: COVID-19 Response

Emergencies—If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency call 911 or 9-911 if calling from a campus phone. If you are experiencing an urgent psychological crisis call IWS at (413) 597-2353 and select option 2 to speak to the on-call clinician. You can also call Campus Safety and Security at (413) 597-4444 to be connected with crisis services.


Fall 2021 IWS service details:
Clinical services for students at IWS will resume on the first day of classes.

    • IWS provides crisis response, “walk-in” counseling support, individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluation and treatment. IWS is offering a hybrid model of services that include in-person services with masks and/or telehealth.
    • IWS clinical services for individual and group therapy will resume on the first day of classes, Thursday, September 9, 2021. Students may begin scheduling appointments beginning August 25th via email or phone (413)597.2353.
    • In case of an emergency, contact IWS’ on-call services, day or night, by calling IWS at  (413) 597-2353 and select option 2.
    • All enrolled students continue to have access to Talkspace, which provides 4, 30 minute live video-sessions/month, unlimited asynchronous texting, voice or video message, at no cost. TalkSpace now offers free psychiatric medication management and treatment services. Register for services using your Williams email address and follow the prompts.
  • How do I schedule an appointment?
    To schedule an appointment, email IWS with “Scheduling” in the subject line. Kim Tremblay or Jessica Russell will follow-up to schedule your appointment. You can also call 413.597.2353 to schedule an appointment.

    Can I meet with my therapist in person?
    IWS is offering a hybrid model of in-person and telehealth therapy options. Students can choose to meet with their therapist in person with both parties wearing masks. Students also have the option of meeting with their therapist via telehealth.

    Can I choose my therapist?
    Our staff is a multidisciplinary, diverse group of clinicians with broad experiences and training treating a wide range of issues. If you have a preference for who you would like to work with, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

    How do I schedule self-schedule sessions? Can my therapist reserve these times for me?
    To Self-Schedule an appointment, please visit the patient portal at health.williams.edu. Once you log in, look for IWS Scheduling Options and you can select a time and clinician based on availability. Only students can reserve these appointments.

    What counts as a “crisis?”
    We strongly encourage you to reach out if you are concerned about your safety or are experiencing what feels like a psychological emergency. We encourage you to reach out if you are experiencing psychological distress, even if you might not consider it a “crisis.”

    What options are available to me if I am having difficulty functioning as a student?
    We recommend reaching out to the Dean’s Office. Your Dean can begin to help you identify your needs and direct you to the appropriate resources.

    I’m concerned about my friend. How can I schedule an appointment for them?
    Due to issues of privacy, you cannot schedule an appointment for your friend. If you are concerned about your friend, let them know about IWS services and how to reach us. However, if your friend is unable or unwilling to seek support and you are concerned for their safety, it would be appropriate for you to reach out to the Dean’s Office.

  • What services will IWS provide?
    IWS will be returning to in-person therapy with masks during the 2021-2022 academic year, and offering a hybrid model of in-person and telehealth services. Students will be able to choose whether they see a therapist in-person with masks or opt for telehealth services. Students will be able to communicate with their provider about the possibility of engaging in telehealth therapy during the 2021-2022 academic year. IWS will provide in-person and telehealth crisis response, “walk-in” counseling support, individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

    What is Telehealth?
    Simply put, telehealth is the remote delivery of services via videoconferencing or phone. This modality allows our clinicians to continue providing therapeutic services to students while maintaining adherence to social distancing guidelines.

    I’ve always gotten weekly therapy at IWS-can I still?
    At IWS, we remain committed to providing timely access and equitable services for all students throughout the course of the academic year. To meet this commitment and to address continued increases in requests for services, IWS offers therapy frequency based on clinical need as determined by the therapist. The majority of students working with therapists are seen every other week. Sessions are 45 minutes in length.

    If I choose to engage in telehealth, can I use my phone instead of video for my sessions?
    Yes. Sessions can be conducted using video or phone. Having an open discussion about your preference with your therapist can provide them with important information about you and allow you to make an informed decision about which modality is best for you and your treatment.

    What are Self-Schedule Sessions?
    Self-Schedule sessions are supportive sessions designed for students who are unsure they want to engage in therapy, but would like to speak with a therapist. Students can use the Health Portal to sign up for 20 minute supportive care appointments as needed and available.

