Education

In new partnership, Tanager Place to offer Coe students counseling

New partnership enables students with no insurance to receive care

Andrew Beer, Tanager Place clinician supervisor, is one of the therapists offering counseling services at Coe College photographed on campus on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. (Michaela Ramm/The Gazette)
Andrew Beer, Tanager Place clinician supervisor, is one of the therapists offering counseling services at Coe College photographed on campus on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. (Michaela Ramm/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — College is a transitional time, for some more challenging than others.

As the conversation around the need for emotional and mental health services for college students continues nationwide, one Cedar Rapids campus has enlisted a local provider to bolster its services.

Coe College announced at the beginning of the semester officials had signed a contract with Cedar Rapids-based Tanager Place to provide additional mental health services to students throughout the school year.

“We care about well-being in all dimensions,” said Coe College Provost and Dean of Faculty Paula O’Loughlin. “Mental and emotional health are facets of well-being.”

Through this partnership, two Tanager Place therapists — Andrew Beer, clinician supervisor, and Emma Thompson, school-based supervisor — will offer services alongside existing Coe College counselors two days a week.

The contract will increase the number of sessions on campuses “by more than 30 percent,” according to a news release.

A survey of college students in spring, conducted by the American College Health Association, found more than half of respondents felt overwhelming anxiety and about half of students reported they felt so depressed it was difficult to function. In addition, the survey reported approximately 16 percent of respondents sought treatment for depression and anxiety.

Coe College students also face challenges with maintaining emotional and mental health, O’Loughlin said, adding that Tanager Place — a children’s human services agency in Linn County — will help Coe expand its offerings for students.

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“Thirty years ago, people were not as attuned to questions of anxiety and mental health needs,” O’Loughlin said. “Now people are, which is great . That’s just a reflection of our society and the needs of young people today are different from those” of an earlier generation.

Coe previously had a contract with UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital to provide additional mental and emotional health services for many years.

Beer and Thompson will be on campus Mondays and Thursdays, respectively, with hours in the afternoon and evening to serve students beyond traditional hours, said Dean of Students Marc’ Bady.

Bady said Coe’s own counselors will continue offering services for students, with an emphasis on education and prevention.

Tanager Place’s counselors will work with students in need of ongoing therapy, including those who have been diagnosed with depression and other mental health conditions, Beer said.

“The primary population that we’re wanting to serve at Coe are those who do not have insurance,” Beer said. “They can just schedule and show up. There isn’t any billing process, it’s just covered through the school.”

The sessions are free for students, and available to those without insurance.

Beer said they anticipate some of the students will need short-term therapy, or fewer than five sessions.

Those students who need long-term therapy lasting three to six months and who have insurance can be referred to Tanager for continued services. That also includes medication management, psychiatric testing and other services the provider offers.

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The partnership may evolve in the coming school year. However, Beer said the first two weeks in the program have been well received by students.

“We have so many engaged faculty and staff in general, we are ready to address the need,” Bady said. “I can’t predict the future, but I believe we offer so many fantastic opportunities for students to take care of themselves.”

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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