Mental Health Bill of Rights

Update 02/06/19

The MHBoR&R has been approved and published to the graduate school website!

Update 12/4/18

The latest draft of the MHBoR&R can be found here: MHBoR_oct18_allstudents. This is the version to be included in the final vote beginning on 12/7/18.

Update 10/4/18

The GSC MHBoR Committee has continued to incorporate feedback from many sources, primarily to reflect organizational changes that have happened as a result of the transition to the UCC structure. The most recent draft will be discussed and voted on at the October 4th GSC General Body Meeting. You can read the revised draft here: MHBoRR-8.31.18

Update 4/4/18

The GSC MHBoR Committee has now received and incorporated official feedback from Dean Mark Wallace, Vice Provost Cynthia Cyrus, and the Office of General Counsel. The revised draft will be handed out and discussed at the April 5th GSC General Body Meeting. We hope to have another general body vote soon, but we first would like to incorporate graduate student feedback on the changes. Please take a look at our REVISED DRAFT  and give us feedback using the form below. 

Summary of broader changes: The document know include both “rights” and “responsibilities” for Vanderbilt graduate students. We have made significant changes to the appeals process. We have incorporated more specific requirements for the referral process.

Update 1/10/18

On December 18th, the GSC MHBoR Committee met with Dean Mark Wallace and Vice Provost Cynthia Cyrus to discuss the Graduate Student Bill of Rights. Both Wallace and Cyrus were familiar with the bill from previous conversations with GSC members and expressed gratitude for the hard work on the students’ endeavor.

Broader outcomes: There was shared excitement about how this type of document could be used to increase student feedback in the mental health initiatives on campus, especially with the shift to the University Counseling Center (UCC). Both Wallace and Cyrus agreed that the bill, as well as the MHBoR Committee, will provide direct input into the UCC draft. Cyrus, the lead personnel on PCC-to-UCC transition, has already requested bimonthly meetings with GSC representatives to discuss the finer details of incorporating student feedback into the UCC plan.

Line items: As we read through the MHBoR, there was support for the sentiment of each item, but caution around wording. This includes a few comments on each of the MHBoR line items discussed.

Steps Forward: The MHBoR committee is scheduled to resume weekly (or bi-monthly meetings) starting on Friday, Jan. 12 from 12-1pm in Sarratt Student Center Room 361. At these meetings, we will continue to adjust the MHBoR and make plans for (1) acquiring feedback from graduate students and (2) continuing the conversation with the administration.


Members of the GSC Mental Health Committee have drafted the following document that outlines standards of care, communication, and oversight surrounding mental health services for graduate students at Vanderbilt.  We invite you to provide feedback on its content in two ways: (1) by filling out this form, and (2) by attending a special GSC meeting on Thursday, November 16, from 5:45-8pm (Featheringill Hall room 138) and Friday, November 17, from 1:30-3pm (Kennedy Center room 241).  After incorporating student feedback, we plan to take this Bill of Rights to the administration with the goal of having it endorsed by the University as they move forward with the University Counseling Center.

Summary of provisions of the Mental Health Bill of Rights:

  • Vanderbilt prioritizes access to mental health.
  • Vanderbilt combats negative stigmas around mental health.
  • Vanderbilt considers unique mental health needs of various student groups.
  • Vanderbilt protects the privacy of mental health care.
  • Graduate students have the right to individual therapy, and this can only be repealed after (1) a clinical review process, (2) due notice of terminated services, (3) student appeal process (if requested), and (4) the provision of services outside of University.
  • Vanderbilt provides health insurance for mental health care.
  • Students have the right to an in-person assessment of mental health care needs.
  • Students have the right to provide feedback on mental health policies and policy changes.

Draft of Bill of Rights

Download the full draft here:  MHBoR Draft 12.18

Committee Members

Yonathan Reches, Shatavia Wynn, Mary Lauren Benton, Sabeen Ahmed, Kim Stauffer, Diane Saunders, Jeremiah Cioffi, Lauren Barter, Marcus Wild, and Chelsea Peters

Feel free to contact any of us for more information.


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