Here is what some of our colleagues have to say about the PCC’s incremental shift to a short-term model for mental health care. If you would like to share your experience, please contact us.
“I was told that the PCC is no longer covering long-term therapy, anything beyond a few sessions—I have been trying to find providers in the area who work with our insurance, and there are a few, but paying upwards of $400 up front for therapy and then submitting it to be reimbursed is not sustainable for me.”
"The PCC was integral to my success during my first two years at Vanderbilt. I had an amazing counselor who helped me identify and manage my lows before they became incapacitating, which allowed me to keep up with my studies, learn how to balance my personal life and my work, and flourish as an educator. Now I work with a new counselor and our limited sessions are goal-oriented, forcing me to rethink how to best manage my chronic depression. The thought of having to ration my visits (not only to save money on sessions outside of VU, but also for the cost of travel and irregular scheduling) is a source of worry and immense frustration, as if I'm not the right 'candidate' for mental health treatment since I don't have a problem which can be 'fixed.'"
“I walked into the PCC after suffering what I now know was a panic attack for triage. During the session I suffered what can only be described as a breakdown. I knew I required hospitalization. It was then that the expenses piled up. I was transported in an ambulance to Vandy Psychiatric where I stayed for a week. After that it was recommended I go to a rehabilitation facility. I was told that graduate student health insurance would not cover the cost of any free standing treatment facility. I was fortunate enough that charity intervened to cover 90% of the cost. This still left me with approximately $5000 -$8000 of debt. This, combined with the cost of repeated hospitalizations, trapped in a cycle of borrowing and debt that eventually racked up to over $30,000. Eventually I was sued specifically over the debt Vandy refused to cover. My only option then was to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy or risk wage garnishment and civil proceedings.
The only bright spot has been the PCC’s free therapy. I have enjoyed (EMDR) therapy and medication management/recovery for a year and a half. I was recently told by my therapists that the amount of sessions was being limited. I worry that I will be referred outside of the PCC and be forced to rack up huge bills again.”
“Our colleague E [name anonymized] courageously shared their experience of what many could reasonably consider to be a crisis situation requiring more frequent sessions. In July of 2016, their car was stolen at gunpoint and, approximately one week later, they had their first appointment with what they thought would be a long-term provider. During E’s first two years at Vanderbilt, they had unlimited access to therapy to help manage their existing moderate-to-major depressive disorder and anxiety symptoms. They have fortunately had access to an excellent meds provider at the PCC throughout their time at Vanderbilt and have greatly benefited from the PCC’s group therapy services. However, they find the phasing out of long-term care to be incredibly harmful to graduate workers with trauma histories and chronic mental illnesses.”
“This summer, after barely half a year of counseling, my provider told me that the PCC could no longer see me. I was told to locate community providers and find financial solutions on my own. I find myself, once again, in the same situation I was before I started counseling at the PCC: I feel unable to share my narrative with another unknown provider; I do not have transportation to bring me to providers that are within the Nashville community; and the graduate student stipend barely covers my living expenses let alone leaving enough over for weekly counseling. I am concerned that the progress I made at the PCC will quickly be lost. I already sense that the stress of my dissertation is making me more susceptible to the triggers I have been able to work through in past months. The changes instigated at the PCC, especially the fact that I was told to seek outside help, has fractured the trust I had in them. I no longer feel that they are a viable resource in crisis, because I know that, after a few sessions, I will again be dismissed.”
Updated 8 October 2017.