Resources for Parents & Families
Welcome parents! This section will provide information and resources for parents, friends, and family of
UCSD students to increase their understanding of common psychological issues that may be experienced by you
and your daughter/son. For parents of students in their first year at UCSD, our Parent
Handout on ways to help you and your student's transition to college.
The Help Your Student tab provides details on many questions that you may have regarding your daughter/son's
well-being while at UCSD. We also have a link to a handbook we provide the UCSD community on how to Assist an
Emotionally Distressed Student. Finally, this section provides helpful campus links and self-help resources.
Counseling and Psychological Services focuses on assisting students with the typical developmental problems
of undergraduate and graduate students that respond to short-term counseling. If a student requires long term
care or has a chronic mental health condition, then CAPS will help the student find suitable care in the off-
campus professional community. Funding is provided by the health insurance coverage that is required of every
enrolled UCSD student. Below is a summary of our Tabs for Parents and Families.
- Contact Information
- 858-534-3755, FAX 858-534-2628
Galbraith Hall 190
Crisis Counseling and Consultations (after hours): 858-534-3755, Option 2
- CAPS staff is available to provide consultation to your questions regarding mental health matters, campus
resources, and community referrals. In addition, if you have concerns about your student, you can contact
our offices for assistance. Due to confidentiality laws, we may not be able to provide specific information
about your student if s/he is utilizing our services. During normal business hours, you can call our
Central Office at (858) 534-3755. Your call will be forwarded to a psychologist on staff.
- Referring to CAPS
- If you would like to refer your student to CAPS, please have him or her contact our offices at (858)
534-3755 to make an appointment. If the matter is urgent and your student must be seen immediately, she or
he can come to our Urgent Care services at our Central Offices at Galbraith Hall 190.
- If you have an urgent matter or an emergency regarding your student during normal business ours (Monday
through Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm), please call our offices immediately at (858) 534-3755. If you or your
student has a life-threatening emergency, please take her/him to the nearest emergency room or call 911.
For more information on Emergency and Crisis services at CAPS, please visit our Emergency
Our Services for Students and Families
- Individual Counseling
- CAPS provides short-term individual counseling for registered UCSD students. If your student comes for
counseling, they will be assessed in the first meeting, and a treatment plan will be discussed with him or
her. This plan may include individual counseling and/or a group at CAPS. For some students, long-term
therapy may be recommended. For these students, we offer referral services to psychologists and
psychiatrists in the San Diego community. If your student has SHIP insurance alone, the student can be
referred by us to an outside provider. This involves completing official referral paperwork that is
submitted to the insurance company. If you have other coverage, students must abide by the referral process
for that insurer. If your student is double-covered (e.g., SHIP and another insurance plan), the non-SHIP
insurance plan will be the primary insurance for referrals.
- Group Counseling
- CAPS is proud to offer over 20 unique groups, workshops, and forums each quarter. Groups range from
traditional psychotherapy groups, to psychoeducational workshops, and drop-in forums. Recent groups have
included the Building Social Confidence Group, Stress Management Workshop, and the Asian American Community
Forum. Unlike individual counseling, students can come to as many group sessions as needed.
- CAPS provides referral services for students who are referred to outside providers. Reasons for referrals
to outside providers include: need for treatment at a rate that would exceed our short-term service model,
or a referral to a specialist for particular conditions. For students with SHIP insurance only, CAPS and
Student Health Service administers the paperwork required for referrals. For students without SHIP or are
double-covered with another insurance plan, they must comply with referral procedures required by the
non-SHIP insurer. CAPS staff will assist in matching the student with a provider who can best meet their
treatment goals. If you have any questions about our referral process, please contact our Central Office at
- Consultation to Families
- CAPS provides consultation to families who have questions or concerns about a student. We will provide as
much assistance as possible. Due to confidentiality laws, however, we may not be able to provide
information about your student if she or he is utilizing our services. For more information about
confidentiality limitations, click on the FAQ & Confidentiality tab, or call our Central Office to speak
with one of our psychologists at (858) 534-3755.
- CAPS staff present to both students and parents during Student Orientation. Information on our services
is provided at these meetings.
Helping Your Student
So you and your daughter/son have finally made it! All the hard work over years has finally paid off - s/he
is now in college! Congratulations!!! This is a most exciting time for everyone, with much change and
adjustment. As is the case with any new experience, having your daughter or son go to college can be quite
stressful. Along with the excitement of a new, important change, can come anxiety, worry, and questions about
many things. We at CAPS recognize that these concerns are common to may parents and family members. We hope
this page will provide some helpful answers to these important questionsHow is my daughter/son doing?
During any particular day or week, your son or daughter may seem to be handling everything wonderfully. You
may wonder "Why was I so concerned?" Then again, the next time you talk to him or her, they might paint a
completely different picture."I hate it here!"."I don't have what it takes"."I'm not like the other
students." These are very common concerns and feelings expressed by students. Just keep in mind that with any
change, there is always a period of adjustment. And with adjustment, there may be both excitement and
distress. Remind your daughter/son that these are common feelings, and share with them how their existing
strengths will help them get through this period of adjustment.
