Health and Wellness

Both Health Service and Counseling and Mental Health at Tufts are made up of diverse teams of healthcare professionals who are passionate about providing comprehensive and integrative health and wellness care that helps all undergraduate and graduate students enhance and maintain their physical, social and emotional health. We offer free, respectful and confidential primary medical care, mental health care, preventive services, and health promotion to help our diverse student population achieve their goals inside and outside the classroom. Through partnerships with other campus departments, student organizations, and the community, we seek to enhance the health of the Tufts community and advocate for a respectful environment that enables healthy choices and fosters positive health decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Optional Tuition Insurance
What is Tuition Insurance, and how can my student enroll?

Every year, college students around the country navigate many physical or mental health challenges, and some students unexpectedly take time away from their studies. Our departments work closely with Tufts students whose health issues may significantly impact their ability to complete a semester. Reasons for a medical leave vary, and can stem from a concussion, a prolonged bout of mononucleosis, problems with depression or anxiety, or many other health-related conditions beyond one's control. The University provides a graded tuition refund for all medical leaves taken at the beginning of each semester; beyond the first six weeks of each term a student who takes a medical leave without insurance forfeits a substantial portion - or the entirety - of the payments made toward that semester's tuition.

Tuition insurance is meant to safeguard your financial commitment should an unexpected health concern necessitate that your Tufts student take a medical leave of absence this year. Participation in the Tuition Refund Plan is entirely optional, but we strongly encourage you consider enrolling. If you wish to enroll online, please submit the application and payment by the first day of classes. Applications will not be accepted after that date. Questions can be directed to Dewar at 617-774-1555.

Learn More About Coverage

View the Application for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020

Health and Wellness Fee and Health Insurance
What is the difference between the Health and Wellness Fee and Student Health Insurance?

The Health and Wellness Fee is mandatory, set by the Trustees, and covers the cost of running a comprehensive outpatient health service and Counseling Center. The fee covers unlimited primary care and walk-in visits to Health Service and access to the Counseling Center, along with an annual flu shot if available for those who desire inoculation. Laboratory tests, prescribed medications, consultation with on and off-campus medical specialists, and hospital care are not covered by the Health and Wellness Fee. Contact the Health Service Business Office for additional information.

Please note that the Health and Wellness Fee is not refunded or prorated after the beginning of the academic year. If a student is enrolled in the Student Health Insurance plan, both the charge and the plan benefits remain in place through the end of the contract period.

Tufts students are required to have health insurance (it’s a Massachusetts state law and federal requirement). The University offers a comprehensive Student Health Insurance plan for undergraduate and graduate students and, if needed, their spouses and children through UnitedHealthcare StudentResources, one of the largest student health insurance providers in the country. Student Health Insurance is an ACA compliant policy, and we do recommend you compare it to your present policy. Once enrolled, your student will have health insurance coverage for a full year.

My student is covered under my private insurance. Can we waive the Student Health Insurance plan?

All Tufts students (undergraduates and graduates) are required to be covered by health insurance (it’s a Massachusetts state law and federal requirement). All undergraduates and graduate students who are half time or more are billed and enrolled in the Student Health Insurance plan. If you are covered by a separate policy, the policy must be through a U.S.-based insurance company and comparable to the student health plan.

If your student is covered by a separate policy, please make sure they complete the Health Insurance Waiver on their SIS account on the “Bills & Balances” tab. This waiver process is required every year and is available June 1st - July 31st. Please note: this waiver does not exempt undergraduate students from the mandatory Health and Wellness fee.

Health Service
What should a first year student bring to help monitor their health?

Help your student create a kit that includes a thermometer, band-aids, pain reliever/fever medication, and their health insurance card.

When is Health Service open?

Please check our website for the most up-to-date hours of operation.

Where can my student receive services when Health Service is closed?

When Health Service is closed, please review our After Hours information.

Where can they get the flu shot?

Flu clinics are held every October. Seasonal influenza vaccines are available to students at Health Service at no cost while supplies last. Flu season usually begins in October and can last through May.

Where is the nearest pharmacy?

There is a Rite Aid/Walgreens and CVS in Davis Square. We also work with an independent pharmacy in Cambridge called Inman Pharmacy that will deliver prescriptions to Health Service. Students can set up their own account with Inman Pharmacy.

I’m concerned about my student. Who can I contact?

