How to obtain services at CAPS
When you are ready to make a first time appointment at CAPS, please call (858) 534-3755 or come to our Central Office and request to schedule a first-time appointment.
- All routine first time appointments will be scheduled for a Brief Telephone Assessment (BTA) with a CAPS counselor.
- Our office hours are 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Our Central Office is at Galbraith Hall 190.
- You will then be scheduled for a Brief Telephone Assessment with a CAPS mental health counselor. This 5-15 minute confidential and free evaluation will be scheduled within 5 business days. You will be asked to briefly describe the nature and history of your concern. The counselor will help you find the best service for your needs.
- At the end of the Brief Telephone Assessment (BTA), your telephone counselor will recommend the best services for your needs. CAPS is focused on assisting students with problems typical of undergraduate and graduate students that can be managed with brief treatment.
- If you require assistance that is within the treatment guidelines of CAPS then your telephone counselor will schedule you for an Initial Evaluation with a CAPS Psychologist.
- You may request a specific staff person on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or location, but it will possibly mean a longer wait until an appointment becomes available.
If your needs would be best served by a specialist, by longer term or by frequent treatment, or if you have a chronic or long term mental health problem, then CAPS will assist you in finding a suitable off-campus professional in the community.
Although CAPS generally operates on an appointment basis, there are occasions when a problem or crisis feels too overwhelming to wait for a scheduled appointment. If this is the case, please make this known when you call and you can be seen quickly or within a few hours depending on the nature of the crisis during our hours of operation.
Our Urgent Care hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm. Call (858) 534-3755 to speak with the on-call psychologist who will assist you with the concern or crisis.
- After normal hours and during holidays/campus closures, a counselor can be reached for urgent psychological consultations by calling (858) 534-3755, and select Option #2.
- For life threatening emergencies or if anyone is in immediate danger, please call 911.
- For more information about emergency services, please go to our
Emergency Assistance page for more information.
Before Your Initial Evaluation
If you are scheduled for an Initial Evaluation after your Brief Telephone Assessment (BTA), the following instructions apply:
Two days before to your Initial Evaluation:
- You will be sent an email reminder that will inform you of the date, time, counselor, and location of your appointment. One day prior to your Initial Evaluation, you will receive a text message with the same information.
One day before to your first appointment:
- You will receive a text message with an appointment reminder (if you opt-in for text reminders). If you wish to opt-in to text reminders, please call our Central Office at (858)534-3755 or go to the secure
CAPS/SHS Web Portal to change your preferences.
- The afternoon before your scheduled appointment, you will receive an email directing you to the Student
CAPS/SHS Web Portal to complete the required forms. This process includes three steps: Forms, Questionnaire, and Surveys. Please complete all three sections described in detail in the portal instructions. The forms take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.
- For more information on our eForms, please click on the eForms tab on this page.
Complete online paperwork before your appointment:
- Please have all your paperwork complete PRIOR to your appointment. Completing the online forms immediately before your meeting will reduce the amount of time you will be able to speak with your counselor. If you have any questions about the forms, please call (858)534-3755.
- For first-time appointments, the following forms, questionnaires, and surveys need to be completed prior to your appointment:
- Compliance Forms: (1) Information & Consent Form; (2) Receipt of Notice of Privacy Practices.
- Appointment Questionnaire
- Survey(s): CCAPS-34
- If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call (858)534-3755. To avoid a late cancellation charge of $20, please cancel your appointment more than 24 hours in advance.
At Your Initial Evaluation
- The Initial Evaluation will last approximately 50 minutes. Your psychologist will ask you about your reason(s) for seeking counseling, and will get to know you by asking about your personal history, social relationships, educational goals, and expectations for counseling.
- At the end of the Initial Evaluation, you and your psychologist will formulate a counseling plan. CAPS is focused on assisting students with problems typical of undergraduate and graduate students that can be managed with short-term counseling. If you require assistance that is within the treatment guidelines of CAPS then additional on-campus individual appointments and/or group counseling will become part of the plan.
If you can best be helped by longer term care, or if you have chronic mental health problems, then CAPS will assist you in finding suitable care in the off-campus professional community.
- CAPS offers structured workshops on such topics as building social skills, managing stress and improving body image. We also offer a wide variety of groups and forums, which may be focused or general, open-ended or time-limited, drop-in or attended by the same people each week. For more information on groups, workshops and forums, visit our
- If you are unsure whether to start with an individual meeting with a psychologist, or by joining a group or workshop, we suggest making an appointment with a psychologist first, and then collaboratively deciding on the best course of action.
Referrals to Outside Providers
CAPS offers referral services to students who would be best helped by longer term care, or for those with chronic mental health problems.
For students with the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP):
- Your counselor will write a referral to receive services with an outside mental health provider.
- Your counselor will provide you with several names from providers within the SHIP network. You will need to select a provider and inform your CAPS counselor as soon as possible.
- If you select a therapist outside the SHIP network of providers, you may incur higher out-of-pocket costs.
