Columbia University: Columbia Resources That Can Help Support You And Your Mental Health

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health resources have become more critical than ever. Indeed, a recent Mailman School of Public Health study found a high global prevalence of both depression and anxiety during the pandemic. We’ve collected available resources, tools, and research about supporting well-being that are essential during this anxiety-filled time, and always.

For a full list of well-being offices available across the Columbia and Barnard campuses, visit University Life and the CUIMC Office of Student Health. For resources at Teachers College, click here.

For Morningside Students
Columbia Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) offers a range of emotional and mental health support tools and resources. When experiencing an urgent mental health concern, call CPS at 212-854-2878, which is available 24/7, to reach a licensed mental health professional.

Students can also access care for urgent mental health concerns during drop-in hours Mondays-Thursdays from 6-9PM at Lerner Hall, 5th floor. Students are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Check-in closes at 8:30PM.

For less acute, but no less important, ongoing mental health needs, including preventative well-being support, Columbia Health offers a range of coping tools for everything from grief to sleep. Alice! Health Promotion also has a toolkit for surviving stressful periods, dealing with isolation, and understanding your relationships. Speak to a health promotion specialist about your health and well-being questions and how to access resources on campus.

Sexual Violence Response offers 24/7 support 365 days a year via the SVR Helpline at 212-854-HELP (4357).

For Irving Medical Center Students
CUIMC’s Counseling Services offers 24/7 support via chat and phone, in a handful of languages, through a partnership with My Student Support Program (My SSP). Counselors are masters-level clinicians with a minimum of five years of experience.

CUIMC also provides short-term individual therapy and psychiatric treatment as well as skills groups and gathering spaces. Schedule your counseling appointment at 212-305-3400. For more and to download the My SSP app visit this link.

For Faculty and Staff
For information on support for Columbia University employees, visit Human Resources for resources to find a therapist, support group, or wellness coach.

Helping Friends and Recognizing Distress
How can you support a friend who is depressed? Seeking mental health counseling or therapy can create logistical hurdles or have prohibitive costs. GoAskAlice teaches the symptoms of depression and offers advice for broaching a safe and compassionate conversation that keeps everyone’s needs in focus. Columbia Health also offers further training on supporting loved ones and peers who may be in distress through the Friend2Friend program.

“We all experience days or periods from time to time when we struggle with our mental health. That’s why it’s so important to develop healthy habits and practices that we can draw on when we need them.”
– Joseph Defraine Greenwell

Assessing Suicide Risk
Each year more than 700,000 people worldwide die by suicide and many more attempt to end their lives. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the fourth leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds globally.

Suicide, however, is preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions.

One such measure is the Columbia Suicide Severity Risk Scale (C-SSRS), a series of simple questions to assess the severity and immediacy of suicide risk that anyone can ask. Developed by Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber of Columbia Psychiatry and others, the scale has been implemented in many settings, including schools, hospitals, college campuses, defense forces, fire departments, the justice system, primary care, and for scientific research.

The Columbia Lighthouse Project works to promote the Columbia Protocol and to train people on using it worldwide.

Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are approaches to managing stress, anxiety, and depression. Mindfulness is the practice of accepting each moment as it is without pushing it away or clinging to it. It can include a formal meditation practice where we set aside a period of time to do nothing but meditate and it can also include paying attention to something we are already doing such as the food we are eating.

Columbia offers opportunities to practice meditation through CUIMC Student Health on Haven.

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