Students receive comprehensive outpatient care for a variety of concerns, including anxiety, depression, stress, crisis management, transitional issues, grief, and eating, sexual, or relationship concerns. Based on a students' needs, clinicians offer:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Medication evaluation and management
- Evaluation for full or partial hospitalizations
Feeling better does not mean that counseling will end abruptly. You and your counselor can discuss options for increasing time between sessions, preparing to end counseling, adding a group or workshop, or finding alternative supports. Ultimately the goal of counseling is to help you function better and to see changes that are sustained outside the therapy office. Your health information is private and will only be shared with others if you give permission.
Harvard students (that paid the Student Health Fee) can receive care at Harvard University Health Services.
Students who are new patients in the CAMHS department can request a 20 minute phone consultation by calling (617) 495-2042 or by logging in to the Patient Portal. This phone consultation is scheduled as soon as possible, and no later than 48 hours after your request. At the scheduled appointment time, the Access Coordinator will call you for the 20 minute phone consultation to discuss your needs, and find the right service and support for you.
Please complete the Patient Information Form before your first in-person counseling session.
Students do not need a referral to make an appointment.
Urgent care is available 24 hours a day, including nights, weekends, and holidays for concerns or symptoms that cannot wait until regular business hours.
We also reserve appointments for students each weekday to accommodate urgent concerns that arise during regular business hours–please call ahead at (617) 495-2042.
Peer support groups
SMHL (Student Mental Health Liaisons)
SMHLs are student leaders who work collaboratively with the Wellness Proctors/Tutors, and other student groups to promote a supportive student community at Harvard.
CARE (Consent Advocates & Relationship Educators)
Care members serve as liaisons between OSAPR and the Harvard student community.
DAPAs (Drug & Alcohol Peer Advisors)
DAPA is a group of student advisors that serve both as health opinion leaders and resources to their peers.
HealthPALs (Health Peer Advisors and Liaisons)
HealthPALs are a team of student health care liaisons between Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) and the campus community.
CONTACT provides non-judgmental, non-directive, confidential peer counseling for Harvard undergraduates.
ECHO (Eating Concerns Hotline and Outreach)
ECHO staffers are trained undergraduates who provide non-judgmental and non-directive support to both those dealing with their own issues and those who are concerned about a friend, roommate, significant other, or family member.
RESPONSE is a group of undergraduates professionally trained to provide peer counseling on issues of rape, abuse, intimate violence, psychological and physical harassment, and relationships.
Room 13 offers a supportive, sympathetic ear and maintains strict confidentiality.
SHARC (Sexual Health and Relationship Counselors)
SHARC is a group of undergraduate students who counsel on issues related to sexual health, contraception, STIs and testing, relationships, dating, and other topics related to sexual health.
Workshops & Resources
Participation in one of our many groups or workshops provides a safe and supportive place to discuss your concerns and learn coping skills with others who may have similar challenges.
Workshops are voluntary and available for you to join.
Group counseling requires a referral from your CAMHS clinician and gives you the opportunity to meet other students and share problems, concerns, issues, and goals. Groups are facilitated by a therapist, have six to eight members, require a pre-group screening with one of the leaders, and vary in frequency. Group counseling can help you change and reach personal goals, and can also alleviate feelings of alienation and loneliness.
Additonal Student Resources
- Coming out – Support for BGLTQ students
- Six steps to managing a stressful situation
- “It gets better” video
- Transition Year
- Go Ask Alice
- The Mindfulness Solution
- 10 tips for living with roommates
Meet the CAMHS Therapy Dogs
Sprout, 7-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Sprout recently completed the Dog B.O.N.E.S. therapy dog certification program. She is well trained, affectionate, obedient, and enjoys being around people.
Research has shown the positive impact that animals can have on mental health and we are excited to have Sprout as part of the CAMHS team. Please contact Sprout's owner, Jenna Stark, LICSW, for more information.
