Counseling and Psychological Services

CAPS Closure Over Winter Holidays

CAPS will be closed for the winter holidays from Tuesday, December 24, 2019 until Thursday, January 2, 2020.

When CAPS is closed (evenings, weekends, and holidays), USF students can call the CAPS After Hours number at (415) 422-6352 and select the menu option to speak with a professional counselor. The After Hours counselors can assess your situation, provide information and advice, and connect you with other help if needed. USF students attending campuses other than Hilltop can call the CAPS All Hours line at (855) 531-0761 (available 24/7). For additional crisis resources, see the list on our Crisis Referrals page.

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. It is normal to experience adjustment problems, especially during periods of transition. CAPS provides brief, time-limited therapy to enrolled students.

You asked, and we listened! To reduce wait times and meet students' needs, we have started offering a new service, Single Session Therapy (SST), where a specific goal or concern can be addressed in one session. SST is offered by appointment (usually within a week), and 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, as well as special educational events. We also help connect students with resources on and off campus.

Although CAPS staff strive to see students as expediently as possible, there are times during the semester when the center is heavily impacted, most often during midterm and final exams. The typical wait for service is 2 weeks.

There is a $30 no-show fine when a student does not attend an appointment (excluding group therapy) and does not cancel and/or reschedule prior to the appointment start time.

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 start 15 minutes after the hour. For intake (first) appointments, we ask that students arrive 30 minutes before their appointment to complete a computer assessment.

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 in an academic year for assessment and therapy. If you need such a letter, you 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 to 5:00 pm Monday through 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

  • 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.
  • 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 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. A phone number and/or website for your insurer can usually be found on your insurance card. CAPS may refer you for off-campus services after initial assessment if we determine our services will not meet your needs, per our Scope of Services.

If you are  a USF student who needs more information or assistance with finding referrals off campus for therapy and mental health medication services, contact Case Management, which is part of the Office of the Dean of Students. Case Management offers detailed information about the referral process and support to students. Weekly drop-in hours for referral assistance are held on Thursdays between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm at UC 505. If you need additional information or support after reviewing the Case Management website, please email