CMHS Updates Related to COVID-19

Updated 5/6/20: CMHS will be regularly updating this page as local and regional responses to COVID-19 develop. Here you will find resources for managing distress, current information about our availability for the Tufts Medford/Somerville/Fenway community (which may change in response to the situation), and information for finding mental health support.

  • During these challenging times, attending to your mental health and well-being is more important than ever.  Please know that at CMHS, we are here to support you.  Give us a call to consult about what might be most helpful. We offer individual telehealth appointments, virtual support groups/workshops, and/or assistance with referral, as appropriate.  To make an appointment call 617-627-3360, or for more information visit our website at
  • Students Currently in Care With a Counseling and/or Psychiatric Provider: You and your current clinician should be in touch by phone or through the Medicat Secure Health Portal to arrange a call or video chat to discuss how to proceed.  If a telephone or video chat appointment is arranged, you will need to sign a telemental health consent form before the appointment.  Emergency contact information must also be provided on the consent form. Please log into Medicat's secure message portal, look under "Upcoming Appointments"-- there will be a green "Forms" button-- and complete the CMHS Remote Counseling Informed Consent Form prior to your appointment.
  • Students who are not in the local area can initiate telemental health counseling through iHope or BetterHelp, thee Thriving Campus referral platform, or through area resources near their current location. If students would like assistance with the process, they can give us a call at 617-627-3360 and tell the front desk they are seeking remote referral help.
  • After-hours counselor: The after-hours counselor on call for mental health emergencies can still be reached by dialing TUPD’s dispatch desk at 617-627-3030, and asking for the counselor on call.  For more information, you can visit our Mental Health Emergencies page.
Finding a Therapist in Your Home Community


Students are encouraged to access ThrivingCampus (Tufts’ referral database) at Students can search providers based on their current location, insurance and/or mental health needs. (Students on the school insurance, should check off the following insurance names that all work with their insurance: Tufts Student Insurance (StudentResources), Optum, UnitedHealthcare StudentResources, UnitedHealthcare and United Behavioral Health)

Additional Links Students Find Helpful

  • Psychology Today (search for therapists or psychiatrists by city)
  • Innopsych (search for clinicians of color by location)
  • Zencare (search for therapists in selected cities) 


A great way to connect with a licensed therapist who can offer support through phone or a web-based platform. Sessions are arranged to fit your schedule and you can access them through video, phone or text easily! There are different billing costs with each service. If you have Tufts school insurance (UnitedHealthcare StudentResources), you can access BetterHelp at no cost. Students with the school insurance (UnitedHealthcare StudentResources) have a free account with BetterHelpStudent may also access iHope

Important Information for Students on the School Insurance (UHCSR)

Current coverage on the school insurance (UHCSR) is until August 19th. All in-network providers for UnitedHealthcare StudentResources/Optum are $5 co-payments (for this coverage year).

Understanding Your Insurance’s Mental Health Benefits

You can find out what the coverage is for outpatient counseling by calling the number listed on the back of your insurance card. You can ask the representative what the benefits cover, if there is a co-pay or deductible, and/or ask for assistance with finding in-network providers. Keep in mind that you should always confirm directly with your provider that they participate with your specific insurance plan.

Script for Students to Use When Calling a Provider

When you leave a message or talk to the provider, you should state your name and that you are a Tufts student home for the rest of the semester. Tell them you are looking to connect to a long-term therapist and are wondering if they are accepting new clients. Tell them what kind of insurance you have and leave your call back number twice and spell out your e-mail address.

Tips for Managing Worries and Emotions about COVID-19

News reports about the coronavirus, together with predictions that the virus could become more widespread, raise numerous concerns and make many people worry.

  • Obtain accurate information and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information or inaccurate information. Here are some reliable sources of information: Centers for Disease Control and Preventiom (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Keep things in perspective. Avoid worst-case-scenario ruminations. It can be helpful to shift your focus to things within your control rather than things outside your control.
  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties.
  • Stay connected. Maintaining social networks – even if it must be done remotely - can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Feel free to share useful information you find on governmental websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own worry. If your day to day activities are disrupted, create structure in your day by creating a daily schedule including such things as; a consistent bedtime and wake up time, eating meals at regular times, scheduling regular phone/video contact with friends and family, and planning particular times for hobbies, homework, etc.
  • Follow the prevention and protection tips given by medical professionals such as the national medical authorities and your own medical doctor. • Practice calming rituals. Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
  • Use active coping skills. These may include journaling, meditation, playing or listening to music, prayer, exercise, watching favorite shows, art projects, and more!
  • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. In times of uncertainty our thoughts can become less compassionate and more fear based. Keep in mind the kindness and empathy with which we always strive to treat one another as we address this challenge together.

Additional Online Resources

Spring 2020 Virtual Support Groups
Virtual Support Group for Undergraduates 
4 Wednesdays, 2:30 – 3:30p.m., April 15 through May 6
For Tufts undergraduates currently living on campus or in the greater Boston area. Join a small group of other students in four weekly meetings via Zoom. This confidential group aims to help you build connection, get support, and share strategies for self-care and coping in the current challenging times. Facilitated by CMHS Staff Clinicians, Marilyn Downs and Sophie Ricks. For more information or to sign up, please contact: or Students who sign up will be sent a Zoom link for the group sessions. 
CMHS Virtual Support Group for Graduate Students 
4 Fridays, 2:30 – 3:30 pm, April 17 through May 8
For Tufts graduate students currently living on campus or in the greater Boston area. Join a small group of other students in four weekly meetings via Zoom. This confidential group aims to help you build connection, get support, and share strategies for self-care and coping in the current challenging times. Facilitated by CMHS Staff Clinicians, Sophie Ricks and Marilyn Downs. For more information or to sign up, please contact: or Students who sign up will be sent a Zoom link for the group sessions.  


Message from Our Partners

The Haven at College Virtual Outpatient Center: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

The Haven at College, in collaboration with Tufts, provides college students with outpatient treatment and recovery programs for mental health and substance-use disorders. The Haven is now admitting students to its confidential virtual outpatient program. All online outpatient services are covered by Tufts’ student health insurance. Students can connect with like-minded peers who, along with Haven clinicians, provide community, accountability, and relief from isolation during this challenging time. Treatment services include: group, individual, and family therapy; case management; life skills and educational sessions; as well as recovery coaching; family support; online recovery meetings; and online peer support. Learn more about all their programs at or call 888-224-2836 for more information.