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Counseling & Psychiatry Services


Fall 2021:

  • CAPS IS FULLY OPERATIONAL and will remain available for business with added flexibilities of hours. CAPS will be providing a hybrid model (both in-person and video/phone) for counseling and psychiatry visits. The availability of in-person visits will be based on the Location opening timelines and restrictions. Check MyStudentChart as needed to communicate with your mental health provider.
  • APPOINTMENTS FOR STUDENTS NEW TO CAPS: Please call 858-534-3755 to schedule a Brief Tele Assessment (BTA) to start working together. You an also request a callback to schedule a first-time appointment online by going to MyStudentChart.
  • APPOINTMENTS FOR STUDENTS CURRENTLY CAPS CLIENTS: All scheduled and new sessions will be moved to video or phone counseling. Reach out to your own provider to assist with any urgent need via MyStudentChart.
  • URGENT VISITS: CAPS Central Office at Galbraith Hall 190 will remain available for urgent care visits during regular hours- M-F from 8:00AM to 4:00PM.  Please call CAPS Central before arrival:  858-534-3755.  After Business Hours. please call the same number and select option 2.
  • REFERRALS: CAPS Referral services will assist connecting our students to local providers in their area of residency.
  • If you have an active prescription with us: Please keep your next follow up appointment though you should contact your psychiatrist via MyStudentChart or by phone at 858-534-3755 to convert your meeting to a televisit. Let your psychiatrist know if you need a refill -- you may not need to have a visit in order to have a refill authorized. If you are leaving the area, please contact your Psychiatrist to talk through the situation. For all other inquires about medication, please call 858-534-3755 so we direct your concern to the right person.
  • If you are leaving the area: Contact your psychiatrist and next steps can be discussed at that time. You do not need to see your psychiatrist before leaving campus to have your prescriptions refilled. If you are leaving the country, please contact your Psychiatrist via MyStudentChart to talk through the situation.  For all other inquires about medication, please call 858-534-3755 to assist you.
  • If you are residing Internationally or outside California, you can utilize MySSP for counseling services and consultations. Visit the MySSP section on our webpage.

Counseling Services

Counseling Services

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides individual, group, couples, and family psychotherapy to registered undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Services are confidential and FREE of charge to currently enrolled students who have paid their registration fees. During the summer, students who were enrolled the previous Spring quarter and are intending to return in the Fall quarter are eligible for services.
  • To schedule an initial brief telephone assessment (BTA), please call (858) 534-3755. You will be scheduled for a 10 minute phone consult by a mental health counselor who will assist you in finding the best services for you. You may be scheduled for an initial evaluation by a CAPS Psychologist, referred to another campus resource or referred to a specialty counselor using your health insurance. For more information about these phone consultations (BTA), please visit our Appointments page.
  • Consistent with our community psychology model of service delivery, CAPS offices are located at multiple locations across campus. Our Central Office, which also includes our Urgent Walk-In services, is located at Galbraith Hall 190. Our other offices are located at each of the seven undergraduate colleges, graduate housing,Student Health Center, OASIS, ISPO, and the Campus Community Centers. For more information and maps for our locations, please visit our Locations page.
  • The CAPS clinical staff are generalists and see students for all concerns. For information of each of our clinical staff, please visit our Staff page.
  • CAPS also provides Psychiatric Services. For more detailed information on these services, please click on the Psychiatric Services section below.
  • CAPS abides by ethical and legal standards set forth by the American Psychological Association and the California Board of Psychology.
  • Students may request copies of our Information and Consent Form, Notice of Privacy Practices, and Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex (from the California Board of Psychology) from CAPS. They can also be downloaded from our Download Center page.


Eligibility & Cost

  • Services are FREE of charge to currently enrolled students who have paid their registration fees. During the summer, students who were enrolled the previous Spring quarter and are intending to return in the Fall quarter are eligible for services.
  • There is, however, a $20.00 late cancellation/no show fee for students who do not appear for their appointment or cancel within the 24 hours preceding the appointment.
  • If you attend your counseling appointment or cancel more than a day in advance there are no charges. See the Appointment page for more details on our no show/late cancellation policy.