    What is TalkSpace and TalkSpace Psychiatry?
    In addition to ongoing access to all IWS services, students have access to TalkSpace, a HIPAA compliant, mobile app/web-based unlimited messaging therapy option, which includes four 30 minute live video sessions a month. This service is free to all enrolled Williams students. It may be used year-round, on or off campus.

    In addition to our on-campus IWS psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Mahler, we’ve expanded psychiatric services to include participation in Talkspace Psychiatry - giving students free access to a diverse network of prescribers who specialize in mental health care and prescription management via Live Video Sessions. TalkSpace prescribers are able to prescribe all medications, with the exclusion of controlled substances. Students can register for TalkSpace using their Williams email address. The password for Talkspace Psychiatry is “TSPLUS” and is also provided at no cost to students.

    Psychiatric services available are explained in detail below.

    Who will be providing psychiatry and telepsychiatry services at IWS?
    Dr. Susan Mahler is joining IWS this year to provide psychiatric services. Dr. Mahler is a Diplomat of the Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and certified in Adult Psychiatry. She received an M.S. in Health and Medical Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Mahler completed her internship and residency at the Cambridge Health Alliance, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has previously worked with college students in Boston, and has been in private practice in Williamstown for the past decade. Dr. Mahler has particular expertise in the area of eating disorders, but also has considerable experience treating mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders, as well as attention-deficit-disorder. Students have the option of meeting with Dr. Mahler masked or via telehealth. For first time appointments, students will need to be seen in person wearing a mask at Dr. Mahler’s discretion.

    What types of services are provided by IWS psychiatry?
    Dr. Mahler will offer psychopharmacological evaluation and management for a range of mental health issues, including: Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder,, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and Psychotic Disorders. If psychotherapy is indicated, Dr. Mahler will, in most cases, refer individuals to counselors at IWS. If more intensive treatment is necessary, students may be referred to therapists in the community.

    Are there services or treatments not provided by IWS telepsychiatry?
    Dr. Mahler will not be able to provide new treatment with a controlled substance via telepsychiatry given the constraints of federal law. Federal law (Ryan Haight Act) prohibits prescribing of any controlled medications (benzodiazepines, ADHD stimulants, and some sleep medications) over telemedicine without an in-person yearly assessment. If you have previously been prescribed a controlled substance through IWS, and the current public health circumstances allow for an annual in-person assessment, then it may be possible for you to continue your medication. If you have not previously received a controlled medication from a prescriber at IWS, and an in-person evaluation is not possible, Dr. Mahler will work with you to identify an outside provider. In some cases, Dr. Mahler may decide that telepsychiatry is not appropriate or does not provide adequate assessment. Such circumstances include the presence of persistent suicidal thoughts or intent to act on such thoughts, intent to harm someone else, alcohol or drug abuse, and severe eating disorders which require intervention or medical monitoring. In the event that telepsychiatry is not appropriate, Dr. Mahler will work with you to locate an appropriate form of treatment.

    My medication is not working, what should I do?
    Contact IWS to request an appointment with Dr. Mahler.

    How do I make an appointment with Dr. Mahler?
    An initial appointment with Dr. Mahler requires a referral from IWS. You may contact [email protected] for guidance.

    What is TalkSpace TelePsychiatry?
    Williams College has partnered with TalkSpace to offer free therapeutic and psychiatric services. Students can work with TalkSpace Psychiatry connect with a prescriber who specializes in mental health care and prescription management via Live Video Sessions. Learn more about TalkSpace services here.

    TalkSpace prescribers are able to prescribe all medications, with the exclusion of controlled substances. Controlled substances include, but are not limited to: Adderall, Ativan, Concerta, Klonopin, Librium, Tranxene, Ritalin, Vyvanse, Valium, Xanax and Suboxone.

    What is telepsychiatry?
    Telepsychiatry is the practice of psychiatry-specific telemedicine. The field of psychiatry is inherently well-suited to using telemedicine techniques as there is generally no physical exam component involved during appointments. These days, most telepsychiatry is done via real-time televideo-conferencing methods very similar to a Skype or FaceTime session. As long as you are at a location with reasonably fast internet access, you can see an online psychiatrist for your appointment. The American Telemedicine Association defines Telemedicine as “the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunications technology” and can involve the use of internet, wireless, telephone, and satellite. To learn more about Telemedicine, please visit the American Telemedicine Association FAQ page.

