Special Populations

Historically, not all groups have had positive experiences with the mental health profession. 

UC acknowledges that the resulting disparities and stigma often prevent certain groups from accessing mental health resources. We constantly strive towards our ideal, that all members of our diverse community will have equal access to all student support services, including mental health and wellness. 

Below you will find the beginnings of our listing of outreach services that we have found particularly promising in engaging students who are identified as needing mental health services due to the added stressors unique to their particular status. We anticipate this list will continue to grow over time as we are constantly evaluating our efforts.  

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Undocumented Students

After the 2017 Presidential election cycle, many college campuses began experiencing an influx in undocumented and immigrant students presenting for counseling under significant distress related to immigration policy changes and the subsequent attacks on immigrant communities. It is imperative that mental health clinicians and administrators have access to resources and best practices in culturally responsive care around these issues. See below for helpful resources:


Supporting the Mental Health of Undocumented and Immigrant Students:
What Clinicians Need to Know
Monday, April 24, 2017 | 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

View slides from the webinar

UC Campus Resources


Veteran Students

Promising Practices

  • Clinician Resources: Provide mental health clinicians with the resources necessary to assist Veteran students who may seek services. See a sample comprehensive resource list below.

                       For UCLA Clinicians: Student Veteran Mental Health Resources 

  • Veteran's Orientation:  UCLA Counseling Center and the UCLA Veteran Resource Center collaborated closely for the 2013-2014 academic year and augmented the Veteran orientation to include academic, mental health, and student services components. During the orientation students had opportunities for peer networking through military-themed ice-breakers, catered lunch, and a panel discussion with current students. VA representatives and a UCLA affiliated Veteran mental health organization were also present.  Following the orientation, several student affairs offices reported increased numbers of Veterans served which they attributed to the comprehensive orientation. Contact UCLA CAPS for more information.
  • Public Service Announcements (PSA's): View our Veteran's PSA which helps community members think critically about how to be supportive of Veteran students.

Graduate/Professional Students

UC serves a diverse population of graduate and professional students with unique needs and highly demanding schedules. This underserved population has proven particularly challenging to engage in mental health education, marked by relatively low attendance rates at most events. As we continue to adapt our services, we want to highlight the programs noted below, which have proven promising in terms of success at engaging this population.

UC San Francisco Student Health & Counseling Services developed a the “Hump Day Wellness Series” (so named because workshops occur every Wednesday at noon). The series has been highly successful, consistently yielding 25-50 students/week, from a broad range of disciplines. This series has helped create a culture on campus whereby students expect weekly innovate programming informed by best practices to address their concerns related to metal, emotional, and physical wellness. This series includes the following programs, which are led by campus Psychologists, Social Workers, Primary Care M.D.’s, RN’s, and Dieticians:

  • Self-Care 101:-Stress Management
  • Letting Go of Perfectionism
  • Going Viral (Workshop on using nutrition to improve wellness performance during cold and flu season)
  • Travel 101 – Well on Your Way( Psychoeducational workshop for students traveling abroad for research or leisure)
  • Relationships 101 & 102
  • Surviving Qualifying Exams: A Roadmap to Candidacy
  • Breaking Up is Hard to Do
  • The Perks of Being an Introvert (Psychoeducational workshop on introversion, shyness, and social anxiety)

Contact UCSF for more information.

Students in Recovery

Maintaining recovery from addictive behaviors in a college environment can be a challenging journey.  In line with the growing National attention on recovery programs, UC is increasing efforts towards ensuring students recovering from addictive disorders have the necessary support to pursue their academic, personal, and professional goals. See below for details about a promising recovery program:

Healing Highlanders

UC Riverside is home to the Healing Highlanders organization. This peer-led organization aims to provide a nurturing and affirming environment for students in recovery. The group addresses a full spectrum of addictive disorders, including but not limited to: drug and alcohol abuse; eating disorders; sex, love & belonging; gambling; pornography; and self-harm. Learn more.

Founded in the Spring of 2011, this group has made a significant impression on the UCR community and within the greater recovery community in a short amount of time. Listed below are a few highlights:

  • Delivered a host of educational seminars and outreach events for the UCR community
  • Attended that 3rd annual Collegiate Recovery Conference (hosted by Kennesaw State University)
  • Founded the California United Collegiate Recovery conference (October 2012) which drew in attendees from CSU, CCC, and private colleges across California and the east coast as well as guest speakers from across the country including government representatives from Washington DC
  • Awarded a surprise $10,000 donation from the Stacie Mathewson Foundation
  • Awarded the UCR New Student Organization of the Year (2011 - 2012 academic year)
  • Awarded The President’s Award by UC Office of the President (2012-2013 academic year) which recognizes organizations for work that enhances multi-campus collaboration, addressing issues systemwide and advancing the University of California’s mission of teaching, research and public service