FAQs about CMHS

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The Basics

  • Students come for a wide variety of reasons, including addressing personal concerns, getting assistance with referrals to providers in the community, and consulting when they are worried about a friend.

  • Counseling is essentially a focused conversation, centering on you and on your concerns. In addition to support, your counselor may offer various strategies for working on the issues you bring to counseling.

  • Counseling groups and support groups create an opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, encouragement, and feedback in a safe and confidential environment. The experience can deepen your self-awareness, enhance your relationship skills, and allow you to experiment with new ideas and ways of being.

  • All currently enrolled full-time students and currently enrolled part-time students who have paid the comprehensive Health and Wellness Fee are eligible for services through CMHS.


  • Counseling sessions are free for eligible students. Psychiatry services may have a fee, depending on your health insurance.


  • We do not have a pre-set number of sessions, as each person’s needs are unique. Our priority is to help you get the care you need. For some students, that might mean seeing a CMHS counselor once or twice or having a series of appointments with a CMHS counselor. For others, it might mean working with a counselor in the community. Either way, we’re here to help.  

  • No. No information about your contact with CMHS is available to anyone outside of CMHS without your written permission. This includes parents as well as university personnel, other family members, friends, or outside agencies. There are only a few exceptions to confidentiality, and they are usually required by law: to protect you or someone else from physical harm, if you provide information indicating child or elder abuse, in the event of a psychiatric hospitalization, and in the event of a court order. Your counselor can answer any questions you have about these exceptions.

  • There are a variety of on-campus services, resources, and supports available to Tufts students, including the StAAR Center, the Dean of Student Affairs Office, the Office of Equal Opportunity, the Center for Awareness, Resources and Education (CARE), and the University Chaplaincy

    In addition, there are many off-campus resources available to students through the JED Foundation, and many students may benefit from seeking support from friends, family, trusted faculty members, and Residential Life Staff, among others.

  • Everyone experiences distress sometimes. See our Concerned about a Student? webpage to learn more about the signs of distress and how you can help someone you are worried about.


  • Call 617-627-3360 during business hours. to schedule an appointment. You will be asked for your name and ID number and whether there is a specific counselor you want to see. Our front desk staff will work with you to find a time that best fits your schedule and the counselor’s availability. If you do not specify a counselor, you will be offered the first available appointment.

  • Yes. Click here to schedule a virtual or in-person Individual Counseling appointment, an Ask a Counselor appointment (a 15-minute telephone consultation), or an appointment with our Care Manager for help finding a referral off campus. If you do not see what you are looking for when scheduling your appointment online, please call us at 617-627-3360 so that we can help you. Note that canceling and rescheduling cannot be done online. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please either call us or message your clinician via the secure Health & Wellness Portal.

  • Initial counseling appointments are usually available within a week, although at peak times it can be longer. It might also take longer if you want to wait for a specific counselor. 

  • For students who do not want to schedule an appointment in advance, we offer a limited number of same-day sessions each day. Call us when we open at 9:00am to request a same-day appointment; same-day appointments cannot be scheduled online and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please note that flexibility in scheduling a convenient time will be limited and that they fill quickly.

  • Yes. You can look at the staff bios and request a specific clinician. Keep in mind, however, that it may take longer to be seen by a specific clinician than it would to be seen by the first available clinician.

  • Given our volume, we are unable to keep appointments open for possible walk-ins. However, if you have an urgent concern, you can call our front desk staff, and they will help connect you with someone who can help you.

  • Regular counseling appointments are available only during business hours. However, in a mental health emergency, the Counselor on Call is available when CMHS is closed. Call 617-627-3360 and follow the prompts to speak with the Counselor on Call.

  • 15-20 minutes before your first appointment at CMHS, please log into the Health & Wellness Portal to complete the necessary forms. You can do this from your computer or phone. If you are meeting with a CMHS clinician in person, you also have the option of arriving 15-20 minutes early to check in from a laptop in the waiting room. Once you are inside the Portal, choose the clinic your appointment is in (Counseling & Mental Health Srvc. for counseling appointments or CMHS Psychiatry for medication-related appointments). After clicking the green "Get Started" button and landing on the home tab, you will need to look towards the bottom of your screen for the section titled "Up and Coming Appointments." If this section is not visible, scroll towards the bottom of the page until you see it. Click "Up and Coming Appointments."

    Inside the "Up and Coming Appointments" section, there is a green button labeled "Forms." Click the "Forms" button and complete the forms 15-20 minutes before your appointment.

    If you are meeting virtually with a CMHS clinician, an orange "Telehealth" button will appear after you have completed your forms. Click the "Telehealth" button to access the Zoom link for your appointment.

  • At your first appointment, you and your counselor will review the concerns you came in to discuss in light of your personal history and life experiences. You and your counselor will also discuss your goals for counseling and your treatment options, which may include brief individual counseling at CMHS, referral to a provider in the community, referral to a group, and/or other on or off-campus resources.

  • If you do not feel comfortable with the counselor you meet with, you can let the counselor know you would like to meet with someone else, or you can let the front desk staff know you would like to meet with a different counselor for your next appointment.

Care in the Community

  • Students who would benefit from more frequent meetings over a longer period of time are often referred to providers in the community. Treatment at CMHS is necessarily brief in nature and is not an appropriate substitute for a long-term therapy relationship.

  • Students looking for long-term treatment or weekly psychotherapy are strongly encouraged to utilize the Off-Campus Referral and Support page to contact providers. In addition, our Care Manager provides case management support to students seeking a provider in the community.