Psychiatry Services

Psychiatric Services at CAPS

  • CAPS psychiatrists are specialists in providing college mental health services to the UCSD campus of over 35,000 students. The equivalent of 2 full-time psychiatric physicians serve as consultants to providers at both CAPS and Student Health Services (SHS).
  • All of the services provided meet the guidelines of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), Medical Board of California, International Association of Counseling Services (IACS) and American Association for Ambulatory Health Care Inc. (AAAHC).
  • Given the ratio of one psychiatrist for every 18,000 students, our primary goal is to help stabilize urgent and emergent psychiatric conditions in the student population with an emphasis on preventing further deterioration and when possible, avoiding hospitalization.
  • When time permits, psychiatrists also provide specialty mental-health consultation, education and collaboration regarding students to Student Affairs staff, including Residential and Academic Deans.
  • To review our psychiatric team, please visit our Staff page.


Psychiatric Services Provided

  • Available services include initial comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, risk assessment, psychopharmacologic assessment, interim medication management, and psychiatric consult-liaison services.
  • After initial consultation, most students are referred to community-based providers, using the student’s health insurance.
  • CAPS psychiatrists do not initiate nor continue prescriptions for psycho-stimulant medications.


Integrative & Collaborative Care

CAPS psychiatrists work in tandem with the psychologists at CAPS and primary care providers at Student Health Services (SHS) to:

    • Support UCSD students’ academic success and personal development
    • Remove barriers to ongoing mental health treatment
    • Refer students to qualified, specialty mental health care in the San Diego community for optimal continuity of care
    • Mentor residents, psychiatry fellows and psychology post-doctoral fellows involved in mental health care delivery, based on empirical evidence and best practices
    • Advocate for mental health for the students, faculty and staff within our campus community


Eligibility for Psychiatric Services

  • Psychiatrists may provide individual services to individuals who are undergraduate, graduate and professional school students at UCSD, who have paid their current student services fees.
  • In addition, students must be in treatment with a Primary Care Provider (PCP) located at SHS or CAPS [PCP includes: psychologist, post-doctoral psychology fellow, primary care physician, nurse practitioner, social worker].
  • Referral to a CAPS psychiatrist can only occur after evaluation by a PCP as listed above.
  • Referral to a psychiatrist located at SHS can occur only after evaluation by a SHS PCP.
  • Non-urgent or longer term treatment beyond CAPS short term treatment guidelines, will utilize off-campus psychiatric providers funded by the student’s required comprehensive health care insurance.


Responsible Use of Psychiatric Services 

  • Given the ratio of one psychiatrist for approximately 18,000 students, we ask students and families to utilize these services responsibly, for the well-being of individual students and the community at large.
  • For instance, students who transition to UCSD and require ongoing psychiatric medication management need to plan ahead.
  • Please discuss options with your current, treating psychiatrist and devise a plan that insures you do not run out of your medication and thereby risk relapse.
  • Also, please anticipate at least a one month wait before you obtain an appointment with a San Diego community-based psychiatrist using your insurance plan.

Video Visits

Video Visits

For all existing or new CAPS clients, UCSD CAPS is providing online/tele health options. View the video for more information.



Below are some important reminders about tele-visits at CAPS:

  • Before your scheduled tele-visit please test your equipment using the test feature in MyChart.
  • If your tele-visit is your first contact with a CAPS provider (e.g. an Initial Evaluation), identity verification will be required. Such verification can be met by holding up an identification card to the video feed. Please have your ID handy on the day of your appointment.
  • Please dress in similar attire to an in-person treatment.
  • We recommend that you utilize a private location without others present to maintain environmental and technical privacy. Failure to do so can result in loss of privacy.
  • The provider or patient may suspend the tele-visit for privacy, technical, or clinical reasons. 


