Mental Health
on Campus

Does your campus require assistance meeting the requirements of the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act, CARES or other grants? 

Are you worried about cost? 

We can help!

Transformative Growth Counseling specializes in implementing and maintaining programs that will ensure your campus is in compliance with the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act. 

Our expert team of licensed staff and supervisors manage all or a portion of the following programs that the Act requires for compliance: 

  • Mental Health First Aid training for staff. 
  • Individual & group and crisis counseling for students.
  • Monthly campus-wide Mental Health Awareness education.
  • Establishment of partnerships with local resources to assist students.
  • Recommend and/or design an evidence-based, reliable online screening tool on the school’s website.
  • Online evidence-based mental health screening tools for use on the institution’s website. 
    • We can create a customized screening tool based on the needs of your students.
  • Psychiatry services (separate from sliding scale)
  • Peer-to-peer Support Program** – Scroll down for a lot more info on this requirement. 
  • Collection, maintenance, and completion of all reporting requirements needed for the Act, and grant funding you may be using. We coordinate HIPPA-compliant data collection efforts to help you sustain and obtain more grant funding. 
  • And more!

 In addition to services that satisfy the requirements of the Act, we create and implement customized programs to ensure the highest quality of service provision for students.

Money and budget constraints are biggest challenges and fear school leaders report having when it comes to bringing mental health access, on campus. The good news is, as a non-profit we offer sliding scale and free sessions to clients, while keeping any auxiliary school cost much lower than a hospital system or for profit practice.

Historically, the average cost of a sliding scale therapy session at school/college sites we currently operate in is $15; whereas for-profit entities and hospital systems are likely to charge the market rate of $175 per session.  

Transformative Growth Counseling is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission of providing mental health services to underserved populations, including college students and members of the LGBTQIA+, Veteran & Active Duty Military, and BIPOC communities.TGC has been conducting peer-to-peer programming, organizational consultation, access to mental health care, and campus-wide mental health education, in person and online, since 2017. 

Some of our successful collaborations for consultations, mental health treatment, mental health education and resources, and peer-to-peer programming include, but are not limited to, the following academic institutions and agencies. 

  • Kankakee Community College
  • Illinois Valley Community College
  • DePaul University
  • Clay County Schools
  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • TRIO
  • Somaly Maam Foundation – Cambodia
  • IPSD 203
  • Movemeber Foundation
  • Prevention Institute
  • Dupage County Health Department
  • Family Focus
  • Illinois Department of Justice
  • CASA
  • CHIP
  • World Relief
  • Far South Chicago Coalition
  • The Field Museum (Not MH related)
  • The Flagg-Rochelle Museum (Not MH related)


TGC was established in 2017 with the mission of providing community mental health services and programming in alignment with the principles of Community Psychology. The services provided by Community Psychologists complement mental health services provided by Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Social Workers, and Mental Health/Practical Counselors. 

Founder & CEO, Dr. Jessica Swenson is a Community Psychologist and licensed clinical psychotherapist and believes in bringing the best of both worlds to help campus communities with their mental health programming needs. Her past experience in conducting original research started in travel abroad campuses, consulting with Depaul and the University of Illinois in developing new scales to measure the impact of travel abroad on both the student group and individual traveler for their TRIO programs aimed at first-generation college, low income and BIPOC students. Those scales are still in use today. 

By utilizing evidence-based clinical psychology practice for student mental health care needs, and community psychology practice for peer-to-peer and community building programs, the result is a solid foundation that will help support students’ mental health care needs, provide them peer-to-peer community resources, and see them through successful graduation – all while meeting the requirements of the Act. 

Transformative Growth is led by a team of psychologists, social workers, and researchers, giving us the knowledge and ability to help you implement mental health education and access to treatment on your campus at a reasonable cost to the institution and the student population accessing the services. In most cases, we can go from creation to implementation in as quickly as 90 days. 

If you are interested in consulting to discuss how we might be able to help your school, please feel free contact Dr. Jessica directly at: 



***** More about Peer to Peer (& the Early Action on Campus Act)*****

Peer to peer to peer programs  (P2P) are not just random people talking about random things. 

