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Our Commitment to Expanding Student Mental Health Resources

Recent studies assessing the well-being of college students have highlighted the increasing need for mental health services at universities across the country, UC San Diego included. As a result, campus leaders have been working diligently to better understand unmet student mental health needs, and how better to address them.

Under Chancellor Pradeep Khosla's direction, Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Simmons, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Alysson Satterlund, and UC San Diego Health CEO Patty Maysent have unified their teams to develop new programs to offer students greater access to mental health services. While this effort continues, it is important that students are aware of services available to them.

Below, please find a summary of existing and new resources, and how they may help students navigate the college experience. For more information, including frequently asked questions, please visit Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) online.

Existing Mental Health Services for Students

UC San Diego provides a holistic continuum of care, including acute psychiatric treatment and specialized interventions if needed. These programs are invaluable to support the mental health and academic success of students who may need the highest level of outpatient psychiatric comprehensive care.

The cornerstone is Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Launched in the late-1960s and accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, these integrated, student-focused services support academic success and personal development and well-being.

CAPS has nearly a dozen locations and embedded staff across campus, encompassing all of the undergraduate colleges, plus Galbraith Hall Central Office, Student Health Services, the International Programs and Students Office, OASIS and the Women's Center.

All requests begin with a phone consultation (858-534-3755) during which a variety of services can be accessed, including single drop-in appointments, urgent appointments, recurring sessions, group classes, chronic and specialized care (e.g. disordered eating, addiction services, etc.) and online resources.

Urgent appointments are made same day for a range of circumstances, including suicidal thoughts, trauma, grief, panic attacks—anything that is disruptive enough to get in the way of daily life and productivity, such as attending class or completing assignments. Emergency services are always available to support the mental health and academic success of students who need the highest level of comprehensive outpatient psychiatric care.

Recognizing that mental health concerns don't always happen during regular office hours, online appointments are available through LiveHealth Online. This tele-mental health service provides secure, online video visits with board-certified, licensed mental health professionals. The service is covered by UC SHIP, and no referral is needed.

Through the iFlourish initiative, all students also have access to free online, interactive resources. Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) facilitates students' self-care for anonymous help with anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns through interactive tools and exercises.

Every UC San Diego student also has access to daily drop-in groups, with no appointment required. Led by a CAPS mental health expert, topics include building confidence, managing stress, mindfulness training, biofeedback and self-regulation.

New Mental Health Services for Students

This month, CAPS will pilot a new video appointment program with CAPS providers using a secure online platform enabled by Epic—our electronic health record system. Taking the place of an in-person visit, this format is ideal for those who commute or who prefer to speak to a CAPS counselor from the comfort of their own space.

If needed, the College Mental Health Program is offered through UC San Diego Health and includes subspecialty services in addiction, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and many other mental health-related issues. UC San Diego Health employs some of the most highly regarded mental health physicians in the country.

Let's Talk, an informal, drop-in conversation, is held each week at a different location on campus. Similar to faculty office hours, these sessions introduce students to what it is like to speak with a psychologist. You will learn about additional resources and may be referred to a formal appointment.

CAPS is expanding. It is actively recruiting to fill three newly funded psychologist vacancies, with a focus on increasing diversity and LGBTQ services. Additionally, CAPS will offer extended hours beginning in February, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday - Friday, to allow for late-afternoon appointments.

It is important to us that our students know they are not alone in any trouble they may face during their time at UC San Diego, and should never be afraid to ask for help.

UC San Diego is committed to promoting the mental health and well-being of everyone on campus and to creating a community where all of us flourish.