If you are concerned about the well-being of your student, you can contact the office of Residential Life, the Dean of Student Affairs Office, or the Counseling Center.

If you would like to speak to a counselor about a mental health concern you are having about your student, including how to be helpful to them at a difficult time, you can call Counseling and Mental Health Services and ask to speak with one of our staff: 617-627-3360.

My student is not feeling well. Can they be excused from their academic responsibilities?

Health Service only provides "Medical Notes" in limited circumstances. Students who are temporarily too ill or injured to take an in-class mid-term or final exam will be offered medical documentation. They must be seen prior to the exam, must notify their professor prior to the exam, and must be significantly ill. Medical documentation is not provided for those with colds or oversleeping an exam. These guidelines do not apply to those with documented disabilities who have been granted academic accommodations by Student Accessibility Services. For more information you can access the Medical Illness Documentation Policy.

All other academic responsibilities that are impacted by medical illness should be communicated directly between student and professor, using the Short-term Illness Notification form in SIS. Submitting this form does not excuse academic work but merely serves as an official notification to the instructor. Students must still negotiate how they can meet their academic responsibilities, and should communicate with their Advising Dean if the medical issue persists beyond a few days. To access the Illness Notification Form, students should log in to SIS, click on "Student Living," and choose "Webcenter" from the drop down menu.

Are you bound by the Confidentiality laws and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?

Like all clinicians, we are bound by law and professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of a student’s medical care.

Can I talk to the clinician about my student's illness?

Students are afforded confidentiality for their medical concerns. Students often request that we speak with their parent, and we are happy to do so with their permission. When students are more ill, our clinicians will often proactively ask students if we can contact parents. However, per HIPAA, we require verbal consent from the student before speaking to a parent or family member.

Should I get a HIPAA authorization/medical power of attorney/durable power of attorney in case my student has a medical emergency?

It is not necessary to get a HIPAA authorization/medical power of attorney/durable power of attorney as students have already signed a consent for their parents to be contacted in the event of a life-threatening emergency by someone at the University as part of their medical pre-entrance form.

I have a HIPAA authorization/medical power of attorney/durable power of attorney for any services my student might need in a medical emergency. Who should I provide a copy to?

There is no way to know which Hospital will need this document in case of an emergency. We recommend you keep it in your possession should you need to retrieve it in an emergency.

Counseling and Mental Health Service (CMHS)
Why do students go to CMHS?

Students come for a wide variety of reasons, including addressing personal concerns, getting assistance with referrals to providers in the community, consulting when they are worried about a friend, etc.

What is counseling like?

Counseling is essentially a confidential conversation, centering on the student and their concerns. In addition to support, counselors may offer various strategies and skills for working on the issues brought to counseling.

What is group therapy?

Support and therapy groups are an opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, encouragement, and feedback in a safe and confidential environment. The experience often deepens self-awareness and enhances relationship skills as well.

How much does counseling cost?

Counseling sessions are free for eligible students. We offer psychiatry services for a fee that is generally lower than fees in the private sector, and is included in the benefit package for students who have purchased the student health insurance.

What other resources are available to support students?

There are a variety of on-campus services, resources, and supports available to Tufts students, including BetterHelp, the Self Help portion of our website, Student Accessibility Services, Academic Resource Center, Dean of Student Affairs Office, Office of Equal Opportunity, CARE, and University Chaplaincy. There are also off-campus resources available to students through the JED Foundation. We’re happy to identify and help connect your student with resources both on and off campus. Many students also benefit from seeking support from friends, family, trusted faculty members, Residential Staff, or others.

When is the Counseling Center open?

For information on our hours and locations, please visit our About Us page.

How can students schedule an appointment?

To make an appointment at CMHS, students can call 617-627-3360 or stop by our office anytime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Our staff will work with them to find a time that best fits their schedule and the counselor’s availability.

How quickly can students be seen?

Routine initial counseling appointments are usually available within a week, although at peak times it can be longer.

Do you have walk-in appointments?

Given our volume, we are unable to keep appointments open in the case of walk-ins. However, if a student has an urgent concern, they can call the front desk staff who will help connect them with someone who can assist them: 617-627-3360.

Is counseling available 24/7?

Regular counseling appointments are available during business hours. However, in case of a mental health emergency, there is a Counselor-on-Call anytime the Counseling Center is closed. Call 617-627-3030 after hours and Public Safety will connect you with the Counselor-on-Call.