True, effective Peer programs are evidence based and designed to meet the needs of the demographics at your school. Effective evidence based programs help schools retain more students through graduation, helps create civically involved and social justice minded students while building a community worth participating in.  Transformative Growth’s Community Programming staff, specialize in creating real, evidence based peer to peer programming. 

We’ve recently seen several clinical therapy (only) based practices  promising to help colleges with Peer to Peer programming. Those programs have caused some issues for schools already, as it is discovered the programs are not evidence based, have never been piloted and are not designed with collected data from each school; no data is collected, no original, population/school specific P2P program is written. 

They are simply selling random groups that talk about random things, at the same time each week, under the title of “peer to peer”. 

Typically speaking, Clinical Psychology & the Clinical Counseling field conducts its research for the purpose of understanding mental health diagnosis and treatment outcomes, better. They publish to talk to other providers and researchers. That is not a negative judgment; that is to say, the purpose is to educate other providers, not to build a mentally strong, supportive community. It is on individual or family mental health; not the improvement of mental health for an entire (often large) community.  The root practice is simply different. 

Whereas the purpose of any community psychology research or work is to always better the community’s overall health, happiness and safety. In fact, community psychologists are  shown how to make these programs work with less funding or no funding at all because, ultimately, the research and work stay behind with the community.

Think about AA or Snowball. That is peer-to-peer programming that no expert therapist is needed to hold or help. Just caring community members who step up and volunteer. What does it cost to run AA?  A few photocopies of the booklet and maybe some donuts and coffee? It is not millions of dollars a year to staff and oversees people who need alcohol recovery.  A true peer to peer program requires no professional or provider to guide it, no maintenance to keep it up, and doesn’t cost to participate. 

  1. The research that a Community Psychologist does, should result in something that the community (the school) has decided is needed, that they own and have complete autonomy over – just like AA, or ANY peer-to-peer programming. No school population or need is the same; thus, no program we create for you will be the exact same as another school.


          2. Peer-to-peer counseling can be just as effective as clinical therapy. We’ve known this since the 1960s when JFK got rid of the mass practice of institutionalizing people in “insane asylums” and instead funded community group homes where they live within a community of peers. Peer-to-peer houses are a good example of this – Oxford house.

In fact, in most cases, peers are is preferred**.  When someone from our own community helps us, we feel safer,  more connected, and able to be human and understood.  Peer-to-peer programming can support the mental health needs of most people (**leaving crisis and severe cases to clinical experts). 

We realize peer-to-peer programs can’t take over helping college communities deal with things like behavioral interventions, suicidality, active shooters, addiction, serious mental illness, medication needs, and sexual violence –  there is very much need for clinical psychology practice and research. Some things are out of range for a peer, and sometimes, organizations start with peer plans and decide the liability risk is too high, and we continue to manage both clinical and peer programs. 

All this to say – it’s your community. Your school. You’re the expert. We’re here to do the work you ask for. However, that turns out. 

  1. Research also shows us that these programs also lead to more civically engaged citizens.  Persons who get help from community members – are much more likely to volunteer in return, vote, watch the news, and be involved in their community. Peer to peer on campus should result in those same students becoming more involved and engaged within the community. 
  2. Community Psychologists are experts in helping you create a community that students want to show up and engage in!  

Since 2017, what we have found in our collaborations with many organizations and institutions is that one solution does not fit all. Clinical psychology alone can not and will not build a community of peers; it will not motivate masses of students to become civically engaged, and its purpose is not rooted in community improvement.

At the same time, Community Psychology can not and will not solve or treat mental illnesses that need medical expertise; it doesn’t seek to understand the individual needs in therapy or in a crisis situation,  but instead seeks community improvement as a whole.  Our experts believe that by combining both fields of psychology, we can offer you  customized,  evidence based mental health access, education and P2P programming. 

If you’ve already invested in outside P2P, and want a consultation to review, repair or revamp it, or if you would like to only purchase P2P (or any other) as an auxiliary service, we can help! All services are offered “a la carte”. 

If you are interested in consulting to discuss how we might be able to help your school, please feel free contact Dr. Jessica directly at: