Counseling Services for Students at UCSF: The “C” In SHCS


Counseling is a well-utilized resource on campus that can help students find support and develop tools for leading productive, well-balanced and fulfilling lives. SHCS counselors are experts in the unique needs of graduate and professional students. In fact, nearly one in six UCSF students sought counseling at SHCS in 2011-12.

A confidential space for support, free of cost

All students are eligible for up to 10 free sessions of counseling per academic year, regardless of whether they have waived the UC Student Health Insurance Plan. SHCS counselors understand that UCSF students have busy and dynamic schedules, and we offer flexible scheduling, including evening hours. Our psychiatrist also provides medication consultation/evaluation and medication management as appropriate.

There is no wrong reason to seek counseling

In 2011-12, the top four reasons students presented for counseling were (in order):  anxiety, academic concerns, stress and depression/sadness.

Sometimes students just need a safe, confidential space to work through a short-term problem.  Others may be going through something more severe.  Scheduling an initial consultation with an SHCS counselor is a great way to pinpoint the issue, obtain some non-judgmental feedback and develop a plan for action.

Sometimes an SHCS counselor will determine that a student would be best served by seeking long- term counseling in the community with a provider who can see him or her for more than 10 sessions.  In this case, SHCS counselors and support staff can help facilitate referral to providers in the community.

Addressing stigma

SHCS believes that seeking support from others and using one’s resources are signs of strength and important tools for success. SHCS understands that for some students, the idea of counseling evokes fears of being perceived as unstable, seriously impaired or weak.

For others, there may be strong cultural or familial beliefs against talking about one’s problems outside the family. SHCS counselors are sensitive to these concerns, and work with students to address them to establish a comfortable experience. We place the highest priority on privacy and confidentiality.

Wellness programs and outreach: Bringing SHCS counselors to you

SHCS offers free workshops, lectures, small-group series and education to improve mental, emotional and physical wellness. For details, please check our fall calendar at our website

To schedule a counseling appointment, students can call the SHCS main line, at (415) 476-1281, or talk to their SHCS medical provider. If you are a student, and SHCS is closed, and you need urgent support, you can speak with a mental health provider 24/7 over the phone via our Mental Health Crisis Line, (415) 476-1281, and press option 7. If you are experiencing a life-threatening crisis, go to the nearest Emergency Room or call 911.