Counseling and Psychological Services

Introduction to CAPS Services

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) seeks to assist USF students in developing greater self-understanding and help resolve problems that interfere with their optimal personal functioning. Lots of students come to CAPS with a wide range of concerns. CAPS provides brief, time-limited therapy to enrolled students.

You asked, and we listened! To reduce wait times and meet students' needs, CAPS added a new service starting in fall 2019, single-session therapy (SST). SST is offered by appointment (usually within a week) for students who would like to talk to a counselor on a one-time basis to address a specific concern and formulate an action plan. Students can receive up to two SST meetings per semester.

In addition to SST, brief individual therapy, brief couples therapy (both partners must be USF students), and crisis services (see below), CAPS offers a variety of groups and workshops. We also help connect students with resources on and off campus. Visit our Services page to learn more.

Although CAPS staff strive to see students as expediently as possible, there are times during the semester when the center is heavily impacted. The typical wait to begin counseling is 2 weeks.

Making Appointments
To make an appointment at CAPS, please visit or call our office at (415) 422-6352 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. We are located in Gillson Hall, Lower Level. Appointments are 45 minutes long and typically start 15 minutes after the hour. For initial intake appointments, we ask that students arrive 30 minutes before their appointment to complete a computer assessment.

Late Cancellation and Missed Appointment Policy

Because CAPS has a limited number of appointments available, we encourage you to keep your scheduled appointments. If you can't keep an appointment, please cancel or reschedule by calling CAPS prior to the time you were to have your appointment (preferably 24 hours in advance). You can leave a voicemail if you call when our office is closed. If you do not show up for an appointment without cancelling in advance, a $30 fee will be charged to your student account.

Documentation Letters

Please note that CAPS does not provide letters to verify a need for emotional support animals. If you need such a letter, a mental health or medical clinician who has treated you previously may be able to provide it, or you should seek services with a mental health clinician off campus.

Also note that CAPS does not provide accommodation letters for students we have seen fewer than three times for assessment and therapy in an academic year. Students seeking such a letter who are not existing CAPS clients should seek services with a mental health clinician off campus or ask an off-campus clinician who is currently/has recently assessed and treated you.

Mental Health Crises

CAPS Crisis Appointments

Students will be seen at CAPS the same day during business hours (8:30 am–5:00 pm Monday–Friday) for mental health crises/emergencies. If a student is not in crisis but has urgent concerns, we will make every effort to schedule a meeting with a counselor as soon as we are able, but same-day meetings are not guaranteed. Please see crisis criteria below.

Student Is in IMMEDIATE Danger Student Is NOT IN IMMEDIATE Danger
  • HAS CURRENT INTENTION AND/OR PLAN to attempt suicide or to inflict bodily harm on someone else
  • WITHIN THE PAST 4 WEEKS tried to kill themselves or seriously harm someone else
  • WITHIN THE PAST 4 WEEKS was released from an inpatient psychiatric facility
  • WITHIN THE PAST WEEK slept 4 hours or less two nights in a row without feeling tired afterward
  • WITHIN THE PAST 2 WEEKS has been seeing or hearing things others do not, while sober
  • WITHIN THE PAST 2 WEEKS experienced physical, sexual, or other type of severe trauma
  • WITHIN THE PAST 2 WEEKS experienced the death of a loved one
  • CURRENT racing heart rate, difficulty breathing, AND intense feeling of impending doom
  •  Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Self-injury (without intention to die)
  • Problems with alcohol or other drugs
  • Adjustment difficulties
  • Relationship break-up
  • Eating or body image concerns
  • Self-esteem
  • Academic distress
  • Relationship concerns (family, partner, friends, classmates, advisers)
  • Struggles in making life decisions
  • Impact of discrimination/harassment
  • Past experiences of trauma

Learn more about the signs of suicidality and ways you can help someone who is suicidal.

Staff or faculty seeking support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program via CONCERN, which is also accessible 24/7 by calling 800-344-4222.

Crisis Help After Hours

Campus Resources

  • The CAPS After Hours line is available from 5:00 pm to 8:30 am on weekdays and 24/7 on weekends and holidays by calling (415) 422-6352 and pressing 2 when prompted for a free mental health consultation by and support from a professional counselor.
  • The CAPS All Hours line, (855) 531-0761, provides free support and consultation to USF students who attend campus locations other than Hilltop; this number is available 24 hours daily including weekends and most holidays.

Other Resources

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (800) 273-TALK (8255), is a toll-free 24/7 hotline providing crisis support and intervention.
  • Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 support service for those in crisis. Text BAY to 741741 to text with a trained peer crisis counselor. If you are a person of color who wishes to text with a Crisis Text Line peer counselor of color, text STEVE to 741741.
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health Behavioral Health Services has a 24/7 Access Line, (415) 255-3737 or (888) 246-3333, to provide support and connect residents of San Francisco (primarily serving those on Medi-Cal, San Francisco Health Plan members, and other San Francisco residents with limited resources) to counseling within 48 hours.
  • The San Francisco Mobile Crisis Team, (415) 355-8300, provides crisis assistance to San Francisco residents by phone or on location; available Monday through Friday, 11 am to 11 pm, and weekends 12 noon to 7 pm.
  • Westside Community Crisis, (415) 355-0311, provides drop-in counseling services to San Francisco residents at 245 11th Street and is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm, and Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm (closed Sundays and holidays).
  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Services, (628) 206-8125, is located at 1001 Potrero Avenue and offers mental health crisis assessment and support 24/7.


CAPS does not offer medication services. Contact your primary doctor and/or your insurance company for information about psychiatric service providers nearby who take your insurance. CAPS and Student Life Case Management can also provide information and guidance in finding off-campus medication services using your insurance or for low or sliding-scale fees if needed.

Ongoing and Specialty Therapy Services

CAPS offers brief, intermittent therapy. If you are seeking ongoing weekly therapy, treatment for serious mental health conditions, or specialized services such as intensive eating disorder or substance use treatment, please contact your insurance company for information about providers in the area who accept your insurance. Contact information for your insurance company can usually be found on their website or insurance card. CAPS may refer you for off-campus services after initial assessment or at any point during treatment if we determine our services will not meet your needs, per our Scope of Services.

Spring 2020 Groups

CAPS Spring 202 Groups QR Code

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After Hours Phone Number 415.422.6352