Yale Health

Frequently Asked Questions

About Mental Health & Counseling

Who is eligible?

Every eligible Yale student enrolled at least half time in a Yale degree program is eligible for counseling at Mental Health & Counseling completely free of charge regardless of whether they have waived Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Care coverage.

Consultations, counseling, psychotherapy, and crisis intervention are available to all students and to eligible spouses and civil union partners.  A referral is not needed and appointments can be made by phone and or in person for an initial consultation.

Is there a variety of approaches amongst the clinicians?

The Mental Health & Counseling Center has approximately 28 therapists who are all trained in multiple specialties and approaches to treatment. This staff includes psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. Psychiatrists are always available and can prescribe medication if necessary.

Does the MHC staff understand the importance of racial and ethnic diversity?

Mental Health and Counseling provides compassionate care and service to students regardless of race, ethnicity, and cultural background. Clinicians’ ability to understand the impact of cultural or ethnic identity in students’ lives is essential for forming effective therapeutic relationships. During the 2014-2015 academic year approximately 30% of students seeking care in MHC were members of an ethnic or racial minority. This year, 20% of our MHC staff identify as belonging to an ethnic or racial minority.  More important, all of our staff receive ongoing training to help them understand and appreciate the wide diversity of our student population. An atmosphere of inclusion and the appreciation of diversity are core values in Mental Health and Counseling. 

What about confidentiality?

Mental Health & Counseling records for Yale students are separate from other medical records, are excluded from the electronic medical record, and are kept in a locked room in Mental Health & Counseling.

Mental Health & Counseling will not release information about a patient to anyone including Heads of College, Deans, parents, family, friends, coaches, employers, or the government without your permission.

Everything discussed with a mental health clinician is held in strictest confidence and is not communicated to anyone without your permission, except in the rare instance of a life-threatening situation.

Can I seek counseling outside of Yale Health?

Yale Health does not cover counseling outside of the Yale Health Center. If you have private insurance that covers such care and/or you want to be seen more than once per week over a long period of time we can help you connect with an outside clinician.

How can I communicate feedback about my experience?

We welcome your feedback, both positive and negative about your experience as we are interested in making Yale Health work better for you. The more specific your comments the more helpful they will be in our efforts to maintain and improve the quality of staff and services. You can contact the department manager, use our online comment card, a paper comment card (available throughout the building) or email Member Services (member.services@yale.edu).


Are there screenings available to help me determine if I might need counseling?

Yale Health offers free, anonymous, and confidential online screenings to Yale students. Only the student sees the results of the screening.

The purpose is to help students determine if a consultation with a mental health counselor would be helpful.

Click here for anonymous and confidential online screenings for depression, eating disorders, alcohol dependency, anxiety/PTSD.

How do I schedule an appointment?

You can contact the department directly at 203-432-0290.

Initial Evaluation: Students requesting an appointment are given an initial time for evaluation within two to four weekdays. Following this initial appointment, most students are able to be connected with their therapist typically within a couple of weeks. We have added MHC staff clinicians, so we anticipate that the number of students waiting longer than that will be greatly reduced compared with previous years.

At the initial evaluation, the clinician will give the student a card with contact information so that they can remain in touch. The clinician will also inform the student about next steps including when the student will hear back about followup.   

Urgent situations: In urgent situations,  any student can speak with an on-call clinician 24 hours per day, every day of the year (daytime through MHC at 203-432-0290 and after hours through Acute Care 203-432-0123). 

If you have any questions or your situation changes while waiting for your appointment with your designated clinician, you should feel free to contact the clinician from your initial assessment.

Can I request or change therapists?

During your initial assessment you will have the opportunity to discuss your preferences for a clinician.  Depending upon your clinical needs and mutual schedules some or all of your preferences may be accommodated.

If you would like to switch therapists please call 203-432-0290 and leave a message advising that you would like to change to a different therapist. Your newly assigned therapist will call you directly to schedule your first appointment.

Are there emergency services available for student mental health & counseling?

Mental health professionals are available 24/7 for urgent situations. During regular office hours, a clinician may be reached through the Department of Mental Health & Counseling at 203-432-0290. After office hours and on weekends and holidays, a mental health clinician may be reached for urgent situations through the Acute Care Department at 203-432-0123.

Are there emergency services available for rape crisis/sexual assault?

For rape crisis/sexual assault call 203-432-2000. Counselors are available to talk to students or meet with them 24/7.  Information is also available at through the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education Center - The SHARE Center.

Therapy Options

Some students go to Mental Health & Counseling for just a few visits while others come for ongoing therapy.  Decisions about the appropriate treatment are made on an individual basis.

Students seek counseling for many different reasons, including:


  • Academic stress
  • Obsessions
  • Alcohol/drug issues
  • Parental divorce
  • Anxiety
  • Perfectionism
  • Body image
  • Relationships (family, friends, romantic, roommates)
  • Competition
  • Self-esteem
  • Compulsions
  • Sexual assault
  • Depression
  • Sexual concerns
  • Eating concerns
  • Sexual orientation and identity
  • Family illness
  • Stressful situations
  • Gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender issues
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Loss and grief


What are the different types of therapy sessions offered?

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is available on a short-term basis.  Decisions about the appropriate treatment are made on an individual basis.

You can request a male or female therapist.

Couples Therapy

Couples counseling is available for same sex and opposite sex couples when both parties are Yale students.

Group Therapy

Group therapy includes 5 to 8 people and meet once a week. Group therapy may include:

  • Anxiety Issues
  • Eating disorders
  • General therapy
  • Mood Disorders
  • Life Transition Issues

New groups can be started when there is enough interest. Please visit http://yalehealth.yale.edu/grouptherapy for more information on Group Therapy.

Other Mental Health Resources

Are there internet resources available on mental health & counseling?

National Institute of Mental Health

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

The SHARE Center (Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education)

Is peer-to-peer counseling available?

Walden Peer Counseling is available for undergraduate students at 203-432-TALK (8255) or visit www.yale.edu/walden/ for more information.

What do the residential college Mental Health Fellows do?

The mental health fellows are Mental Health & Counseling clinicians who are assigned to each of the undergraduate residential colleges. They are an additional resource and are available to students, deans and heads of college to discuss clinical issues and facilitate treatment. They are also available to present on topics such as handling stress, sleeping issues, healthy eating, study habits, relationship issues, etc.

Inpatient Treatment (Hospitalization)

When is someone hospitalized for a mental health reason?

Mental health hospitalizations are rare events at Yale and take place after careful assessment of a student’s condition. Safety concerns are the most important consideration in making decisions about psychiatric conditions. A student can be hospitalized in situations where there is the likelihood of serious harm to him/herself or others. Many hospitalizations are voluntary, meaning the student agrees that he or she needs a course of inpatient treatment because of problems that exceed what can be safely managed in an outpatient setting.  Safety concerns are almost always the deciding factors in a psychiatric hospitalization.  

How long does a mental health hospitalization last?

The length of a mental health hospitalization is determined on an individual basis and lasts from one to two days to a couple of weeks. This is decided by the attending psychiatrist in the inpatient unit in consultation with the rest of the inpatient team and the patient’s outpatient care providers. A patient is discharged when the hospital staff believes they can live safely in their campus or home environment and can receive the treatment that they need.

Sometimes a student may no longer require a hospital setting but may still need more support than they can get in a residential university environment. In this situation, a medical withdrawal may be considered to allow for a more extended period of recuperation.