Tulip, 6-year-old Whippet
Tulip is a certified therapy animal though the National Service Animal Registry. Born as the runt of the litter, Tulip has outgrown this identity at the disbelief of her breeders. She is a resilient one, and has truly come into her own as the leader of her pack. Her demeanor is gentle, playful and intuitive making her the perfect companion and co-therapist. She responds to affirmative sibilant commands and other English vernacular. She will reciprocate upon hearing, “I love you.” On a typical day she can be found playing at the park, sun bathing, or snuggling under a blanket. Her favorite food is peanut butter and she enjoys making new friends. Please contact Tulip's handler, Julie Aresco, LICSW, for more information.
Thomas, 4-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever
Tom and his mom, Dr. Jenna Schmid, are a certified animal therapy team through the Pet Partners Program. Tom has been described as a "gentle soul" and has a loving, sweet demeanor. He was born with some health issues, leading him to be bottle fed as a newborn pup. At age 2, he underwent a major surgery to improve his health, and has been thriving ever since.
We think these difficult experiences shape Tom into the patient and people-oriented dog he is today. Tom's favorite things to do are to play fetch, eat, receive belly rubs, and sit on people's feet. Please contact Tom's owner, Jenna Schmid, PsyD, for more information.
9 TIPS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR COUNSELING SESSIONS
Maximize your progress by being an active participant as you work with your counselor.
- Clarify your goals — write down your thoughts, be specific, and prioritize your concerns
- Complete the brief assessment tool
- Be descriptive about your concerns— this gives your counselor insight
- Arrive on time and try not to miss your scheduled appointments — this maximizes the time you have with your counselor
- Be open and honest, ask questions, and seek clarification
- Let your counselor know if you are feeling worse
- Be honest about safety concerns — your safety is our priority
- Make time to think about the things you have discussed with your counselor in between sessions
- Follow through on homework assignments from your counselor — practice strategies and skills discussed in your session, and keep a journal
Frequently Asked Questions
Our clinicians can help you manage with a variety of concerns including: stress, anxiety, depression, mood swings, cultural adjustment, difficulties with focus and concentration, eating concerns, traumatic experience, loneliness and isolation, grief, sexuality, relationship problems, managing a chronic health condition, addictive behaviors, academic and career planning concerns. Call us even if you are not sure if we can help – we will connect you with the right support.
Many people seek counseling for personal growth and/or because they need help managing the challenges in life. Some students worry that seeking help means they are "crazy," “weak,” or “incompetent.” Seeking help from a licensed professional is a way to work through a difficult time. Counseling is available because we know that many students go through difficult times while they are here.
Call (617) 495-2042 or log into the Patient Portal to schedule an initial telephone consultation with one of our Access Coordinators---licensed clinicians who will help you access the right services.
Phone consultations are scheduled within 48 hours after your first contact with our office.
The Access Coordinator will ask a few questions:
- Why are you seeking care now?
- Have you noticed a change in your mood, feelings of worry and anxiety, self esteem, sleeping, eating, use of alcohol and other substances, thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself in any way, thoughts of wanting to hurt others, or any medical concerns?
- Can you describe any previous counseling experiences?
- What support system do you have here at Harvard?
- Can you describe your current coping and self-care routine?
The answers to these questions gives the clinician a clear understanding of what your concerns are in order to make the best recommendations for you.
Recommendations may include:
- An immediate appointment because of the urgency of your concerns
- An intake appointment with one of our therapists, psychiatrists, or nurse practitioners
- Recommending one of our groups or workshops
- Referring you to the Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC)
- Facilitating access to services from a clinician in the local community
Intake appointments with CAMHS clinicians are made as soon as possible based on your presenting concerns, your scheduling availability, and the availability of the clinician that is recommended for you.
All of our clinicians are trained and experienced at addressing student mental health concerns.
