May 3, 2018

Where to find mental health resources for graduate students?

I would love to find mental health resources specifically for graduate students. I am on Medicaid, and have had trouble finding a long-term counseling in the area. However, the counseling center also has a long wait time for appointments. I’ve considered going to support groups but would prefer to be with people who are similar in age and have similar experiences. I would also prefer to go to a group not led by graduate students, as many of them are my peers/friends. Any advice?


Hi Jane,

I’m glad you reached out to us. Your mental health is so important, yet it can be difficult to navigate all of the services at the UW and off campus — especially if you are already stressed and trying to go at this alone! So I applaud you for seeking support, and hope I can help you get on track to addressing your mental health needs.

I spoke with Natacha Foo Kune, director and psychologist at the Counseling Center, and she provided me with some new information that may help you.

You may already be aware of this — so forgive me if you are — if you need to talk with a mental health counselor, you can schedule an appointment online using our Student Portal or call 206-543-1240.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment the Counseling Center is open during normal business hours. The wait time for a pre-scheduled appointment is about two weeks. The Counseling Center focuses on providing short-term counseling, group therapy and mental health workshops. 

You said you are mostly interested in long-term counseling or group support. The Counseling Center can help you to find appropriate long-term counseling off-campus in two ways: you can schedule an intake appointment to meet with someone and discuss a referral, or you can ask for referrals directly over the phone. In the latter case, the on-call counselor can give you referrals that accept Medicaid or other insurance, as well as an idea of what to expect at several of Seattle’s mental health agencies. Natacha has recommended a few agencies that the Counseling Center has cultivated good relationships with; I have included a few of these agencies in a list titled “(Abbreviated) List of agencies that accept Medicaid” below. You may prefer to skip the step of contacting the Counseling Center and contact the community agencies directly, using this page as a guide.

What might be the benefit of calling the Counseling Center, as opposed to selecting an agency from their website on your own? The Center “can help demystify the process of getting connected with an ongoing therapist and answer questions,” Natacha explains. It’s also a good first step if you are unsure of where to start, what questions to ask or if you are delaying scheduling an appointment with a counselor. Trying to sort out the best option from an extensive list of providers can be an overwhelming task, so asking for a referral from the Counseling Center can help streamline that process and keep you on-track to getting the help you need and deserve.

A student with private insurance may also contact the Counseling Center to get a referral for counselors in private practice, tailored to their expressed needs.

As for support group options, the Counseling Center offers several therapy groups, including some that are geared toward graduate students. We offer a variety of on-campus therapy groups for UW Seattle students focused on developing new skills, coping with stress and much more. You can learn more here. These groups are facilitated by clinical staff at the Counseling Center, so you will not have to worry about a fellow student running the group. The Counseling Center may also be able to refer you to support groups off-campus, if you are interested. They also offer several drop-in mental health services, such as “Let’s Talk” and mindfulness-based workshops. Please see a full list of these services below.

I know this is a lot of information and that addressing your mental health concerns can be a daunting task. The good news is you’ve already taken a step in reaching out to me; keep taking it one step at a time and I’m sure you will find services that will suit your needs.

Please do not hesitate to reach out again if you have any questions or concerns.

All the best,

The Grad School Guru

(Abbreviated) List of Agencies that accept Medicaid:

Mental Health Workshops:

For more information on Mental Health Workshops, please visit the Counseling Center’s workshop and group therapy page.

Ask the Grad School Guru is an advice column for all y’all graduate and professional students. Real questions from real students, answered by real people. If the guru doesn’t know the answer, the guru will seek out experts all across campus to address the issue. (Please note: The guru is not a medical doctor, therapist, lawyer or academic advisor, and all advice offered here is for informational purposes only.) Submit a question for the column →