How many sessions can a student receive?

We offer brief counseling services for students based on an individualized plan co-created by the student and their counselor. There is not a pre-set number of sessions, although the duration is rarely beyond about a semester. The type and length of counseling is tailored to the specific needs of each student.

What should we do during a mental health emergency?

Reaching out for help is an important step. The following information is designed to serve as a guide whether you have a serious concern for your own safety or for someone you care about. Do not worry alone.

  • We offer 24-hour crisis intervention counseling for anyone at risk of dangerous or life-threatening mental health emergencies.
  • For emergencies during office hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday), contact the CMHS front office at 617-627-3360.
  • For After-Hours Emergencies (5 p.m. to 9 a.m.), contact the Counselor-on-Call by calling Tufts University Police at 617-627-3030, and they will connect you with the counselor-on-call line.​
Why do students get referred to providers in the community?

Students who would benefit from more frequent meetings over a longer period of time are often referred to providers in the community. On-campus care is necessarily brief in nature and not an appropriate substitute for a long-term therapy relationship.

How can my student find an off-campus provider?

CMHS is able to refer students to off-campus providers in the local community. See our Off-Campus Referral Guide to get started.

Can my student be referred to psychiatry?

At Tufts Counseling and Mental Health Service (CMHS), we offer psychiatric services for Tufts students as an adjunct to counseling. To have medication managed by our psychiatry service, the student must be actively participating in counseling or psychotherapy. Because our counseling services are available for brief interventions only, students will probably need to seek ongoing treatment from a therapist in the community.

I am concerned about my student. Who can I contact?

If you are concerned about your student’s mental health, encourage them to come in to see one of our counselors. We do ask that students call to make their own appointments: 617-627-3360.

If you would like to speak to a counselor about concerns you are having about your student, including how to be helpful to them at a difficult time, you can call the CMHS and ask to speak with one of our staff: 617-627-3360.

Are you bound by the Confidentiality laws and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?

Confidentiality is critical to the success of the counseling endeavor, and we adhere to all legal and professional guidelines pertaining to the confidentiality of student counseling information. We cannot share whether we have, or have not, seen or heard from your student, even if they have told you themselves that they are coming to see a counselor.

We do want to hear from you if you have serious concerns about your student and are worried about their safety. Please remember that the counselor who speaks with you will not be able to tell you whether or not they know your student. We may need to discuss any information you share with us with your student.

Can I talk to the clinician about my student?

If you would like to speak to a counselor about concerns you are having about your student, including how to be helpful to them at a difficult time, you can call the CMHS and ask to speak with one of our staff: 617-627-3360.

Health Promotion and Prevention
How can I help my student navigate the alcohol and drugs environment?

During your time at Tufts, your student will be introduced to new values, standards, and guidelines that will help them successfully navigate their college experience. Your student will be challenged in new situations -- some that may involve alcohol or drugs. Health Promotion is here to help them make the safest, healthiest decisions possible.

How can I help my student prepare for mid-terms and finals?

There are 5 ways to boost your brain that are often surprising to students. Contrary to popular belief, they do not involve doing all-nighters and drinking caffeine to study beyond one's capacity.

My student is under a lot of stress. How can I help them?

Health Promotion understands that stress is a major factor in many students lives. Our mindfulness initiative is geared to help reduce the stress in students’ lives. The initiative was organized in partnership with Counseling and Mental Health Service, University Chaplaincy, Office of Residential Life and Learning, and Cambridge Health Alliance. Read the Director of Health Promotion and Prevention Ian Wong's interview with The Tufts Daily on campus efforts to lower students' stress.

My student is not getting enough sleep. How can I help?

Quality sleep is key for a developing and learning brain. We provide some tips on how to getter better sleep.

How can I help my student improve their grades and their health?

Exercise improves memory and reduces stress. Start small with some of the ideas posted on our website.

Are there activities on and around campus that are alcohol free?

Sometimes it's fun to do something different. There are plenty of substance-free social options for students on campus, nearby in Davis Square, or a short T ride away in Boston.

What are the resources for students in recovery?

We understand the unique challenges that students in recovery face in the college environment. Tufts is committed to helping students in recovery through a network of supports and resources throughout campus and in the local community. We strive to create a nurturing and supportive environment where students in recovery are empowered to achieve, personal, academic, and professional goals.