Counseling and Wellness Services

Graduate and professional school by its nature is demanding and stressful. The volume of work and the intense pace of your training may require that you make adjustments to your lifestyle. These changes can stretch your usual coping skills and may also require learning some new ones. At other times, you may just need a place to process and talk situations and issues you are experiencing and perhaps discover solutions to whatever you may be facing.

We are here to help. Since 1970, UWSOM has been offering counseling and mental wellness support to students as they recognized the unique challenges faced by students in medical education programs. Our department, UWSOM Student Wellness & Counseling Service offers free and confidential counseling services for our students in the Medical Education (MD), Medex Northwest Physician’s Assistant, and Rehabilitation Medicine (Physical and Occupation Therapy, and Prosthetics & Orthotics) programs. Services are also available for student partners and spouses on a limited basis.

All of our School of Medicine Student Counselors are licensed, experienced, mental health professionals who are knowledgeable in providing psychotherapy and counseling to medical students experiencing a broad range of concerns.

Available Services

Counselors are available to discuss issues related to medical school or any other personal concern that may be troubling you, including, but not limited to, the following types of services:

  • ​Individual counseling
  • Couples counseling
  • Depression and anxiety management
  • Relationship/family concerns
  • Peer conflicts
  • Grief and loss
  • Academic difficulties
  • Curriculum and licensing exam-related stress & anxiety
  • Coping with clerkships/clinicals
  • Career exploration & decision-making
  • Residency match/post-graduate employment stress
  • Time management
  • General stress management
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Drop-in consultations
  • Support groups
  • Referrals for psychotropic medications
  • Referrals to community clinicians

Though our counselors are unable to address every issue that may arise, they are happy provide referrals and additional resources to help you get the help you desire. Because we desire to help provide support to as many students/partners as possible across the various programs, long-term counseling (i.e. – weekly sessions every month) is not possible. If long term counseling or psychiatric assessment is needed, a counselor can refer you to a community therapist or agency that may be able to provide long-term and specialized services.

Confidentiality

Counseling is completely confidential and compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) standards. Limited counseling records are securely kept by your counselor and are not part of your academic file. Information about students who are seeking counseling is never shared with faculty or administrators unless a Release of Information is provided and such communication requested.

Accessing SOM Counseling Services

Appointments can be made by contacting the counselor of your choice in person, by email, or by phone. Counselors are generally available Monday through Friday during normal business hours (8 am – 5 pm Pacific time), though some limited evening appointments are available. Contact your desired counselor directly for their specific schedule as these may fluctuate in response to student needs and counselor availability during times of high service utilization.

The guide below is designed to assist students in identifying the available counselors based on the curriculum phase and regional location of the student.

This office does not provide counseling for medical school pre-admission.

During Foundations

Foundations Phase students have access to free, confidential counseling via the counselors at their respective Foundations site. Appointments can be made by contacting the counselor in person, by phone, or by email:

Sara Buckingham, PhD, MA
sbuckingham@alaska.edu
Phone:  (907) 786-1767

Laena Huffaker, PhD
lhuffaker@uidaho.edu
Phone:  (208) 885-6716

University of Idaho Counseling & Testing Center

Clifton Kelly, MS, MDiv, LMHC, LCPC
Director, School of Medicine Student Wellness & Counseling
ckelly70@uw.edu
Phone: (206) 616-3022
Health Sciences Building, AA-103E

City University Counseling Center
For additional information or to schedule an appointment, contact counseling@cityu.edu or Amy Cummings-Garcia, alcummings-garciaphd@cityu.edu

Gonzaga Health & Counseling Services
studenthealth@gonzaga.edu

City University Counseling Center
For additional information or to schedule an appointment, contact counseling@cityu.edu or Amy Cummings-Garcia, alcummings-garciaphd@cityu.edu

Brenda Cannon, MS, NCC, LPC
brendacannon@gmail.com
Phone: (307) 851-9736

During Clerkships

In-person and distance counseling is available to students completing clinical rotations. Available counseling services are determined by a student’s physical location during a clerkship and are dependent upon state licensing agreements.

Regardless of your location, ANY STUDENT may reach out to the Seattle-based counselors for a phone consultation. If desirable, we will assist you in identifying mental health resources in your location. Students may also seek services on their own from community mental health providers.

Distance counseling is conducted via Zoom technology, which is confidential and HIPAA compliant.

Sara Buckingham, PhD, MA
sbuckingham@alaska.edu
Phone:  (907) 786-1767

Consulting Only:
Clifton Kelly, MS, MDiv, LMHC, LCPC
Director, School of Medicine Student Wellness & Counseling
ckelly70@uw.edu
Phone: (206) 616-3022

 

Distance Counseling via Zoom:
Clifton Kelly, MS, MDiv, LMHC, LCPC
Director, School of Medicine Student Wellness & Counseling
ckelly70@uw.edu
Phone: (206) 616-3022

Limited Distance Counseling Only:
Clifton Kelly, MS, MDiv, LMHC, LCPC
Director, School of Medicine Student Wellness & Counseling
ckelly70@uw.edu
Phone: (206) 616-3022

Clifton Kelly, MS, MDiv, LMHC, LCPC
Director, School of Medicine Student Wellness & Counseling
ckelly70@uw.edu
Phone: (206) 616-3022

City University Counseling Center
For additional information or to schedule an appointment, contact counseling@cityu.edu or Amy Cummings-Garcia, alcummings-garciaphd@cityu.edu

Limited Distance Counseling Only:
Clifton Kelly, MS, MDiv, LMHC, LCPC
Director, School of Medicine Student Wellness & Counseling
ckelly70@uw.edu
Phone: (206) 616-3022

Available to WY Foundations students rotating in WY:
Brenda Cannon, MS, NCC, LPC
brendacannon@gmail.com
Phone: (307) 851-9736

While Completing Concurrent Degrees

Students completing concurrent degrees at the University of Washington, including the MD/PhD program, continue to have access to counseling through the School of Medicine while completing their concurrent degree program.

Students on Leave or Expansion

Students who are on a leave of absence (LOA) or have expanded, may continue to receive services. Only in cases where the student withdraws do they become ineligible to receive services. For students who do separate from the program, referrals to community resources are available by contacting one of the counselors.

Emergency Services

The Counseling Service does not provide emergency services or after-hours crisis intervention.  Students in crisis may contact the King County Crisis Line, the Crisis Text Line, the National Suicide Prevention Line or may seek assistance at the nearest Emergency department.

  • 988/National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 is the new three-digit number to get mental health support if you are in crisis. You can call or text 988 to chat.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 or visit their website. Services are available 24/7.
  • Physician Support Line: this is a confidential phone line that operates 7 days a week (8 am to 1am EST) Licensed psychiatrists volunteer to provide support on the line. Call: 888-409-0141.
  • #BeThe1To: supporting suicide prevention. Let’s join to take actions to promote healing, help and give hope.
  • Call 911 if you, a loved one, or colleague is in immediate distress.

Other University of Washington Resources

Students may wish to reach out to these resources for additional services outside of the School of Medicine. These resources may provide more limited services and may require some out-of-pocket costs.