Letter from the Dean April 2018

Dear Families,

If you were to poll students about their favorite term, there is a strong likelihood that spring would be the most popular.  It is also likely that spring term would emerge as the most stressful, given how busy they are, and the many transitions they manage at this time of year.

We thought that this would be a good time to review some of the health and wellness services available on campus. I've asked Director of the Health Service and board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Mark Reed to share an overview below. As always, please encourage your students to use these resources, and please don't hesitate to let us know if you think they need help. 

With best wishes,

Rebecca Biron

Dean of the College


Dear Families,

Our primary goal at the Health Service is to provide high quality, timely services that are accessible to all students and help them take full advantage of everything that Dartmouth has to offer. 

Similar to college student mental health trends reportedly widely in national media, demand for on-campus mental health services is increasing. Over 20% of Dartmouth students from all backgrounds take advantage of our Counseling services each year.  We offer short term counseling, group counseling, emergency services (all students with urgent issues are seen the same day), and medication consultations for students. In the event of a need for hospitalization, we work closely with the DHMC and other inpatient facilities as needed. Over the last year we have initiated a triage system that allows students to be seen more quickly, and to be matched with the level of care that is the best fit for them. We also began offering a very popular three-session “Anxiety Toolbox” program this year, that teaches students specific stress management skills.  There is no charge for any of these on-campus services. Students can make appointments by calling 603-646-9442 during the day, and can access our 24/7 counselor on call service after hours through Safety and Security, at 646-4000. 

We encourage all of your students to take advantage of our Fresh Check Day on Thursday, May 3rd from 10am -2pm in Collis Common Ground.  This is a celebratory, fun, fair-like event featuring peer-led interactive booths and activities related to mental health and suicide prevention. The event also includes ever-popular therapy dogs, free food, massages, and prizes.  Last year over 450 students participated. 

Our Primary Care department also offers a wide variety of on-campus medical services. With a few exceptions, most are free. Recognizing how busy our students are, Primary Care is partnering with the Student Wellness Center to offer weekly MediQuick checks.  Every Thursday from 12-2pm in ’53 Commons, staff provide students with medical advice, answer questions, and make appointments.  Students can also make appointments in Primary Care by calling 646-9401 or online through the Banner student system.

Finally, one of the hidden jewels at Dartmouth is the Health Service Infirmary.  A 10-bed unit staffed around the clock by two nurses and on-call providers, the infirmary is available for undergraduates who need this level of care during the fall, winter and spring terms.  Given the fast pace of Dartmouth’s 10 week terms, there are many students with counseling and/or medical concerns who are able to successfully complete the term because of the care they received in the infirmary. The infirmary can be reached through Counseling or Primary Care, and through Safety and Security after hours.

I should mention two other key partners in promoting health and wellness. Our colleagues in the Student Wellness Center offer a wide array of services to help students develop skills to manage challenges and maintain balance, including yoga and mindfulness classes and individual consultations about wellness practices. The Tucker Center for Spiritual and Ethical Life engages with students of all faiths, and those who are questioning, secular, spiritual but not religious, or simply seeking to learn. Pastoral counseling is available on and off-campus through the College Chaplain and the United Campus Ministry of 25 different religious groups, including Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and other faith traditions. Tucker oversees reflective spaces such as the Meditation Room, Rollins Chapel, and the Muslim Prayer Room, and supports various mindfulness initiatives, including a student-run mindfulness group.

We want your students to be able to access any supports they need to excel here. Please feel free to contact me with any questionsor if there is anything I can do to help your student get connected to the appropriate resources.


Mark Reed, M.D.

Director, Dartmouth College Health Service