Jun 152016

The Wellness Center is offering counseling sessions for anyone who wants a safe space in which to talk about the Orlando shootings. They’ve also included a list of hotlines and resources that may be of help. See below for more information.

Additionally, there is a therapist in Brooklyn, Maria-Christina S Bichay, offering free counseling sessions for the same purpose. You can contact her here: or at mcbichaytherapy(at)gmail(dot)com.

The Graduate Center’s Student Counseling Service at the Wellness Center joins with the rest of the nation in mourning following this past weekend’s mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  We reject acts of hatred in all  forms and reaffirm our support and commitment to our LGBTQ, Latino/a and Muslim communities.

Directly or indirectly, many members of the college community will be affected by this unimaginable tragedy, and for those who need a safe space to talk, The Graduate Center’s Student Counseling Service at the Wellness Center will have appointments available for confidential and supportive counseling sessions. The Wellness Center is located in Room 6422 and can be contacted at 212-817-7020. You can also find information and request services on our website: http://www.cuny.is/wellnesscenter.

Here are some resources that may be of help:

American Psychological Association – Managing your distress in the wake of mass shooting:


American Psychological Association- How to talk to children about difficult news and tragedies:


SAMHSA – Incidents on Mass Violence:


Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays:


There are also numerous hotlines you can call anonymously to talk through confused and difficult feelings:


NYC GLBT hotline: 212-989-0999

National GLBT hotline: 1-888-843-4564help@GLBThotline.org

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., New York, NY 10011. 212-620-7310

Audre Lorde Project (Brooklyn), 85 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217. 718-596-0342

Audre Lorde Project (Manhattan), 147 W. 24th St., 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10011. 212-463-0342. 212-463-0344

Brooklyn Community Pride Center, 4 MetroTech, Brooklyn, NY 11201. 347-889-7719

Queens Pride House, 76-11 37th Ave., Suite 206, Jackson Heights, NY 11372. 718-429.5309

Staten Island LGBT Center, 25 Victory Blvd., 3rd Floor, Staten Island, NY 10301. 718-808-1360

Rainbow Heights Club, 25 Flatbush Ave., 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11217. 718-852-2584


Arielle Shanok, PhD

Deputy Director

For Student Counseling Services

Wellness Center

Graduate Center, City University of New York


Apr 292016

You’re not alone. Submit your mental health narrative at the link below.
Mental Health Narratives Google form
These mental health narratives can be about your experiences with mental illness, with getting help for mental illness, and/or with dealing with insurance for mental health and substance abuse issues; they can be about positive experiences of receiving the mental healthcare you needed as well as the negative effects of not having access to mental healthcare.

The DSC Health and Wellness Committee hopes to share these stories on a website and possibly on some digital signs about what psychological/mental health issues we as students face at the GC in an effort to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness; they can also help us to communicate to GC/CUNY admins the resources and support we need as a community. Please let us know if you would not like your stories shared on a website or digital sign.

For more information: https://opencuny.org/healthdsc/theres-an-awful-cost-to-getting-a-phd-that-no-one-talks-about-so-lets-talk-about-it/

Dec 082015

Tip from a student on NYSHIP!:

Starting October 1st, there was a change in the billing codes providers have to use when they note a diagnosis to the insurance company; WHO has updated from the 9th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9) to the 10th edition (ICD-10). For example, if you were diagnosed with ADHD, predominantly inattentive type,  the code for it under ICD-9 would be 314.00; however, under ICD-10, the code would be F90.0, and that’s the billing code your provider would now use with insurance companies.

That means that if you or your provider put down an ICD-9 code on a claim, the claim will not be processed because the code will no longer be “compliant”; you may have to resubmit the claim, and there might be some delays in the processing of reimbursements for October bills. In fact, the student who alerted me to this shift found out about it when ValueOptions denied her claim because the provider wrote in an ICD-9 code rather than an ICD-10 one.

Below are reference websites to search for the ICD-10 code(s) that you need. The second site also includes a converter so you can convert the billing code from ICD9 to the billing code for IC-10.



Nov 202015
1) A student recently asked me about the experience of being pregnant/giving birth on NYSHIP, and they asked me to send out a call for tips and recommendations on this front. If I can get some information on this, I can put that information on the website for them and for other students who are pregnant or looking into pregnancy (other information that would be useful, while we’re at it!: resources for dealing with *ugh* bedbugs, resources for students who aren’t on NYSHIP).

