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Office for Professional Mental Health

COVID-19 update

The following announcement is on behalf of Dr. Kelly Holder, Director of the Office for Professional Mental Health:

This is definitely a time of uncertainty and things changing on a daily basis. We, the Office of Professional Mental Health, want to let you know that we are still here. We are working remotely, and you can still contact each of us via phone or email.
Office for Professional Mental Health is OPEN!

  • Services are offered via telephone and Zoom
  • Call or email to schedule an appointment

In crisis or need immediate support?

  • Call the Penn State Crisis Line 24/7: 877-229-6400
  • Use the Crisis Text Line 24/7: Text “LIONS” to 741741
  • Page Dr. Holder @ page ID:6529
  • Faculty and Staff – check the Red Folder – a guide to help you recognize, respond, and refer students to the right resources

Request Outreach Programming

PMH staff can join your group for education, training, or discussion. Please contact us via email with your request.

Drop-In Support Options

  • Kelly Holder, PhD and Justin Jacques, EdS, LPC are offering open office hours weekly. Please email for days and times.
  • A variety of drop-in support groups are offered weekly. Please email to learn more.
  • PSU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at University Park is offering a twice-daily drop-in support opportunity for all PSU students at ALL Campuses– Virtual Life Hacks. These run M-F at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for one hour, and include a 20-25 min presentation about the transitions, managing stress, and coping skills associated with COVID-19 and small-group discussions. It is designed for all students, both undergrad and graduate and run by CAPS staff. Please note – this is NOT a therapy group. Visit the Wellness Affairs site to get started.

Additional PSU resources

  • WellTrack:  24/7 self-assessment and self-treatment for anxiety
  • Thriving Campus: find a mental health provider in your community

Contact Us

The situation is constantly changing and we’ll do our best to keep you updated. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Office phone: 717-531-8658

Office email:

Emergency/crisis phone: Penn State Crisis Line, 877-229-6400

Team member contacts:

Please take good care of yourselves.

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COVID-19 Self-Care Tips and Resources

(Adapted from

Take care of your body

Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Connect with others

Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships and build a strong support system.

Take breaks

Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.

Stay informed

When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.

Click the image to download a printable version of these tips from Box.

Avoid too much exposure to news

Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible, and check for updates in breaks.

Seek help when needed

If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member counselor, a doctor or contact the SAMHSA helpline at 800-985-5990.

Other resources

Download printable version from Box

Urgent Situations

Office of Professional Mental Health providers work on an appointment basis, but in most instances, providers should be able to respond to a mental health emergency during business hours. If a particularly urgent situation (suicidal thoughts, assault, extreme panic) presents itself during these hours, students can contact the office and indicate the need for immediate attention. The office will then make every effort to respond promptly.

Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., please contact Dr. Kelly Holder directly (call 717-531-8658 or page 6529).

24/7/365 options for crisis situations include:

The Penn State Crisis Line is an extension of the services offered by the Office of Professional Mental Health. Reports from calls made to this crisis line are received by the office.

Students experiencing a life-threatening emergency should call ext. 8888 if on campus, and 911 for off-campus emergencies, or go to the nearest emergency room.

Red Folder Guide

An image shows the front of a file folder labeled RED FOLDER. It describes in large type that it is designed to help recognize, respond to and refer distressed students.The “Red Folder” guide was produced by Penn State’s Student Affairs/Counseling and Psychological Services and Commonwealth Fee Board, and updated with Hershey-specific information by the Office for Professional Mental Health at Penn State College of Medicine.

The folder is a quick-reference guide to help faculty, staff and students recognize, respond to and refer to those in distress, especially students.

See the Red Folder here

Learn More About the Office

The Office for Professional Mental Health is designed to meet the needs of Penn State College of Medicine professionals with compassion, honesty and confidentiality. All issues are taken seriously – no problem is “too small” to talk about.

