Off-Campus Referral and Support

CMHS offers short-term counseling. For some, that might mean seeing a counselor once. Others might have a series of appointments with a CMHS counselor. For others, it might mean working with a counselor in the community.

If you know that you are looking for long-term counseling (for example, counseling for a year or longer), weekly therapy, or prefer working with a non-Tufts provider, we encourage you to use the resources below to find a provider that fits your needs.

How Do I Find an Off-Campus Provider?

There are many options for finding a provider who is covered by your insurance:

  • Call your insurance company directly
    • On the back of your insurance card there should be a phone number to connect with customer service. Some may also have a specific “behavioral health services” number.
    • Call this number and ask for a list of providers near you or check your insurance company’s website to see if they have a “Find a Provider” search. 
    • Start by calling one or two of the providers on this list. It’s a good idea to call multiple providers, as many may not be able to accept new patients due to high demand for mental health services. 
    • You can follow the script below if you are unsure of what to say when you call.
  • Search on Thriving Campus
    • If you go to https://tufts.thrivingcampus.com/, you will find a list of providers who have expressed interest in working with Tufts students.
      • ThrivingCampus (for all students)
      • ThrivingCampus for students on the Student Health Insurance (UnitedHealthcare StudentResources/Optum - $10/session)
        • On ThrivingCampus, the following 5 insurance names all apply if you have the student health insurance: Optum, Tufts Student Insurance [StudentResources], United Behavioral Health, UnitedHealthcare, and UnitedHealthcare StudentResources.
    • You can sort through the list, adding filters based on your preferences. It’s a good idea to select your insurance as one of the filters so you can look at providers who are covered for you.
    • Clicking on individual providers will bring you to a page with more information about them, including email and phone number. 
    • Start by calling one or two of the providers on this list. It’s a good idea to call multiple providers, as many may not be able to accept new patients due to high demand for mental health services. 
    • You can follow the script below if you are unsure of what to say when you call.
  • Search on other referral platforms
    • For a more general list of providers in your area, or providers outside of the Medford/Somerville area, try the following websites:
    • You can sort through the list, adding filters based on your preferences. It’s a good idea to select your insurance as one of the filters so you can look at providers who are covered for you.
    • Clicking on individual providers will bring you to a page with more information about them, including email and phone number.
    • Start by calling one or two of the providers on this list. It’s a good idea to call multiple providers, as many may not be able to accept new patients due to high demand for mental health services. 
    • You can follow the script below if you are unsure of what to say when you call.

Script for Calling Providers

It’s common to leave a voicemail message when calling a mental healthcare provider -- they might be meeting with a client, or their office may be closed when you call. If you reach their voicemail, you can use the following script: 

Hello! My name is _____ and I am a student at Tufts University. I am looking to connect with a therapist and I wanted to see if you are accepting new clients. I have [insurance name]. My phone number is _______. Again, that is [repeat phone number]. My email address is [spell it out]. If you could give me a call back or send me an email that would be great! Thank you so much.

If a provider has room in their schedule to start working with you, when they call back they’ll usually schedule a phone consultation. This is an opportunity for both of you to see if working together would be a good fit. Consider asking the therapist questions like:

  • How much professional experience do you have?
  • Have you worked with others with similar experiences to mine?
  • How often would we meet? Would it be in person or virtual?
  • To what extent does my insurance company cover the meetings?
  • Are you familiar with my culture or community’s beliefs, values, and perceptions around mental health? If not, are you willing to learn?
  • What languages do you speak? 
  • Do you have experience treating people from my cultural background/sexual orientation/gender identity/faith?

Before your first appointment, confirm directly with your provider that they participate in your specific insurance plan.

How Do I Know What Mental Healthcare is Covered by my Insurance?

  • Students with the student health insurance (UnitedHealthcare StudentResources) have $10 co-payments per visit for any in-network Optum/UnitedHealthcare provider. A co-payment is what you pay out-of-pocket for each session. It’s usually the same amount each time.
  • If you have another insurance:
    1. Find your insurance card. If you don't have your card at school, ask your parent/guardian to text you a picture of the front and back. 
    2. Get ready to take notes. When calling your insurance company, have something to take notes with. They’ll probably share important details like cost, definitions, or other important information
    3. Call your insurance company. Call the number on your card (likely on the back). Insurance cards are all different -- look for a number for member services, mental health services, or behavioral health services. 
    4. Ask about your benefits. After dialing the number for member services, you’ll be able to connect with a representative from your insurance company. They will ask you questions to verify your identity. When they ask why you are calling you can say “to find out what my benefits will cover for outpatient counseling.” Some insurance plans may require a: 
    • Co-pay: What you pay out-of-pocket for each session. It is usually the same amount each time.
    • Co-insurance: The percentage you pay out-of-pocket for each session (similar to co-pay). You’ll pay either a co-pay or co-insurance; not both. 
    • Deductible: The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay.

Counseling Option for International Students While Home

All international Tufts students have free access to direct support 24/7 and short-term counseling through Workplace Options. This service is confidential, available in any language, and can be accessed any time while students are home over the summer or during breaks in their respective country. Students can call them anytime at +44 20 8987 6230 or email support@resourcesforyourlife.com to request a therapist or connection to local resources.

Workplace Options is staffed by professionals who are completely independent from Tufts. They are bound by professional standards regarding confidentiality, and do not disclose details of individuals who have contacted the service. Any information shared is at the student’s discretion and will not be shared with Tufts. Students can access the Workplace Options website using student code: Tufts

Low-Cost Therapy Options

Several options are available for students who are having a hard time paying for off-campus counseling

  • Open Path Psychotherapy Collective is a non-profit nationwide network of mental health professionals dedicated to affordable, in-person and online therapy sessions. It costs $30 - $60 for individual counseling per session; you can decide the exact cost with your therapist. First explore the Open Path therapist network to select a therapist and then register and pay a one-time membership fee of $59 to join Open Path. 
  • Neighborhood Counseling and Community Services in Davis Square offers free therapy with their trainees.  
  • Life Changes Group offers a sliding scale option ($25 per session), available upon request, with their social work intern.
  • Domestic and international students with the student health insurance (UHCSR) have free access to mental health care through HealthiestYou, a national telehealth service. Please visit this FAQ page for more information on HealthiestYou's virtual counseling service.

Important Information for Students on the Student Health Insurance (UHCSR)

Coverage with UnitedHealthcare StudentResources for the 2022-2023 academic year ends on August 19th, 2023. There is no referral required for mental health treatment. Please contact us via email at studenthealthinsurance@tufts.edu if you have questions.

  • You can access your insurance card by creating an account (Pick the ID card link to see a digital version).
  • For more information about the insurance, visit this page.

Additional Information

Mental Health Emergencies
Emergencies During Regular Office Hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday)

Contact emergency services through the CMHS front office at 617-627-3360.

After-Hours Emergencies (5 p.m. to 9 a.m. and on weekends)

For mental health crises, the after-hours Counselor on Call can be reached by dialing CMHS at 617-627-3360 and following the prompts. For more information, please visit our Mental Health Emergencies page.