2) I’m trying to put together a page of sliding-scale providers–therapists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, etc who are willing to work with us as grad students at a reduced rate. Anybody you know of and would recommend in this category, please send my way. I’d appreciate it! And, of course, recommendations of NYSHIP providers you’ve had good experiences with is always welcome: students have often told me they rely on this list for finding providers they feel they can trust, and there’s definitely room for more providers in all categories, especially LPNs and mental health providers: https://opencuny.org/healthdsc/student-recommended-nyship-providers/

3) In an effort to reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues (which plague graduate students at particularly high rates), I’m also seeking out narratives about students’ experiences with mental health issues, as well as with getting treatment for those issues. See more information here: https://opencuny.org/healthdsc/theres-an-awful-cost-to-getting-a-phd-that-no-one-talks-about-so-lets-talk-about-it/
Thanks in advance for your generosity in sharing resources and stories ❤️
Nov 132015

Recently, an article on Quartz about the high rate of mental health issues in graduate school and the academy–and its devastating effects–has been making the rounds. The author, Jennifer Walker, cites a 2015 study at UC Berkeley that found 47% of graduate students deal with depression; grad students also deal with suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and feelings of isolation (and, while the article doesn’t discuss it, anxiety about finances). If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you can find it here: http://qz.com/547641/theres-an-awful-cost-to-getting-a-phd-that-no-one-talks-about/.

Here at the GC, we have some mental health support provided by the Wellness Center in the form of workshops, referrals, academic/dissertation consults, and counseling sessions, and the insurance many of us use, NYSHIP, does have mental health coverage included. Moreover, I’m working on collecting information for this site on sliding-scale therapy and counseling for underinsured students, and students who have had trouble finding mental health providers within our network (please send along, via my email or the contact form, any recommendations). I’d encourage you to take advantage of these resources when you can. However, accessing these resources is not easy for us as students who are both trying to do our own research while often holding down multiple jobs, and the many benefits of living in a vibrant city like New York also come with the real downsides of often feeling even more isolated and alone in our work; we are spread across boroughs, states, and campuses, and it can be difficult to get access to the support systems we need from the GC community, including support from other GC students who are encountering the same struggles and stresses that we are. The problems students have had with getting the benefits they need under ValueOptions/Beacon Health, the MHSA provider under NYSHIP, provides extra unneeded stress and financial burden and deters those who would want to seek out providers, but fear having to deal with insurance. It doesn’t help that stigma against mental illness–and getting help for it–continues to keep people afraid and embarrassed to admit their own suffering and pain.

With that in mind, at the DSC we’d like to try to cultivate an atmosphere of openness and support regarding mental health issues, and a space to talk about what Paul Gilmartin in his podcast (The Mental Illness Happy Hour–check it out!) calls the “battles in our heads.” Please let us know what we can do to help facilitate this at the Graduate Center; we’ll continue to fight for solid mental health insurance coverage for GC students, and to work with the Wellness Center to get them information about what students at the GC need. However, we’d also like to work to reduce stigmas against mental illness and getting help for it: with that in mind, I want to put out a call again for narratives about your own experiences with mental health issues. In the past, I’ve asked for narratives specifically about ValueOptions/insurance experiences, and that would absolutely still be valuable; however, I would like to broaden the call to ask GC students to send any and all stories they have about their experiences and struggles as a student and person. I would define issues with mental health broadly, to mean not just diagnosed mental illnesses, but anything that affects your mental and psychological health and well being; and, I would stress, the other letters in “MHSA” stand for substance abuse, which is something grad students suffer from that remains underdiscussed (and arguably is even more stigmatized). We hope to use these narratives to create some kind of document–digital and/or paper–to share with the GC community, so as to help provoke a larger, GC-wide discussion about mental health issues as well as promote awareness of them. Hearing these stories is important because it also allows us to get a sense of the problems faced not just by grad students generally but by GC students specifically. These submissions can be anonymous (through the contact form on this site) or not (through my email: wellness [at] cunydsc [dot] org); we will also not use your name in your story, whatever document we create, unless you want your name published (feel free, as well, to send advice about what kind of format this document should take). Of course, your stories can also help us to communicate to GC/CUNY admins the resources and support we need as a community. Graduate school is often framed as an isolating and lonely experience, but it doesn’t have to be the norm, nor should it be an accepted fact of grad student life. You are not alone–and you shouldn’t be made to feel that way. Let’s learn from each other– and figure out, facilitate, and advocate for the support structures we need to thrive.

TL;DR: Mental health problems plague grad students, and while there are some resources available at and through the GC, the DSC strives to work on improving access to necessary resources and to create an atmosphere where mental illness is not stigmatized and getting help for it is encouraged. To that end, please, if you are comfortable, send me narratives about your experiences with mental illness, with getting help for mental illness, with dealing with insurance for mental health and substance abuse issues, so that we can share these stories in some kind of pamphlet, article, or digital form that will spread the word about what psychological/mental health issues we face at the GC, and hopefully, reduce stigma surrounding mental illness.

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