    Is telepsychiatry effective?
    There is substantial evidence of the effectiveness of telepsychiatry and research has found satisfaction to be high among patients, psychiatrists, and other professionals. Telepsychiatry is equivalent to in-person care in diagnostic accuracy, treatment effectiveness, quality of care and patient satisfaction. Patient privacy and confidentiality are equivalent to in-person care.

  • I am concerned about a student. How can I get the student help?

    • If a student is in immediate danger, please call 911 and Campus Safety and Security (413-597-4444).
    • For urgent needs that are not an emergency, please direct the student to call IWS (413-597-2353) for the counselor on call during the day.
    • After hours, students can reach our on-call service, ProtoCall, via the IWS phone number (Option 2) or by calling Campus Safety and Security (413-597-4444 and asking to speak to the counselor on call). The student will be assisted by a trained clinician in college student crisis counseling and assessment.

    If a student is unwilling to seek help, notify the Dean’s Office with your concern. This will initiate a process leading to assistance and assessment. During business hours call 413-597-4171, and after hours call Campus Safety (413-597-4444) and ask to speak with the dean on call.

    My student needs more frequent therapy than every other week. Can I advocate for weekly sessions for this one student?
    At the conclusion of a brief telephone assessment followed by a longer intake,students and their therapists will develop an individualized treatment plan which takes into consideration (1) the student’s unique circumstances and (2) IWS’s commitment to provide equitable and timely access and evaluation to the entire Williams student community. Students who elect to begin psychotherapy with an IWS therapist, the plan will in most cases consist of every-other-week psychotherapy sessions, with the option of self-scheduling shorter inter-session support meetings as needed. IWS clinicians are available to assist the student in finding services that will meet their clinical needs.

    What resources can I provide students who have specific concerns about things like food insecurity, financial stress, difficult family dynamics, difficulty learning in their remote environment, isolation, or suicidality, for example?
    The safety of an individual should always take precedence. If imminent risk is a concern, contact CSS and emergency personnel.
    The Dean’s Office is a vital source of support, information, and problem-solving for a wide variety of student needs (413-597-4171), including referrals to various resources on and around campus. Because stress can affect students’ mental health and their ability to function, a referral to IWS or other sources of emotional support are often advisable. Students can access IWS by calling (413-597-2353) or sending an email to schedule an appointment.

    Can I refer a student in crisis on the same day? Students can be referred on a same day basis by having the student call IWS (413-597-2353) and ask for a crisis (urgent) session. Outside of business hours and on weekends, students will reach our on-call service, Protocol, via the IWS phone number (413-597-2353, Option 2) or by calling Campus Safety and Security (413-597-4444) and asking to speak to the counselor on call). The student will be assisted by a trained clinician with expertise in student crisis counseling and assessment.

    I have a student who is requesting special considerations or accommodations due to a mental health issue. How do I get help for the student? For special considerations related to academics, the student should contact G.L. Wallace in the Office Accessible Education (413-597-4978). For non-academic needs, the Dean’s Office (413-597-4171) will advise a student on the best way to proceed. **For most requests of this type, the student will need documentation from a mental health clinician, so a referral to IWS (413-597-2353 or [email protected]) is usually needed if the student is not already working with a therapist or psychiatrist.

  • Why is supporting my child in connecting with IWS a good idea?
    Mental health struggles can be an isolating and confusing experience for many students. Robust evidence indicates that the best clinical outcomes occur when family and friends support the pursuit of mental health services for their loved ones.

    I’m concerned about my child. How do I schedule an appointment for them?
    Students are encouraged to schedule appointments for themselves. If you are concerned about your student and they will not schedule an appointment, it would be appropriate for you to contact the Dean’s Office to express your concern.

    Can you tell me if my student is working with a therapist?
    No. Treatment confidentiality agreements safeguard the dissemination of an individual’s health information to anyone unless authorized by the student.

    Does my child need to be in crisis to use IWS services?
    No. In fact, we strongly encourage students to utilize our services before a mental health crisis occurs.

    What extra resources is the College providing regarding COVID 19 specific concerns?
    Williams College provides an up-to-date website detailing all topics specific to COVID 19.

    Our family is having adjustment challenges with our student. Does IWS provide family therapy?
    We are unable to provide family therapy.