The years of graduate school and medical training can be among of the most exciting and gratifying of a person’s life. However, being a student can also cause significant amounts of stress and uncertainty. During these times, students may find it helpful to have additional support and encouragement. The office is available to provide assistance and guidance students need to achieve personal and academic success.

Wellness Well Newsletter Expand answer

The Office for Professional Mental Health at Penn State College of Medicine offers a monthly newsletter called the Wellness Well.

The newsletter offers another way for College of Medicine students to engage with mental health and wellness resources. The newsletter is perfect for the student who is committed to their mental health and wellness but who may not have the need or desire to come in for a counseling session.

The Professional Mental Health team plans to cover an array of topics in the Wellness Well, including stress management, academic performance, financial stress, diet, exercise and creating margin for fun.

Sign Up for Email Updates

Meet the Providers Expand answer

Dr. Kelly D. Holder

A headshot photo of Dr. Kelly HolderDr. Kelly D. Holder is a licensed clinical psychologist and serves as the Director of the Professional Mental Health.

Dr. Holder earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Loma Linda University, and completed postdoctoral training at Harbor-UCLA in HIV Mental Health/Behavioral Medicine. She has experience working in multiple clinical settings, which include college counseling centers, private practice and community mental health. Her interests include depression, anxiety, sleep, general life stress/dissatisfaction, and health and wellness. She is a certified instructor of Mental Health First Aid.

Dr. Holder is passionate about mental health and aiding individuals to improve well-being and the quality of their lives.

Justin Jacques, Ed.S, LPC, ACS, CAC II

A headshot photo of Justin JacquesJustin Jacques is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Addiction Counselor II, Nationally Certified Counselor, and Approved Clinical Supervisor. He possesses an education specialist degree from the George Washington University in counseling and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and Education from the University of Colorado. He also has an undergraduate degree in Health Promotions from the University of Northern Iowa. Currently, he is a PhD student in Counselor Education and Supervision at Oregon State University. His research interests include: veteran populations, health and wellness, addiction, emerging adults, and university athlete’s identity development.

Jacques came to the College of Medicine from George Washington University, where he held the position of Stepped Care Coordinator and Senior Staff Clinician for Counseling and Psychological Services. During his time at George Washington, he also provided mental health and wellness services to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Previously, he was employed as the Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness at the University of North Texas at Dallas. He has more than 18 years of mental health treatment experience working with individuals, couples, families and groups. He counsels from a strength-based perspective by empowering students to make positive life changes and helping them utilize their natural talents and abilities.

Dr. Martha Levine

A headshot photo of Dr. Martha LevineDr. Martha Peaslee Levine is a board-certified psychiatrist who works in the Office for Professional Mental Health.

Dr. Levine earned her MD from Tulane School of Medicine and completed her psychiatric residency at NYU. She has experience working in a variety of clinical settings and is pleased to offer her clinical skills and experience in helping students improve their overall health and well-being. She has assisted many students as they tackle the stress of school and works to help them define healthy coping strategies. She can offer evaluation and treatment of a variety of issues including depression, anxiety and concentration difficulties.

Dr. Levine believes that sometimes everyone needs a little help to navigate life stresses. She offers a willingness to listen and wants to work with individuals so they can discover their strengths and maximize their abilities.

External Counselors Expand answer

A list of other counselors in the area is available by emailing

Scheduling Appointments Expand answer

Students in the College of Medicine can schedule appointment directly with the provider. Students have a choice of working with Dr. Kelly Holder (psychologist) or Dr. Martha Peaslee-Levine (psychiatrist) or Justin Jacques (licensed professional counselor). Their offices are located in the College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.

Kelly Holder, PhD

Martha Peaslee-Levine, MD

Justin Jacques, Ed.S, LPC, ACS, CAC II
717-531-0003, ext. 320245

You may also email

Fees & Eligibility

All Penn State College of Medicine students are eligible for treatment for free from the Office for Professional Mental Health. When referrals are made to mental health providers outside of the Office for Professional Mental Health, these service are normally covered under the provision of the student’s health insurance policy.

