Mandated Behavioral Assessment of Students
PURPOSE: To provide the University with an opportunity to help students who may be in need of behavioral and/or mental health support. This policy is not to be used in emergency situations. Additional resources for such circumstances may be accessed at the website listed below in the references.
POLICY: The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) is concerned for every student and for the entire campus community. In an effort to more effectively serve students and the community, these guidelines have been developed to reach students who may be in need of behavioral and/or mental health support but who are unwilling or unable to take advantage of these services.
A mandated assessment is an opportunity for UMMC to determine if a student is in need of behavioral and/or mental health help or support. The assessment includes a mandatory individual evaluation by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist and may include additional counseling sessions as deemed necessary. These additional services could include but are not limited to, additional sessions with that healthcare provider or a referral to a different healthcare provider for additional evaluation. The assessment and associated documentation should clearly exhibit the fidelity and integrity necessary to ensure proper evaluation and care of the student. The assessment cannot be conducted by a relative or person with a close personal relationship with the student being assessed. The assessment cannot be conducted by an employee, clinic, or department of UMMC.
The Deans’ Offices of each school may recommend a student in their respective school for a mandated assessment. Reports and recommendations may come from parents, faculty, or others concerned about a student.
Behaviors that may lead to a mandated assessment include but are not limited to:
• Threat to self
• Threat to others
• Self-destructive behaviors
• Disruptive behaviors, and
• Concern that the student may not be fit to function in or remain in the academic community.
The decision to recommend a mandated assessment is made by the Dean’s Office after careful consideration of the information given and determining the best course of action.
While the session content with the designated mental health processional conducting the mandatory assessment may be confidential, the student is required to sign a release of information, which may be provided by the mental health professional, so that the mental health professional can provide the Dean’s Office information regarding student attendance, recommendations for referrals, recommendations for further action, as well as any other relevant information that may be needed to determine a student’s ability to resume attendance. This information will be shared only with individuals who need to know the information.
When the Dean’s Office has recommended that a mandated assessment is needed, the student will be contacted by the Dean’s Office. This will take place as soon as possible following the decision to mandate assessment. The student will make an appointment with the mental health professional within the timeframe designated by the Dean’s Office. The student will be responsible for the cost of this assessment and must sign a release of information, which may be provided by the mental health professional, so that the mental health professional can communicate with the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office reserves the right to determine whether a student may or may not return to class and/or campus until the assessment has been completed, recommendations have been provided to the Dean’s Office, and recommendations have been satisfactorily addressed by the student.
The results of the assessment are provided to the Dean’s Office, and the Dean’s Office shall make the decision as to what actions are necessary for the student’s well-being and the UMMC community. Possible outcomes following the assessment could include but are not limited to: no further action required; additional sessions with the healthcare provider who conducted the assessment, referral to another licensed mental health professional or different healthcare provider for additional evaluation; possible sanctions; or the invocation of involuntary withdrawal.
If a student refuses to participate in the mandated assessment, the Dean’s Office may begin the process of invoking sanctions. The mandated assessment will only be one part of the overall decision and will not be the sole determining factor for action taken regarding the student.
SCOPE: all students