Students are frequently referred to experienced psychologists, social workers, or psychiatrists in the local community. The referral is made in response to your specific needs and schedule.
We will provide you with the names and contact information of three or four clinicians, whom you will contact directly to schedule an appointment.
To find out about health insurance coverage for mental health services, please contact HUSHP Member Services at (617) 495-2008 or email@example.com.
The number and frequency of sessions depends on your particular situation, in the context of our short-term model of care. Some students feel benefits after one to six sessions, others need more time.
Recognizing that some students may need longer term treatment for chronic mental health concerns, our clinicians will work with you to develop a treatment plan that identifies interventions, goals, and timeframes that address your presenting concern. Recommendations may include individual counseling, group therapy or a workshop, psychopharmacology, or referral to a community-based clinician.
The frequency of sessions is determined by your particular situation. Periodic weekly counseling may be scheduled depending on your treatment needs and goals; typically students are seen on a bi-weekly or even monthly basis until treatment goals have been met. Additional services like group counseling will enhance and compliment your care at CAMHS. We also encourage all students to follow up with the “therapy homework” generated in your counseling sessions. Therapy homework may include, keeping a journal, daily practice of relaxation skills, or tracking your self-care routines.
The Student Health Fee covers counseling and mental health services provided at HUHS in full for students. There are no deductibles or copays for appointments.
Please call (617) 495-2042 to cancel your appointment. You will incur a $25 fee if you do not show up or cancel your appointment within 24 hours. Canceling your appointment in a timely manner also allows us to offer an appointment to another student who needs services.
Your clinician will contact you via secure email or phone if you cancel an appointment or do not show up for the appointment. This is one of the ways we can follow up with you to check on your well-being and ask if you are interested in continued care.
We do not provide counseling over the phone or via Skype. We encourage you to contact your counselor to set up an appointment if you are having difficulty between scheduled sessions. Urgent care for emergencies is available 24 hours a day by calling (617) 495-5711.
Urgent Care is available 24 hours a day, every day for mental health and safety concerns.
Follow up care may include scheduling an intake to begin counseling, making an appointment to assess for medication, or transfer to a hospital. Therapy is not provided in the urgent care setting.
If you are unsure if you should come into Urgent Care, call (617) 495-5711 and request to speak with a mental health provider.
Your mental health records are covered by special confidentiality laws including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Your mental health records are not a part of your academic record. Our clinicians have access to your record, but only as necessary. We cannot share information about your mental health to anyone outside of CAMHS, including your family members, parents, friends, academic advisors, deans, or employers without your permission.
There are exceptions to confidentiality-- involving imminent safety concerns. We will always try to speak with you first and get your permission to share any information.
If you need to share information to another person, you need to fill out the Release of Information form.
A job application asks if I've ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Do I have to answer “yes” to this question?
Not necessarily. Many people are seen for issues other than “psychiatric disorders.” For example, therapy related to coping with normal life stressors such as breakups, relationship issues, academic stress, or loss of a loved one would not typically be viewed as therapy for a “psychiatric disorder.”
I’m applying for a job that requires a security clearance. Will my mental health record impact my ability to obtain security clearance?
Typically, the agency that is requesting the security clearance contacts the mental health and counseling service after notifying you (we need your permission to release information, and usually the agency has already asked you to sign a release). All security clearance questions are reviewed by the Chief of Counseling and Mental Health Services.
Mental health hospitalizations occur only after careful assessment by your clinician. We are committed to helping you stay engaged in their academic programs, but sometimes mental health concerns warrant a higher level of care than can be provided at CAMHS. Most hospitalizations are voluntary, meaning that the student agreed that he/she would benefit from intensive treatment.
Confidentiality is maintained throughout the hospitalization process, including intake, treatment, and discharge. The reason for hospitalization cannot be disclosed without your consent. Students who reside in University accommodations should expect that their Dean will be informed that they have been transported to a hospital, but further details are only released with the your permission.