FAQs about CAMHS
Sign on to the patient portal and find a provider time slot that works with your schedule. If you want to see a specific clinician, you can schedule with them based on availability. Once you have chosen an initial consult date and time, please fill out the attached questionnaire. This gives the clinician more information about your needs so they can prepare for your visit.
Please be on time for your appointment. These appointments are brief, so you want to utilize the time you have. If you are late you will need to reschedule.
In-person urgent care is available every day from 8am to 10pm. Between the hours of 10pm to 8am, please call our nurse advice line at (617)-495-5711. The RN will determine the severity of the issue, and then facilitate appropriate care, whether that is at an emergency room, providing home care advice, or facilitating a next-day, in-person visit with HUHS. Community members, including residential life staff and friends can also use the service to speak with a qualified medical professional who can offer advice and help facilitate access to HUHS between 8 am and 10 pm.
We also reserve appointments for students each weekday to accommodate urgent concerns that arise during regular business hours–please call ahead at (617) 495-2042, or (617)-495-5711 after hours.
Get the Facts
Not necessarily. Many people are seen for issues other than “psychiatric disorders.” For example, therapy related to coping with normal life stressors such as breakups, relationship issues, academic stress, or loss of a loved one would not typically be viewed as therapy for a “psychiatric disorder.”
Your mental health records are covered by special confidentiality laws including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Your mental health records are not a part of your academic record. Our clinicians have access to your record, but only as necessary. We cannot share information about your mental health to anyone outside of CAMHS, including your family members, parents, friends, academic advisors, deans, or employers without your permission.
There are exceptions to confidentiality-- involving imminent safety concerns. We will always try to speak with you first and get your permission to share any information.
If you need to share information to another person, you need to fill out the Release of Information form.
Our clinicians can help you manage with a variety of concerns including: stress, anxiety, depression, mood swings, cultural adjustment, difficulties with focus and concentration, eating concerns, traumatic experience, loneliness and isolation, grief, sexuality, relationship problems, managing a chronic health condition, addictive behaviors, academic and career planning concerns. Call us even if you are not sure if we can help – we will connect you with the right support.
Many people seek counseling for personal growth and/or because they need help managing the challenges in life. Some students worry that seeking help means they are "crazy," “weak,” or “incompetent.” Seeking help from a licensed professional is a way to work through a difficult time. Counseling is available because we know that many students go through difficult times while they are here.
Log into the Patient Portal to schedule an initial telephone or in-person consultation with one of our clinicians, who will help you access the right services.
Consultations are offered every day throughout the week. If you have difficulty finding a time that fits your schedule, please call the office at 617-495-2042.
Initial sessions with Prescribers (Psychiatrists, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Psychiatry) are typically 60 minutes with follow-up appointments ranging from 15-30 minutes.
Urgent Care appointment length varies based on your presented needs.
The number and frequency of sessions depends on your particular situation, in the context of our short-term model of care. Some students feel benefits after one to six sessions, others need more time.
Recognizing that some students may need longer term treatment for chronic mental health concerns, our clinicians will work with you to develop a treatment plan that identifies interventions, goals, and timeframes that address your presenting concern. Recommendations may include individual counseling, group therapy or a workshop, psychopharmacology, or referral to a community-based clinician.
Typically, the agency that is requesting the security clearance contacts the mental health and counseling service after notifying you (we need your permission to release information, and usually the agency has already asked you to sign a release). All security clearance questions are reviewed by the Chief of Counseling and Mental Health Services.
- If it is an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. If you need to be seen urgently the same day, you can either call CAMHS (617-495-2042) and request a same-day appointment or go to the Smith Centre (75 Mount Auburn Street 4th Floor) and make that request in person.
- After business hours you can call Urgent Care (617-495-5711) and request to speak to the on-call mental health provider. This option is available to you 24/7.
The clinician will ask a few questions:
- Why are you seeking care now?
- Have you noticed a change in your mood, feelings of worry and anxiety, self esteem, sleeping, eating, use of alcohol and other substances, thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself in any way, thoughts of wanting to hurt others, or any medical concerns?
- Can you describe any previous counseling experiences?
- What support system do you have here at Harvard?
- Can you describe your current coping and self-care routine?
The answers to these questions gives the clinician a clear understanding of what your concerns are in order to make the best recommendations for you.
Recommendations may include:
- An immediate appointment because of the urgency of your concerns
- An intake appointment with one of our therapists, psychiatrists, or nurse practitioners
- Recommending one of our groups or workshops
- Referring you to the Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC)
- Facilitating access to services from a clinician in the local community
Intake appointments with CAMHS clinicians are made as soon as possible based on your presenting concerns, your scheduling availability, and the availability of the clinician that is recommended for you.
All of our clinicians are trained and experienced at addressing student mental health concerns.
Mental health hospitalizations occur only after careful assessment by your clinician. We are committed to helping you stay engaged in their academic programs, but sometimes mental health concerns warrant a higher level of care than can be provided at CAMHS. Most hospitalizations are voluntary, meaning that the student agreed that he/she would benefit from intensive treatment.
Confidentiality is maintained throughout the hospitalization process, including intake, treatment, and discharge. The reason for hospitalization cannot be disclosed without your consent. Students who reside in University accommodations should expect that their Dean will be informed that they have been transported to a hospital, but further details are only released with the your permission.
Please call (617) 495-2042 to cancel your appointment. You will incur a $25 fee if you do not show up or cancel your appointment within 24 hours. Canceling your appointment in a timely manner also allows us to offer an appointment to another student who needs services.
Your clinician will contact you via secure email or phone if you cancel an appointment or do not show up for the appointment. This is one of the ways we can follow up with you to check on your well-being and ask if you are interested in continued care.
In-person urgent Care is available every day for mental health and safety concerns between 8am - 10pm. For concerns between 10pm - 8am, please call our nurse advice line (617)-495-5711.
Follow up care may include scheduling an intake to begin counseling, making an appointment to assess for medication, or transfer to a hospital. Therapy is not provided in the urgent care setting.
If you are unsure if you should come into Urgent Care, call (617) 495-5711 and request to speak with a mental health provider.
We would ask that you communicate directly with your provider. If you prefer not to share your feedback directly with CAMHS, here are some other options:
- Contact Patient Advocate, Mallory Finne, email@example.com, 617-495-7583. There are also Patient Advocate Feedback paper forms you can fill out at the front desk of CAMHS.
- Online anonymous satisfaction surveys you receive following your appointments that will be reviewed by CAMHS Leadership.
Students are frequently referred to experienced psychologists, social workers, or psychiatrists in the local community. The referral is made in response to your specific needs and schedule.
We will provide you with the names and contact information of three or four clinicians, whom you will contact directly to schedule an appointment.
To find out about health insurance coverage for mental health services, please contact HUSHP Member Services at (617) 495-2008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.