• Michelle Hebert

UCLA offering a free mental health screening to students

UCLA now offers all freshmen and transfer students a free-of-charge mental health screening and treatment if needed. UCLA Chancellor, Gene Block, made the announcement on Sept. 14, 2017.

The screening is a brief, online survey that on average only takes a few minutes. All who need or want help are given the option to take a free eight-week cognitive behavioral treatment online. The program is self-guided, and it helps the person to identify his or her problem areas, while also teaching the person to think so they can react differently.

The free mental health screenings are a part of UCLA’s Grand Depression Challenge: “a campus wide effort to reduce the health and economic impacts of depression by half globally by the year 2050,” according to UCLA health. The challenge is being led by UCLA’s director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics and professor of psychiatry, Dr. Nelson Frelmer.

UCLA’s new student orientation has activities to help students have an easy transition into college: dorm parties, talks with advisers, webinars on drinking and sexual conduct, and the free mental health screening will be added into the mix, CNN reported. "To our knowledge, no other university has ever attempted screening of this nature and scale," Block said during a speech, according to CNN.

The screening is currently directed only at incoming freshmen and transfer students because it is easier to reach them through activities, but soon all students will be able to participate in the free screening.