How can I tell if my daughter/son is in distress?
There is a normal period of adjustment to college that includes both excitement and stress. Sometimes this
adjustment can be as long as 6 months to a year. However, if over time you notice that your daughter or son
is not coping well (e.g., is not acting like her/his "normal self," grades are declining, withdrawal from
family and friends), you may consider suggesting that she/he seek assistance from a psychologist at CAPS.
Encourage them to call us 858-534-3755 to make an initial appointment.
How am I doing with the change?
It is not uncommon for parents to experience the well known "empty nest" syndrome when their daughter/son
leaves for college. They may have feelings of sadness, loss of control, and concern for what their children
may be exposed to at a large university.
At the same time, many parents may feel conflicted when these feelings are mixed with excitement that comes
with possibly having more independence and time. It is common to feel a wide range of emotions with this new
change - from happy to sad. As is the case with your daughter/son, the adjustment to change can be difficult
and may take some time. Feeling sad during this transition, however, should not prevent you from taking care
of yourself. Consider viewing this change as an opportunity to focus on what you really like to do
What can I expect over the next few years?
Parents can consider developing an adult relationship with their daughter/son. This is a new and important
way of connecting with her/him, as it recognizes and acknowledges the transition of your student from child
to adult. This will convey to your daughter/son that you are aware and appreciate this transition, as well as
provide opportunities to relate to them in new ways. As they transition to adulthood, keep in mind that your
daughter or son may not want to share every detail of their lives with you at all times. Though this may not
be what you would like or are used to, it is actually developmentally appropriate as your student gains a
greater sense of identity and self
How can I provide support for my student?
Providing support now will not be drastically different from how you have been doing it. Listening,
communicating, and sharing are all important ingredients in letting your student know you care. Relaying
these messages in a way that acknowledges the adult-to-adult relationship can build an even stronger bond.
Again, keep in mind that at times they may not want to share everything with you - this is normal. But making
sure they know that you care is the key (e.g., sharing your views on difficult topics, providing
encouragement during times of stress, etc.). A balance of advice, encouragement, independence, and room to
make mistakes can be important in conveying our support AND respect.
Though your daughter or son, may not request it, it is important that you keep in touch. Have a plan for
keeping in touch. Care packages, phone calls, e-mails, pictures of special events (both at school and family
fun) may be some of the nice things you can do for each other to show you may be out of sight but not out of
What resources are available for me and my daughter/son?
There are many resources available at CAPS and on campus. Students can meet with a provider at CAPS for
confidential counseling. For additional mental health resource, please visit our Self-Help
Library. For campus resources, please visit the Student Services Portal, TritonLink.
What resources are available to parents and families?
Parents and families can contact CAPS to consult about mental health issues that may be impacting their
student(s). In addition, our Self-Help Library contains many
handbooks, brochures, and handouts that can assist you and your student.
FAQ's & Confidentiality
We know many parents and families have questions about our services and our work with students. Below is a
list of some common questions we encounter. If you have other questions that we can assist you with, please
call us at (858) 534-3755.How do I refer students to CAPS?
Students can call our offices at (858) 534-3755 to make an appointment. In addition, students can come to
our Central Offices at Galbraith Hall 190 (located next to the Revelle Plaza Fountain) to make an
appointment. If there is an urgent matter and your student cannot wait for a regular appointment, they can be
seen by our Urgent Care psychologist at our Central Office
I am concerned about my student - what should I do?
Fortunately, you have many choices. First, you can contact the student’s college administration (e.g., the
Resident Dean at your student’s college) or department and express your concerns. These administrators offer
an opportunity to be seen those who interact with him/her the most. These interactions are often not bound to
confidentiality restrictions in comparison to those of psychologists – so they may be able to offer you more
information about your student’s situation than we legally can. If your student’s concerns require counseling
or psychological assessment, they are often referred to CAPS to meet with a psychologist. If the matter is
mental health related, you can encourage your student to make an appointment at CAPS at (858) 534-3755
What are the confidentiality laws as they pertain to my student?
Due to state and federal laws, psychologists cannot share information with others (including family
members) about their counseling with a student without written consent from the student. This is why we may
not be able to provide specific information about your student if you call us for consultation. The only
situations where we may legally breach confidentiality is if the student is gravely ill and may be in
imminent harm to self or others. If you have questions regarding confidentiality, please contact our Central
Offices at (858) 534-3755
If you wish to share information with CAPS regarding your student, please call our Central Office at
- Self-Help Library
- Many self-help offerings for you and your student!
- Download Center
- Download forms, handbooks, brochures, relaxation audio recordings, and much more.
- UCSD Family Connection
- Official UCSD website for parents and families. Lots of great resources here!
- Well-Being Cluster
- The hub for the Student Health & Well-Being Cluster.
- Mental Health Links