Screenings Expand answer

A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body. You keep tabs on your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. How about your emotional well-being?

For free, anonymous, online mental health screening click on the following links which lead to Mental Health America’s website. Following screening, you will be provided with information, resources and tools to discuss the results with a provider.

Please contact the office to make an appointment in the Office for Professional Mental Health to discuss your results.

What to Expect Expand answer

All Penn State College of Medicine students are eligible for services within the Office for Professional Mental Health free of charge. Appointments are scheduled and based on counselor availability. Counselors offer flexible appointment times, which include evening availability. We encourage students to come in and talk, even if they are not sure that counseling is what they need. During the initial meeting, students will develop a course of action with their counselor.

Benefits of Counseling Expand answer

There are many benefits to counseling including improved relationships with friends and family, better ability to manage stress, and increased academic success.

Confidentiality Expand answer

Providers within the Office for Professional Mental Health strive to uphold strict confidentiality. As such, all information shared during counseling is confidential. No one outside of the office may have access to the specifics of sessions without the written consent of students, except in situations where there is a threat or danger to life. Records are not a part of the student’s academic file.

Mental Health and Counseling Services Expand answer

The most common clinical services include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Couples counseling
  • Psychiatric evaluation and medication management
  • Brief case management (providing referrals to other agencies and assisting with accessing resources in the community)

Short-term, goal-directed counseling is available to students with concerns that fall within the the Office for Professional Mental Health’s scope of practice. The majority of clients will finish their individual counseling within 16 sessions or less. In the rare instances in which longer-term services are needed, the Office for Professional Mental Health must be able to accommodate the current student demand. No formal limit of services is set, and students will receive appointments, referrals and consultation based on student need and service availability.

Counseling services are available to all Penn State College of Medicine students. This includes medical students enrolled in the University Park Curriculum. Students in the University Park Curriculum may access services from providers by coming to the Hershey campus and/or making appointments when Dr. Kelly Holder visits University Park for outreach programing. After an initial intake, teletherapy services may be used by these students. Additionally, students at University Park may make use of the Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park.

The Office for Professional Mental Health strives to provide as many clinical services to our students as possible. However, because some services take tremendous personnel resources, present a conflict of interest, are beyond the scope of our mission or require specialization, there are some services we do not provide, including:

  • Services to alumni
  • Services to students enrolled at Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses or World Campus students
  • Clinical services to staff or faculty
  • Specialty care
  • Intensive substance-abuse treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Testing for learning disabilities and/or attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder
  • Assessment and documentation for service or emotional support animals
  • Forensic evaluations
  • Neuropsychological evaluations
  • Court-ordered treatment or treatment that is the stipulation of probation
  • Evaluations for attorneys or courts related to difficulties such as alcohol infractions (e.g., driving under the influence) or other domestic matters such as parents seeking custodial authority of a student
  • Services to student who are not medically stable or require intensive medical treatment
  • Students with a desire to be seen more frequently than the Office for Professional Mental Health resources can provide (e.g., more than weekly), or on a long-term basis
  • Students for whom a short-term treatment model (e.g., up to 16 sessions) would be detrimental or inappropriate to the diagnosis or clinical issues
  • Students who needs fall outside of the clinical expertise of Office for Professional Mental Health staff
  • Student who engage in inappropriate, harassing, menacing, threatening or violent behaviors toward Office for Professional Mental Health staff

All students seeking services will receive an initial appointment. Additional appointments (extended assessment, second opinion, etc.) may be needed to determine the appropriateness of services. After the assessment is concluded, a decision will be made about whether or not the needs of the student fall within the role and scope of the Office for Professional Mental Health. If a student’s need does not fall within the role and scope of the Office for Professional Mental Health, the office will work the with student to help them access necessary resources within the community.

