Navigating any health care system can be difficult, especially for many students who may be doing so for the first time. This FAQ has been created to address the most common questions UC Davis students have asked when navigating Counseling Services.  

  • Does Counseling Services cost money?
  • No, counseling sessions are no cost. All registered students pay a Mental Health Fee and Student Service Fee, which funds Counseling Services.
  • Does Counseling Services require UC SHIP insurance?
  • No, Counseling Services is available for all students, regardless of insurance provider, for no cost.
  • Do you need a clinical diagnosis to seek help from Counseling Services?
  • No, counseling is for everyone regardless of whether or not you have a clinical diagnosis. Often people need help to cope with an acute stressor or life event which can impact anyone.
  • Where do I start if I am struggling with my mental health?
  • This often depends on the individual! Often people seek help from others, whether that is talking to a friend/family member, faculty or staff member, or making an appointment with an on- or off-campus therapist. If you are not comfortable talking with others yet, you can try some self-care techniques or some of the modules in Therapy Assistance Online (TAO). If you think short-term counseling or group counseling through Counseling Services on campus would be a good fit for you, you can schedule an appointment through Health-e-Messaging.
  • How long should I expect the wait time to be for an initial counseling appointment?
  • While this varies drastically throughout the year, the wait time for an initial consultation appointment during the academic year is generally around 2 weeks. Make sure when you are scheduling in Health-e-Messaging you are switching the “search” start date around to allow a large enough window for available appointments to pop up. After you have your initial appointment, if it is determined more sessions are appropriate, you will often schedule a week or two later with the same counselor.
  • How many sessions is brief individual counseling?
  • Students on average see their counselor for 3-5 sessions for brief individual counseling. If you are seeking longer term care after that, a case manager can help you navigate insurance and find a therapist off campus. If you are seeking long-term therapy and would prefer to not go through Counseling Services first, you can visit Insurance Services on the 3rd floor of the Student Health and Wellness Center for help navigating your own insurance or see the FAQ on how to get a long term therapist below. Remember, crisis appointments are always available regardless of how many sessions you have used. You can request a crisis appointment by calling 530-752-0871 and ask for a crisis appointment or go to the Acute Care Clinic at the Student Health and Wellness Center and ask for a crisis appointment.
  • What does Crisis or Urgent Help mean?
  • There is no one definition of crisis or urgent help. If one is in immediate danger of hurting oneself or others, they need to call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room. In terms of crisis appointments at Counseling Services, the term “crisis” is self-defined. You can request a crisis appointment by calling 530-752-0871 and ask for a crisis appointment or go to the Acute Care Clinic at the Student Health and Wellness Center and ask for a crisis appointment. Other resources for urgent help can be found on the I Need Help webpage.
  • How do I get a long-term therapist?
  • We understand that seeking long term therapy off campus through your own insurance provider can be challenging! We have outlined some steps below to help you get started.

    1. Call your insurance provider to ensure you have coverage (partial or full) for counseling appointments. This number can be found on the back of your insurance card.

    2. Ask if they can send you a list of providers (counselors/therapists) that are covered by your insurance. Ask what the co-pay will be for each visit, if there is one.

    3. Call providers(counselors/therapists) who you think may be a good fit for you. This may take several phone calls. You may find that some therapists have a waiting period before booking or may not work with your insurance provider, but we encourage you to keep calling other therapists and working with them to see if they are an in-network or out-of-network provider. 

    4. If you have to leave a message, don’t wait to call other providers. Keep calling providers every few days until you get a response. 

    5. Use a phone script if you are nervous about what to ask! You can find a phone script at the bottom of the community referral webpage.
  • How do I navigate privacy and confidentiality around mental health care?
  • Often, privacy concerns can lead students to avoid or delay seeking the care they need. Many students report avoiding “sensitive services” such as mental health counseling, sexual and reproductive health services, substance use treatment and supportive services for sexual assault survivors out of fear that someone may find out -- especially if they are under someone else’s insurance plan. Visit the Navigating Privacy and Confidentiality webpage for an outline of resources you can use to keep your health information confidential.