Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Understanding resources and services on Mental Health can be confusing and overwhelming. Please take a look at the questions below before you contact us, you might find a helpful and clarifying answer just one click away! If after going through this list you still haven't got the answer you were looking for, feel free to contact us, we're happy to help you solve any doubts.


About Mental Health...

Mental health is the care of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Mental health disorders are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior. Such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic) and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.

 It’s important to remember that a person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors.  When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted. For example, if someone is working long hours,Cdc-pdf caring for an ill family member or experiencing economic hardship they may experience poor mental health.

Experiencing a mental health disorder does not define who you are, what your path is going to be or how your life is. Seeking help to understand, manage, and work through it as best you can is fundamental.

Depression is one of the most common forms of mental health issues in the United States, occurring recurrently on average in about 15 percent of the population. In all its different variations, depression can occur just one time in a person’s life or over and over again, lasting for months, years, or even a lifetime. Depression can occur at any point in a person’s life and doesn’t discriminate against age, race, or gender.

Depression is considered a mental health disorder that is often invisible but significantly impacts daily activities such as studying, working, concentrating, sleeping, eating, enjoying their lives, and/or feeling good about themselves. Learn more about signs of depression here.

Anxiety is the most common mental health issue, but it’s also one of the most treatable. Because anxiety can produce a wide range of symptoms, different techniques and therapies can be used to treat your anxious thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. More specifically, anxiety is a natural fear reaction to situations. It often involves both physiological - such as breathing, heart beating - and emotional - such as intense fear, worry - reactions. For many people, intense anxiety affects their mood, sleep, appetite, concentration, and ability to engage in certain activities such as taking a test or going to crowded places. Learn more about signs of anxiety here.

Research shows that our physical  and mental health significantly affects our work performance, and counseling is definitely a tool used  to work on your mental wellbeing. Here are some additional tips for you to manage graduate school while caring for your well-being.

  • Take good care of YOU
    • Your physical and emotional health are as important as your degree! Self-care includes: doing things you enjoy, working out, reading a book, connecting with other people, eating healthy meals, and taking breaks from work sometimes.
  • Time management
    • Time is a valuable product during grad school. Be aware of your deadlines and plan ahead according to your style (e.g., “morning” person or a night owl) and preferences (e.g., work in a group, work individually). 
    • Prioritize. It is important to keep your work and studies organized by creating a priority list of all the things you have to do. This may involve a priority list of activities, a conversation with your academic advisor, or saying “no” to more responsibilities.
  • Communicate
    • Graduate school can be very stressful. TC faculty members and staff are available to help you navigate this moment of your life. Use faculty office hours and student services to ask questions and receive support. Schedule an appointment by email with faculty members. If you have questions related to wellness and mental health, send an email to Student Support & Counseling at  studentwellness@tc.columbia.edu.

Reach out to Columbia Health for more wellness tips.

Student Support & Counseling at TC

The SSC office is a part of the Student Affairs division at TC under the Vice Provost for Student Affairs. The team operates as a central point of access to students regarding resources at TC, Columbia University and external referrals related to mental health. We provide consultations and short-term mental health sessions to students who are not eligible for long-term  therapy and counseling services.

These are two different services.

The Student Support and Counseling  team is part of the Student Affairs division at TC under the Vice Provost for Student Affairs. Our office provides consultations related to student wellness and academics. We also offer short-term mental health counseling to students who are not eligible to other long-term care therapy and counseling services. Depending on the student's case, the counselor may offer a recommendation to CPS for additional care. 

CPS is the Counseling and Psychological Services center located on Columbia University’s  main campus. This office provides comprehensive services including counseling, individual therapy, psychiatric consultations, psychological evaluations, and support groups to all Columbia students, including Teachers College. As a general service for all Columbia schools, CPS is one of the main resources you can access through Columbia Health. There is a standard fee that you are automatically enrolled in for if you are a full-time, international, and/or living on-campus.  Additionally, as a part-time student you can enroll voluntarily during the semester.  

Please contact Student Support & Counseling for more information or clarification on these services.

The Student Support & Counseling team operates as a central point of access to students regarding resources at TC, Columbia University and external referrals related to mental health. We provide consultations related to student wellness and academics. We also offer short-term mental health counseling sessions to students who are not eligible for long-term psychotherapy and other counseling services. 
You can schedule a first appointment with the Student Support & Counseling team here.

Consultations are sessions offered that are not therapy. These are brief sessions (approximately 30 minutes) focused on identifying the student’s difficulties and concerns, and offering of problem-solving strategies. During a consultation session/s, we often contact and involve other offices and departments to better address the student’s issues. Consultations are open to all TC students, by appointment only, and may run up to eight sessions per semester.

Students may come for a variety of reasons including seeking help to manage stress related to classes and student life in general, difficulties related to adjusting to New York, personal concerns, to learn more about services and providers in the community, and others.

The SSC team may offer short-term counseling (up to ten sessions) for students who have limited/no access to long-term mental health care, or are waiting to be seen by long-term services but need immediate support. If you have questions about your eligibility, contact us to make an appointment for a consultation so you can discuss with a counselor your case and consider the best way to support you.

