Student Mental Health and Counseling

Services for students at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA

The Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling (OSMHC) is designed to meet the needs of Penn State College of Medicine students 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.

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Learn More About Student Mental Health and Counseling

Urgent Situations Expand answer

Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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. We will then make every effort to respond promptly.

Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., please contact Dr. 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 Student Mental Health and Counseling. Reports from calls made to this crisis line are received by our 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.

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 Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling.

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. Justin also has an undergraduate degree in Health Promotions from the University of Northern Iowa. Currently, Justin is a Ph.D. student in Counselor Education and Supervision at Oregon State University. Justin’s research interests include: veteran populations, health and wellness, addiction, emerging adults, and university athlete’s identity development.

Justin Jacques comes to us from the 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, Justin was employed as the Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness at the University of North Texas at Dallas. Justin has over 18 years of mental health treatment experience working with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Justin 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 of Student Mental Heath and Counseling.

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

If you’d like a list of other counselors in the area for referral, please email

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 OSMHC. When referrals are made to mental health providers outside of the Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling, these service are normally covered under the provision of the student’s health insurance policy.

Additional Services Expand answer

Mental health providers covered by Aetna Student Health Insurance not affiliated with Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center can be found here.

Penn State University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) hosts a Community Provider Database. Access this web-based Community Provider Database to find treatment providers and set up services in the community. This database is growing, and providers are being updated and added regularly.

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 Dr. Kelly Holder ( if you would to make an appointment in the Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling to discuss your results.

What to Expect Expand answer

All Penn State College of Medicine students are eligible for services within the OSMHC 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 OSMHC strive to uphold strict confidentiality. As such, all information shared during counseling is confidential. No one outside of the OSMHC 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

Our 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling’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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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 located at University Park.

The Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling staff
  • Student who engage in inappropriate, harassing, menacing, threatening or violent behaviors toward Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling. If a student’s need does not fall within the role and scope of the Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling, 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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. 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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 of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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. Please contact Dr. Kelly Holder for details at

Resources for Faculty Expand answer

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 Student Mental Health and Counseling at Penn State College of Medicine.

The folder is a quick-reference guide to help faculty and staff recognize, respond to and refer distressed students.

See the Red Folder here

Office Location Expand answer

The Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling is located within the College of Medicine.

    • Dr. Martha Levine’s office is in the Department of Humanities, Room C1743M.
    • Dr. Kelly Holder’s office is in the suite next to Au Bon Pain, and directly across from the Humanities Department, Room C1747K.
    • Counselor Justin Jacques is temporarily located in Suite C1747F in the Humanities hallway, behind Au Bon Pain and around the corner from Dr. Holder’s office.
Contact Us Expand answer

Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling
Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA


Phone: 717-531-8658 (Dr. Kelly Holder)
717-531-0003, ext. 320245 (Justin Jacques)
717-531-8778 (Dr. Martha Levine)