- Your referral is valid one year from the date of the original referral. You may request renewals should you need additional treatment beyond one year. It is recommended that you contact CAPS to write a renewal BEFORE your original referral has expired. This will reduce any gaps between referrals and reduce possible out-of-pocket expenses.
- For more information about SHIP and mental health coverage, please go to the
SHS Insurance page or contact the Insurance Office at (858)534-2124.
For students without SHIP:
- CAPS does not write referrals for students who do not have SHIP.
- Your counselor will work with you to coordinate a referral based on your private insurance guidelines.
- You will need to obtain your insurance coverages and processes for mental health and discuss these with your CAPS counselor. This information can often be found on your insurer's website.
Referral Provider Search:
- To search for a provider using with the SHIP and non-SHIP insurance plans, please visit our
Referral Search page or select from the options below:
eForms for your Initial Evaluation
Several forms are required for your Initial Evaluation at CAPS. In addition, each July 1, we require a new set of forms for continuing students. One day before your appointment, you will receive an email directing you to instructions to complete the eForms. PLEASE READ THROUGH THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. Do not hit the "Back" button on your web browser, as this will erase your information.
These sForms are within 3 separate sections of the secure
CAPS/SHS Web Portal. See below for instructions:
Instructions for eForms
- Click on FORMS on left side menu.
- Select "Information & Consent Form." Read and electronically sign by checking the checkbox.
- Select "Acknowledgment of Receipt of Notice of Privacy Practices." Electronically sign by checking the checkbox.
- When you have submitted both forms, select APPOINTMENTS on left side menu.
- Confirm your Intake date/time.
- Select "Complete Questionnaire".
- Complete Intake Questionnaire (this takes about 25 min).
- Do NOT go Back on your web browser, as this will erase any information you put in. Instead, NOTE: Hit SAVE at the bottom of the page regularly to save your information.
- Select Submit when you complete the Questionnaire.
- When you have completed the Intake Questionnaire, select INTAKE SURVEYS on left side menu to view your surveys.
- Select and complete the "CCAPS-34".
- Select and complete the "OQ-45".
- Select and complete the "Flourishing Scale".
- NOTE: If no surveys are listed, you do not have complete the surveys.
Special Instructions for non-UCSD student partners
Partners who are not UCSD students but are receiving counseling services (such as partners of UCSD students) cannot complete our forms online. Instead, they can download the
Intake Forms Packet (in PDF format) that includes four CAPS forms and an informational document (the NPP). These forms and document are:
The Information and Consent Form which provides information about our counseling service. A second copy is included for you to keep
Intake Questionnaire which collects information about your past history and current situation
The Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP). We are required by law (HIPAA) to give you this document and ask you to acknowledge receipt of the NPP. If you want additional information about this law, go to our
Counseling/Notice of Privacy Practices page.
Acknowledgment of Receipt of Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP). Please sign this form to verify that you have received this document. You are not required to read (or print) the NPP prior to your appointment
These documents are found in the
Intake Forms Packet, located in our
eMessaging Your CAPS Provider
- In order to assure your privacy, CAPS has adopted a policy prohibiting communication with students via email, which is not a secure form of communication. CAPS staff are not permitted to communicate with students using e-mail.
- If you need to communicate with your counselor regarding scheduling, please (1) telephone them directly with the number provided to you at your first meeting, or (2) use our secure online messaging system at the
UCSD CAPS/SHS web portal (https://shs.ucsd.edu). Please select Messages from the left menu and follow the instructions. This is the only way to contact your counselor electronically. For all other communications, please telephone your Counselor.
- Please note that that your CAPS provider may not access their electronic secure messages at regular times throughout the day due to appointments and other clinical duties. You may also leave them a phone message at the number they provided for you at your first meeting.
- If you require timely or urgent assistance, please call our central office at 858 534-3755 during business hours (8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday). If you have an urgent need after-hours, you can talk to a mental health counselor by calling 858 534-3755 and selecting option 2. For a life threatening emergency, please call 911.
- CAPS provides services
free of charge to students who have paid the Student Services Fee (SSF) for the current quarter. During the summer, students who were enrolled the previous Spring quarter and are intending to return in the Fall quarter are eligible for services.
No-Show & Late Cancellation Fees
If you cancel within 24 hours of the appointment or if you do not appear for an appointment, a charge of $20.00 will be added to your Bursar’s Account.
- If you must cancel your appointment within 24 hours due to illness or serious emergency, you can talk to your psychologist about waiving the fee. Academic demands are not considered an emergency. Please plan ahead and cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid the fee. Telephone cancellations are preferred.
- Initial appointments should be cancelled by telephoning our central office at 858-534-3755. Follow-up counseling appointments are most effectively canceled by calling your psychologist’s individual office.
- If you are going to be late for your appointment contact your psychologist with an estimated arrival time so she/he can use the intermediary time efficiently.
- CAPS encourages students to attend their counseling appointments. If you do need to cancel please do so as far in advance as possible. This will allow the time reserved for you to be allocated to another student, thus, reducing the overall wait time for counseling appointments.