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Please Note: In an effort to protect the health of all students, staff, and the Upstate community during the COVID-19 pandemic, SCS will provide services remotely via televideo until it is deemed safe to provide in-person care. Please note that students must be physically present in New York State to receive tele-services from SCS.

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All matriculated, actively enrolled Upstate students are eligible for an initial consultation with SCS. Recommendations about further services are made based upon the student’s clinical needs and may include referral to the community if we judge that this is the best avenue to meet those needs.

SCS does not provide services to students on extended leaves of absence. SCS also does not provide services that are mandated or required by any academic, judicial, or other party. Students who are mandated to receive counseling may contact SCS for referrals to the community.

All SCS services are free to matriculated students; however, students are responsible for the cost of any medications that may be prescribed.

Students in Crisis

In the case of a genuine emergency, students should call 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency room. Students not wishing to be seen at Upstate's emergency room can go to CPEP at St. Joseph's Hospital (301 Prospect Ave., Syracuse, 315-448-6555). CPEP (Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anyone with an emotional or psychiatric crisis. Students in crisis may also contact University Public Safety at 464-4000 for assistance.

Other options include:

  • CONTACT (315-251-0600) provides free, anonymous 24-hour telephone counseling, crisis intervention, and referral for ongoing services.
  • Crisis Text Line provides free, anonymous crisis intervention via text https://www.crisistextline.org/

Please note that Student Counseling does not provide 24-hour crisis services. Phone messages left after business hours will not be received until the following business day. Students in crisis during business hours may call 464-3138. Let the secretary know that your need is urgent when you call. We will return your call as soon as possible to determine if follow-up assistance or intervention may be indicated.

For more options in crisis situations:

Individual Counseling

Students interested in services will have an initial consultation with a staff psychologist. Further recommendations will be based on that meeting and may include ongoing counseling through Student Counseling. Counseling can help students address a variety of concerns, including stress management, adjustment difficulties, anxiety and relationship problems. Most students find brief intervention - often six sessions or less - to be sufficient to meet their needs; however, the length of counseling is determined on a case-by-case basis by the student and his/her therapist. Students presenting with significant mental health issues or difficulties that require long-term psychotherapy may be referred to a community provider. In such cases students are responsible for the cost of services.

Sometimes, students ask to work only with a therapist of a particular gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnicity. Student Counseling seeks to provide an environment in which students feel safe exploring difficult personal issues; however, this safety is based on much more than a therapist’s demographics. We believe that judging a therapy’s potential effectiveness solely by the therapist’s personal characteristics is harmful to both student and therapist. For these reasons, Student Counseling does not practice demographic-based “matching” of students with therapists.

Psychiatric Referral/Treatment

Our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner provides consultations and ongoing management of psychotropic medications to students in need of such services. Although this service is free, the cost of prescribed medication and any associated lab work is the student's responsibility.

Please note that SCS does not provide stimulant treatment for ADD/ADHD or other conditions without a recent, comprehensive diagnostic evaluation by a licensed mental health professional to support the need for such treatment, nor does SCS provide treatment with benzodiazepines. Students in need of such treatment may be referred to a community provider for services. Students who need formal evaluations to document the presence of ADD/ADHD or other disorders or disabling conditions will be referred to community providers for those specialized services.

Referral for Disability Evaluations

Students seeking academic or other types of accommodations (e.g., emotional support animals) for learning disabilities, ADHD or psychiatric disabilities should be advised that Student Counseling does not provide evaluations or letters to document the presence of disabling disorders and does not make recommendations to the University concerning accommodations. Students in need of such evaluations are invited to call Student Counseling at 464-3138 for referrals to clinicians in the community. Students should contact the Office of Disability Services directly to learn more about the process of obtaining accommodations.

Group Services/Experiences

Student Counseling offers groups where students learn skills to manage stress, improve wellbeing, and connect with peers in a supportive, therapeutic space. Groups are offered at various times of the year and are generally limited to 8 students at a time to promote meaningful engagement; please contact SCS at scs@upstate.edu for more information. Sometimes, students will be referred to a group after initial consultation in lieu of or in addition to individual services.

Groups have included:

SOS Stress Management

SOS is a 4- to 6-session group that runs four to six times each year. The group offers cognitive-behavioral approaches to learning practical skills to reduce stress and anxiety, including mindfulness, relaxation strategies, changing unhelpful thinking and behavior patterns, improving life-school alignment, and interpersonal skills.

Art Therapy Group

This 4-session weekly group offers students an opportunity to explore personal experiences and difficulties through the creative process. No artistic skill is required!


Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress and improve attention and focus. This group provides instruction in mindfulness-based stress reduction, including breathing, body scan, and meditation techniques.