Counseling sessions are confidential conversations between the student and the counselor focusing on the student’s life and current concerns. Sessions last approximately 45-50 minutes. Counselors provide support, strategies and skills to help students  cope with challenges/difficult situations. Contact the SSC office if you have any questions on how counseling could benefit you.

All TC students regardless of their current status (e.g., part-time) are eligible for consultation sessions with the SSC team. (See above "What is a consultation with SSC")

According to what is being determined in the first consultation with a counselor, a student with limited or no access to long-term mental health services, or with a long waiting time before starting treatment with a found resource or provider, could also be seen for mental health counseling sessions by the SSC team. (See above "Does the SSC office offer mental health counseling")

All services offered by the SSC team are free of charge.

Information disclosed during consultation sessions may be shared with other offices or departments  involved in the referral process (e.g., the Office of Residential Services may obtain information relating to roommate conflicts).

Information disclosed during counseling sessions are confidential following New York State’s laws regarding mental health services. You can ask for more information during your appointment.

 

(See above the difference between consultations with the office and counseling sessions.)

Please visit our Resources  page for additional resources available through TC and Columbia University.

We are located on the first floor of Thorndike Hall in room 166.

Please remember: In case we are in session, notification is indicated on our main door entrance.  However, you may contact us through our form: Contact Form to make an appointment.

We are available Mondays through  Thursdays 9am-5pm, and Fridays 9am-2pm on the first floor of Thorndike room 166.

Please remember: In case we are in session, notification is indicated on our main door entrance.  However, you may contact us through our form: Contact Form to make an appointment.

When we're closed, you will find on our door some helpful phone numbers of after-hours and 24/7 mental health support. you can also check our Resources section.

If you're experiencing suicidal ideations or feel an emergency crisis, please dial 911 or visit the nearest hospital. We are  unable to provide any kind of emergency services and to operate or respond within 24hrs. For more information on emergencies, check our Emergencies section.

Making an Appointment with Student Support & Counseling

Fill out this brief Contact Form to make an appointment. We'll reach back to you as soon as possible.

At this time we are available to provide scheduled appointments only. However, Columbia Counseling and Psychological Services provide mental health counseling drop-in hours on main campus at Lerner Hall, 8th Floor. Please check their website or call 212-854-2878 for exact locations and times.

At this time, we see students by appointment only. To make an appointment, please use this Contact Form. We are unable to provide any kind of emergency services, nor operate nor respond 24hrs.

 

When we're closed, you will find on our door some helpful phone numbers of after-hours and 24/7 mental health support. You can also check our Resources section.

 

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency outside of regular business hours, please call 212-854-2878, to speak with a clinician.

You can always go to the nearest emergency room or call 911. If you're on campus, you may also call Public Safety at 212-678-3333.

For gender-based violence concerns, reach a survivor advocate at 212-854-4357.

You can also quickly check our Emergencies   section for more contacts.

At your first appointment, you and your counselor will talk about your current concerns and discuss options to address them. Your counselor may ask questions regarding your personal history and past experiences; this information may help to identify your strengths and resources.

For consultation sessions, any student may receive up to eight sessions.

For short-term counseling sessions, students determined eligible may receive up to ten sessions. If you require additional services, you may receive referrals and check-ins to ensure continuation of support with other services through the Columbia network, Insurance plans, or in the community.

 

Columbia Health Fee & Insurance Plans

For additional information specifically related to Columbia Health Fee and the TC Health Plan for students, please contact Health & Immunization

The Columbia Health Fee grants students access to health resources on main campus such as physicians, nutritionists, and the Counseling and Psychological Services center.

This fee is mandatory for all full-time (12 billable credits) students, students living in the residence halls at Teachers College, and/or international students (regardless of full-time or part-time status). If you are part of any of these groups this is an automatic payment.  

For part-time students, the Columbia Health Fee is not required. You may opt into Columbia Health and have access to these resources voluntarily. You can also submit a payment for the Columbia Health Fee at any time in the semester via accessing myTC portal under Student Resources. Please visit the Health and Immunization Records page for more information.

The Columbia Health Fee is not an insurance plan and is a separate service from the Aetna Student Health Plan.

 

CPS is the Counseling and Psychological Services center on main campus, where counseling, individual therapy, psychiatric consultations, psychological evaluations, and support groups, are offered to Columbia students, including Teachers College. 

As a general service for all Columbia schools, CPS is one of the main resources you have  access to through the Columbia Health Fee. This fee is mandatory for all full-time (12 billable credits) students, students living in the residence halls at Teachers College, and/or international students (regardless of full-time or part-time status). If you are part of any of these groups this is an automatic payment.  

For part-time students, the Columbia Health Fee is not required. You may opt into Columbia Health and have access to these resources voluntarily. You can also submit a payment for the Columbia Health Fee at any time in the semester via accessing myTC portal under Student Resources. Please visit the Health and Immunization Records page for more information.

The Columbia Health Fee is not an insurance plan and is a separate service from the Aetna Student Health Plan.

 

Teachers College offers the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan, in partnership with Columbia University and Aetna Student Health  This service is available to all full-time registered students enrolled in degree-granting programs. 

The current plan offers consistent co-pays of $20 for mental health services with most providers that operate with the Aetna network.  For more information about this or the plan in general, please visit the correspondent section in the Office of Student Affairs page.

*Some excerpts contain definitions and nomenclatures taken from the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Columbia Health websites.

 
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