These services may include but are not limited to sleep clinic evaluations, day or intensive outpatient programs, and extended services. The Office for Professional Mental Health also provides a variety of programs on topics such as depression, anxiety, burnout and stress management.

See a list of current student mental health programs here.

For details, please contact Dr. Kelly Holder at

Common Concerns Expand answer

There are many concerns that may lead a student to seek support:

  • Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Adjustment to the College of Medicine (medical school)
  • Interpersonal/relationship difficulties
  • Personal or family crisis
  • Grief and loss
  • Academic performance and motivation
  • Personal growth and development
  • Anger problems
  • Sexuality
  • Identity development and issues related to diversity
  • Spirituality concerns
  • Eating behaviors and body image
  • Alcohol and substance use concerns, relapse prevention
  • Trauma/assault
Psychiatric Services Expand answer

Psychiatric evaluation and medication management is provided primarily by Dr. Martha Peaslee-Levine, specifically for College of Medicine students.

Students who are unable to meet with her because of her role in their education and are in need of psychiatric services will be referred to Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI) Division Street Clinic. Psychiatric providers at this location are not involved in education and will not create educational conflicts for students.

Students should contact Dr. Kelly Holder,, who will aid them in making an appointment.

Outreach, Consultation Liaison and Lectures Expand answer

The Office for Professional Mental Health seeks to improve the overall well-being of students on campus by offering programs that will aid students in improving their own mental health and that will decrease the stigma associated with seeking support for mental health concerns.

Workshops and Presentations

The office provides workshops, presentations and discussion groups. Providers within the office are open to supporting other offices, programs and department through consultation and providing lectures/programs that aid with increase mental well-being across the campus.

Topics that have been provided in the past include: Beating Anxiety, Depression and Suicide Awareness, Burnout Recovering and Prevention, Stress Management and Reflective Journaling.

Real Talk

The Real Talk program has been established to increase contact between Office for Professional Mental Health providers and students, and to address issues that are common for students in the College of Medicine. Real Talk is series of group meetings for graduate students, medical students and physician assistant students with the goal of providing safe and open atmosphere to discuss the challenges associated with being a student. These group discussions have been facilitated by Dr. Holder. Topics have included: stress management, self-care, imposter syndrome, mindfulness and burnout.

Mental Health Band-Aid

Mental Health Band-Aid is a two-hour workshop created to briefly review several common mental health concerns, and signs and symptoms of mental illness. In this course, attendees learn simple ways that can help and support others with these concerns. These courses are also offered to the faculty, staff and others in the PSU community.

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid training is offered by Dr. Holder. Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour course that gives people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The National Counsel for Behavioral Health offers a certification in Mental Health First Aid USA, which will be provided to participants if they complete the entire course and if more than five individuals attend the course.

QPR Training

QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer – three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. QPR is not a form of counseling or treatment. Rather, it is intended to offer hope through positive action. Those who learn QPR will come to recognize the warning signs, clues and suicidal communications of people in trouble, and skills to act vigorously to prevent a possible tragedy. Learn more about the QPR course and certification.

Campus and Community Involvement Expand answer

Providers within the Office for Professional Mental Health may choose to become involved with committees and programs across the campus or within the community that aid with increased well-being and decrease the stigma related to mental health. Email Dr. Kelly Holder for details at

Office Location Expand answer

The Office for Professional Mental Health is located within the College of Medicine.

Offices for all providers – Dr. Martha Levine, Dr. Kelly Holder and Justin Jacques – are in the Office for Professional Mental Health suite, C1746 in the Humanities hallway.

Contact Us Expand answer

General Contact Information

Office location: Suite C1746, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa.

Office email:

Office phone: 717-531-8658

Team Contacts

Kelly Holder, PhD

Justin Jacques, EdS, LPC, ACS

Martha Peaslee-Levine, MD

Trudi Middleton-Flynn
Office Manager