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
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 (858) 534-3755.
- 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 mind
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,
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 858-534-3755.
- Many self-help offerings for you and your student!
- 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!
- The hub for the Student Health & Well-Being Cluster.
- Mental Health Links