Referral for Off-Campus Mental Health Treatment

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is Columbia students’ first stop for short-term individual counseling. We are also pleased to be of assistance to students not currently being seen at CPS with a referral to an off-campus resource.

Referrals for off-campus mental health treatment or "social work consultations" are scheduled at your convenience and are intended to expedite access to off-campus resources. This service is available to students who have paid the Columbia Health and Related Services Fee.

Students enrolled in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan (the Columbia Plan) require a CPS referral before accessing benefits.  That referral can be generated during a social work consultation session. We are also often able to assist students on other insurance plans to locate a provider who accepts their insurance.

Additional note for students enrolled in the Columbia Plan: ColumbiaDoctors practice groups are not part of Columbia Health and are considered an off-campus provider. You need a referral from a CPS provider to see these specialists.

How to request a referral

  1. Call CPS at 212-854-2878.
  2. Please be sure to specify your interest in a “Social Work Consultation” as these appointments are scheduled differently than other CPS appointments.

What to expect during a social work consultation appointment

You will meet with a social worker at the scheduled appointment time. Appointments are usually 30 minutes. The social worker will discuss your treatment goals and preferences, as well as your insurance coverage, and refer you, if at all possible, to a recommended mental health provider or clinic that meets your particular needs. CPS social workers may also be able to direct you to other useful resources on- or off-campus, as needed.

While our goal is to connect you to an appropriate community resource as quickly as possible, please note that it sometimes requires several meetings to do so because the availability of individual providers and clinics varies with the time of year, your particular insurance coverage, and a variety of other factors.

Making an off-campus appointment

Once you receive a referral, please contact the provider directly to set up a meeting. Be sure to have your insurance information handy when making your first appointment. If you are on the Columbia Plan, you may click here to download your insurance card. You will need your UNI and date of birth.

After your off-campus appointment

We want to ensure that you get connected, so you can generally expect to receive a secure message on the Patient Portal sometime after you complete your Social Work consultation. If you’ve encountered any difficulties in accessing recommended resources, let us know!  We remain available to help. 

Please consider taking an anonymous brief survey we will send by secure message some weeks after your consultation. Your feedback helps us to provide the best possible service!

Last reviewed: 6/11/2024