University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill students who are referred to local healthcare providers to meet mental health needs can now access free rides through UNC’s Well Ride program. The staff-run initiative, first piloted through student government, schedules rideshare transportation for students without vehicles to get to their off-campus appointments. It’s a way to make sure transportation isn’t a barrier to accessing mental health care.

UNC’s Counseling and Psychology Services (CAPS) refers about 30% of students who engage with the office to open-ended treatment located off-campus. A campus referral coordinator meets with approximately 18 students each week to help them target local providers, figure how to determine a good therapist fit, work through cost and insurance issues, and more.

To access the free rideshare program, students must connect with a CAPS staff member, receive approval and show they have a scheduled therapist visit. The staff then uses Lyft’s business portal to schedule a ride, with pickup from general public spaces for safety reasons. Students then select the pickup and return times that work best.

The UNC Parents Council funds the program through a $25,000 grant. Read more about it here.