Community Referrals

SHCS Counseling Services offers short-term, time-limited therapy to registered UC Davis students. The initial appointment is intended to help clarify students' needs and provide recommendations for the next appropriate step. Time-limited counseling at SHCS might be an option. If open ended counseling or assessment would be the next best step, SHCS provides support to transition to professionals in the community.

In addition to Individual Counseling, SHCS offers a variety of groups to help students. Some groups are brief and some are long-term.

  • cope with stress
  • increase self-esteem
  • manage grief and loss
  • address eating concerns
  • enhance their athletic performance
  • explore relationship and academic concerns.

If you are looking for an off campus referral to access mental health services, here are the steps to get a referral to a community provider.

Meet With an SHCS Provider

There are a few ways that you can obtain an off campus mental health related referral.

  • Through a SHCS Mental Health provider 
  • Calling or stopping by 219 North Hall
  • Your SHCS Primary Care provider
  • SHCS Insurance Services office

An initial appointment with a SHCS Mental Health provider can help clarify which type of therapy (short-term vs long-term) is recommended, and will help to guide the referral process. In most cases, either a follow up appointment for short-term therapy will be scheduled, or a referral to a community provider will be made for long-term therapy. If you need some help navigating the off campus referral process, you may schedule an appointment with a Mental Health Advocacy Specialist at North Hall.

Identify Insurance Options

UC Davis Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP)

If you have UC SHIP insurance, you will need to speak with a SHCS provider to request a referral to see an off campus provider. After speaking with a SHCS provider, and obtaining authorization, go to the Insurance Services office at the Student Health and Wellness Center to pick up the referral that you will take to your first visit with a community counselor. Insurance Services can also answer questions about your coverage such as the amount of your co-payment.

Private or Other Insurance

If you will use private insurance, you do not need a referral from a SHCS provider. You will need to contact your private insurance to determine if you will need to see your primary care provider prior to seeing a community mental health provider. You will need to locate a provider that is contracted with your private insurance coverage. 

You can consult with a Mental Health Advocacy Specialist about getting connected with an off campus provider, and for help navigating the process of getting established with a community provider.

Contact Referrals

Finding a counselor who will be a good fit for you is important. Often this relationship is one of the most important aspects of counseling. You have an opportunity to speak with referrals on the phone and can ask questions to help you determine if they might be a good match for you.

Some aspects of a counselor that might be important to you: therapeutic style, theoretical orientation, cultural identities (e.g., ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation), areas of expertise, language, or other factors. You might want a counselor who is more directive or one who lets you take the lead.

If you have specific questions, and if getting some feedback before you make an appointment is important to you, ask the community provider in advance.

Sample scripts for initial call


Hi, my name is ___________ , and I am a UC Davis student. I am wondering if you are taking new clients. I am looking to start ____________(state what type of therapy you are requesting, e.g., individual, couples, family counseling).


I have _____________(state your type of insurance). Would you bill my insurance directly?

Would you be able to provide billing statements for me to submit for insurance reimbursement?

Do you have a sliding fee scale for students? If so, how much do you charge per session?


Do you do ___________ testing?

What kind of documentation are you able to provide? (e.g., disability) What documents do you need from me?


What is your general style in working with clients?

Do you have particular training or experience in working with clients with my concerns?