Students Classroom

Student and Resident Behavioral Health

Student and Resident Behavioral Health

Welcome! The Medical College of Wisconsin recognizes its students and residents work hard, long and responsibly. We are aware the demands of education training and service to patients can produce a variety of stressors for individuals and their families. Student and Resident Mental Health Services provides a comprehensive program to meet these professional and personal mental health needs. We value your dedication and hope you find these resources helpful.

Care team collaboration

Schedule an Appointment

For Students

All new intakes and inquiries about services will go through our new Student Assistance Program, ComPsych. Please call 1 (833) 927-1860. The intake coordinator there will guide you to the right resource for you. This may be one of their network of psychotherapists across the state or through MCW's Student Behavioral Health services in the Department of Psychiatry in Milwaukee or one of the contracted local providers at our regional campuses. It means more choices for you and expanded benefits: 10 sessions per academic year at no charge to you.

For Residents and Fellows

Call our intake line: (414) 955-8933. There is a Monday evening Housestaff Clinic that runs until 7:00 p.m., or other expanded hours can be made available. Discuss options with our intake coordinator, Carolyn Bischel, LPC. If you want to avoid phone tag, email Ms. Bischel at cbischel@mcw.edu. MCWAH offers 3 sessions per academic year at no charge to you. After that, you may use your insurance.

Anti-Racism: A Message from Dr. Cipriano

Racism demeans all of us. Working together we all can build a more inclusive and equitable place to learn here at MCW. Our country’s reckoning with hundreds of years of racial injustice as well as painful images of brutality and hate negatively impact our wellbeing. Use the resources on this page to take care of yourself so that you can be a better ally. Or, check out our new tab at the top called Culturally Inclusive Wellbeing for a list of curated offerings. Find resources on cultural inclusivity and on how to be an anti-racist institution at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Awkward Silence Presents: Seize the Awkward

Having a conversation about mental health might be uncomfortable, but it can make all the difference.

View the Awkward Silence Presents: Seize the Awkward | Friendship & Mental Health | Ad Council video today!

Visit the Seize the Awkward website

Beat Stigma. Start the Conversation.

Do you have a hard time finding the right words when talking to someone who is struggling? Reference these helpful examples (PDF) for your future conversations.

Test Anxiety

It seems like life as a student is one constant round of testing and assessment. Whether it is Step, course exams or shelf exams, the stress of being evaluated can sometimes make it a challenge to do your best.

First of all, most failures of memory on tests are failures of retrieval - not of encoding or storage. That means that it's in there, you just need to find the right key words or search words to find it. This is difficult to do when your anxiety is high.

The anxiety has two components: physiological and cognitive. The first step is to slow down the physiological activation. This is happening in the autonomic nervous system, particularly the sympathetic branch. Activating the parasympathetic branch (for all intents and purposes, the vagal nerve) is the classic antidote to sympathetic arousal. Deep breaths stimulate the vagal nerve (at least the branch of it that runs down our chest) - not to mention the benefits of increased oxygen intake. Rocking stimulates the vagal nerve, and some say that placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth, right above the front teeth does too. Of course, any mindfulness meditation can counter autonomic arousal as well.

The second component is the cognitive one. These are the negative thoughts that often go like this: "If I fail this test, I'll fail this course. And if I fail this course, I'll fail medical/graduate/pharmacy school…” Or, some sort of horriblizing like that. This is what interferes with retrieval and you will have to learn to challenge these thoughts. Examples of healthy self-talk to counter the negative are: "I'm smart enough to have gotten this far...Residencies are placing less emphasis on test scores and are thinking more holistically....I know of people who did not achieve their goal Step 1 score and who are still perfectly happy with their path and career in medicine….One test does not capture the creativity, planning and organization that it takes to be a good researcher."

Both of these components take a lot of practice and that practice should take place in conditions similar to the actual test. Take practice tests under such conditions (sitting at a desk, timed, lights on, appropriately dressed, etc.). Then you can practice slowing down the physiological arousal as well as the negative thoughts.

David Cipriano, PhDDavid J. Cipriano, PhD

Associate Professor
Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
Director, Student and Resident Behavioral Health

(414) 955-8954 | Pager number: (414) 314-5562

View list of Milwaukee-based Student Organizations.

SilverCloud, a Self-Guided Mental Health Resource for Students

SilverCloud is a free, self-guided, interactive mental health resource available to all MCW students, offering online programs for anxiety, depression and stress. Students can complete modules to help with a variety of topics, including sleep, relaxation, grief and loss, self-esteem and more.

For new users, please log into MCWconnect and visit the Student Life tab. Here, you will find instructions, including the required PIN, on how to set up an account. You will be prompted to create your own unique password.

For returning users, you may log into SilverCloud at any time with your username and password through this link: mcw.silvercloudhealth.com

SilverCloud is a supportive tool, but its content is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need specific advice or assistance, please contact your medical provider.

ThriveTogether Student Support Groups

Talking with other students and hearing their stories can be so helpful, especially when you think you are the only one feeling this way. Groups meet monthly from 12-1 p.m. CDT via Zoom.

  • Medical Students: 2nd Thursday of every month. Join monthly session.
  • Graduate Students: 1st Tuesday of every month. Check with the Graduate School Student Affairs Office for the Zoom link or location. (Updated link forthcoming.)
Take Your Mental Health Vitals: Self Assessment Tools

Take Your Mental Health Vitals: Self Assessment Tools

The Stress and Depression Questionnaire is a valuable tool to help you connect with resources if you are struggling with depression or anxiety. It is completely anonymous, but at the same time interactive because a member of our clinic will respond if need be. The instructions at the site will explain further.
Complete questionnaire
Self Care

Self Care

Resources for nutrition, exercise, and relationship self care.
Learn more
Wellbeing

Wellbeing

Access wellbeing information and resources.
Learn more
Sleep

Sleep

Sleep-Related Fatigue in Medical Training

Presentation by David J. Cipriano, PhD

View PowerPoint (PDF)
Happenings
Are you Helping Someone Else?

Are you Helping Someone Else?

Learn more about how to help others, and mental health first aid.
Learn more
Let's Talk About Suicide

Let's Talk About Suicide

How to help someone who is suicidal, and other useful information.

Additional resource: Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

Learn more
Grief Support Groups

Grief Support Groups

Healing Hearts of Waukesha County

Free, local peer groups welcome children, youth, and families who grieve loss due to death, divorce, addiction, incarceration, deportation, or military deployment.

Learn more

Contact Us

Milwaukee
General: (414) 955-8950
Referral Coordinator: Carolyn Bischel, MS, LPC
(414) 955-8933 | cbischel@mcw.edu

Emergencies
During Business Hours
(414) 955-8933

Emergencies
1 (833) 927-1860 ComPsych (students only)

After Business Hours
(414) 805-6700

Green Bay
Counseling services available in partnership with St. Norbert College
(920) 403-3045

Central Wisconsin
Counseling services available in partnership with Elmergreen and Associates
(715) 845-7175

24/7 Support - Provided by Resources Outside of MCW
Support available at no cost through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800) 273-8255

The Crisis Text Line
Provides Free Crisis Support via Text Message:
-Text START to 741741
-Additional information and support available on their website

Green Bay - Family Services of NE Wisconsin
Crisis Support Line
(920) 436-8888

Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division
Crisis Support Line
(414) 257-7222
(414) 257-6300 (for hearing impaired)

Wausau - North Central Health Care
Crisis Hotline
(715) 845-4326
(800) 799-0122

The Trevor Project
LGBT Intervention and Suicide Prevention Hotline
(866) 488-7386

Student and Resident Behavioral Health Google map location