Existing clients

  • To switch your follow up session to a video or phone based visit with your provider, please contact your provider directly through MyStudentChart or call your provider and leave a message with your name, Student ID and phone number asking them to change the appointment to a video or phone visit.
New clients
  • First visits, called Brief Telephone Assessments (BTA), are always conducted through the telephone.  These will not change.   Please call our main office at (858) 534-3755 to schedule your first BTA.  If you have an BTA scheduled, it will remain a telephone visit. In the near future, we will be offering video BTA. 
    • First Initial Evaluation:
      • If you have been scheduled for an initial evaluation with a provider, you can choose to switch your session to a phone or video visit. Please contact your provider directly through MyStudentChart or call our CAPS main office at 858.534.3755.  If there is no answer, leave a message with your name, Student ID and phone number asking them to change your appointment to a video or phone visit.
    • LiveHealth Online is a tele mental health service that allows you to have secure, online video visits with board-certified, licensed mental health professionals about your mental health needs and receive prescriptions. This service is free for SHIP insured students.  For more information go to our Live Health Online page.





  • In keeping with ethical standards of the mental health profession and the law, all services provided by the staff of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are kept CONFIDENTIAL.
  • We do, however, consult as needed within the staff of CAPS (and Student Health Service if they are collaborating in your care) about the best way to provide the assistance based on client need. No information is released to outside parties without the client's prior, written consent. Neither the fact that you seek counseling nor any information about the counseling sessions will appear in your student academic record unless you direct us to communicate with other staff and faculty at the university.
  • Psychologists have a legal responsibility to disclose client information without prior consent in certain cases to protect clients and others.
  • These include cases where a client has communicated to the psychologist a serious threat of physical violence to other individuals, or where a psychologist has reasonable cause to believe that the client is dangerous to her- or himself or may be gravely disabled and unable to care for him or herself.
  • Additionally, psychologists are obligated to report any cases of child abuse or elder abuse. Fortunately these situations are infrequent. Please consult with your psychologist if you have any questions about confidentiality.


Your Privacy and HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that is designed to protect the privacy of patient information, provide for the electronic and physical security of health and patient medical information, and simplify billing and other electronic transactions by standardizing codes and procedures. A piece of this law recently took effect and is known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The HIPAA Privacy Rule creates a minimum federal standard for the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) by health care organizations. One of the requirements of the Privacy Rule is that we give to you a Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) which describes your rights and protections regarding your health care records (PHI). This document is included as part of the Intake Forms Packet that you will need to download prior to your initial appointment.

As always, we remain committed to maintaining your confidentiality and the privacy of psychological and medical records and will continue to adhere to psychologist's ethical guidelines, as well as, state and federal law. 


Documentation Policy

CAPS Documentation of Services

 The mission of UC San Diego Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is to provide counseling and mental health services to all enrolled university students. We assist students with life challenges and mental health problems. We encourage students to come to CAPS for counseling and when they are having personal crisis.

However, many of our initial appointments are being increasingly taken up by student whose sole interest is in acquiring a written document to support an adjustment to an academic obligation, administrative appeal or exception from a university regulation. The demand for these documents has reduced the availability of appointment for students who are seeking counseling services.

Therefore, CAPS will not provide requested documentation of a personal difficulty at the initial contact or appointment. CAPS Services Documentation Forms may be provided, at the discretion of your psychologist, at follow-up counseling appointments only. An additional reason for this policy is that documentation is of limited accuracy when it is based on only a single interview.

If documentation is provided, it will describe a student’s psychological symptoms, diagnosis and personal difficulties. It will not suggest a specific accommodation such as an adjustment to academic requirements or the need to comply with university regulations. Such accommodations are determined by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD).

CAPS encourages students to register at the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) if they believe that they have a mental health condition that warrants accommodations. CAPS will provide documentation to OSD about your current or past mental health condition if counseling services are or were provided. If current or previous services were provided by an off-campus mental health professional, then those providers must supply information to OSD about your condition.

CAPS suggests that if you would like a one-time only adjustment to a specific academic course obligation, you should initially contact the professor/instructor and explain the circumstances that might warrant such an adjustment.