Frequently Asked Questions


What do I do in an Emergency?

I want to make an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist. What is an “initial mental health telephone appointment?”

The “initial mental health telephone appointment” is a twenty-minute phone call between you and a Mental Health Services clinician. The purpose of the call is to learn about your concerns and your goals for treatment in order to pair you with the appropriate mental health care provider.

I am in crisis and can’t wait to get an appointment:

  • Call SHS and say you need to speak with a clinician immediately: 212-305-3400.
  • After-hours/weekends: call SHS at 212-305-3400 and dial 7. FONEMED will take your number and the on-call clinician will call you back.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255.
  • Call NYC Well, a 24/7 hotline that’s free and anonymous and lets you talk to a trained counselor: 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355)
  • You can also have an online chat or texting conversation with the counselor. See their website for details.
  • Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

I need emergency medical services but I do not want my classmates and professors working a shift in the ED to know about it:

  • Call SHS, say it is an emergency, and let a SHS clinician coordinate your care. 212-305-3400 (Dial 7 for after-hours).
  • In case of hospitalization or emergency care, SHS can make sure that your confidentiality is protected.
  • SHS will work with the Emergency Department to make sure all medical, nursing and other CUMC students are cleared out of the ED or other facilities, so that you do not have to encounter your peers during your crisis.



What is the role of the 2020 P&S AIMS Reps?

AIMS Reps are confidential resources for fellow students who need help addressing negative habits. We ensure that social events across P&S are inclusive to all people regardless of alcohol consumption habits.  AIMS reps direct students to the AIMS office for confidential consultation if needed. We also offer advice for people concerned about drug testing before MCY.

What do I do if I feel concerned about myself or someone else?

Struggling with addiction is hard, and you shouldn’t have to deal with it alone. Resources at CUMC include:

  • Speak to an AIMS rep. The P&S Class of 2020 has two reps, Sarah and Saul, but you can speak with any AIMS rep from any year or school within CUMC. We are all trained to speak with people about their habits.
  • Visit Stephanie Rozen in the AIMS office (50 Haven Avenue, Bard Hall: Suite 102), who can provide confidential support tailored to your individual goals

How can I learn more about addiction?

The AIMS council across the various schools hosts monthly Addiction Rounds on a wide range of subjects related to patient care, self-care, and health systems. The AIMS office also provides resources confidentially for learning more.



Do I have to enroll in the Columbia Health Insurance plan?

(Note that international students can waive the Aetna plan if they have a US-based plan, including Medicaid)

What does the Columbia Health Insurance plan cover?

What can I access if I don’t have the Columbia Health Insurance plan?

All students are enrolled in the Student Health Service (covered by the SHS fee in your tuition bill).

I have so many more questions about insurance! Help!

The website has a lot of useful information, but feel free to call or stop by the office!



How do I schedule an appointment?

What kind of services are offered?

Where can I find resources tailored toward my race, gender, sex, nationality, family, etc.?

Where are all these offices located and what are their hours?

Students can also access health services at John Jay Hall on the Morningside campus or Brooks Hall on the Barnard campus. Health services at John Jay Hall is also open on Saturdays

What about urgent care?

Insurance will cover urgent care when SHS is closed, but it is best to call SHS for a referral first.

How can I subscribe for the weekly Wellness update?



Where can I find forms (such as for flu vaccine, mental health service consent, petition to enroll/drop health insurance after the deadline, medical record release?

Where can I upload forms and view my health history?



Who are the SHS/AIMS/Wellness student representatives for our class?

2020 SHS: Ben Wagner
2020 AIMS: Saul Lincoln, Sarah Williams
2020 Wellness: Rebecca Breheney, Connor Brown, Alison McIlvride, Joshua Taliaferro

I have a great idea for a campus health initiative. How can I make it happen?

Glad to hear that! You can reach out to any of the student representatives listed above (under “Student representatives for our class”), or submit your idea via this anonymous comment form (NEED LINK TO THE COMMENT FORM).

Where can I provide feedback to Student Health Services?