At Home or Off Campus Mental Health Services

Need to access mental healthcare at home or off campus? These resources can assist you in accessing non-UMass affiliated mental healthcare.

> Does my insurance provide coverage?
> Can I get coverage without a diagnosis?
> What if my income is low?
> Does my employer offer mental health support?
> Can I get substance abuse treatment?
> How do I find a non-UMass provider?
> What if I need more than therapy?

Mental healthcare can support you in coping with life's challenges and recovering from obstacles. If you experience challenges with access and affordability, while away from UMass Amherst start here:

Does my health insurance provide mental health coverage?

Call the phone number on your insurance card listed next to “Behavioral Health Benefits.” If you are not sure what number to call, dial member services and ask them to direct your call. Some questions to ask:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What local in-network providers are accepting new clients?
  • Do I need a referral?
  • How many visits am I allowed?
  • Do I have a copay? Do I have a deductible?
  • Where is my Explanation of Benefits (EOB) sent?
  • Will my parents be notified by my insurance company when I obtain services? If I don’t want this, can I restrict this information?

Some insurance companies:

BlueCross BlueShield
Harvard Pilgrim
Health New England
GIC/Unicare State Indemnity
United Healthcare

I don't have a mental health diagnosis. Can I still get coverage?

Your mental healthcare may be covered even if you do not have a diagnosis. If you're experiencing distress and anxiety, but don't think you meet the criteria for an anxiety or other type of disorder, talk to the therapist you are interested in seeing – therapists are often able to work with insurance companies to get coverage.

Can I obtain mental healthcare if my income is low?

If you receive services through MassHealth, a MassHealth Primary Care Clinician (PCC) Plan, Community Care Cooperative (C3), Partners HealthCare Choice, Steward Health Choice, or BeHealthy Partnership, contact the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP).

The NAMI HelpLine can help you with any non-crisis related mental health issue. For example, you can contact them with question like "Where's the free support group closest to me?" or "How do I find low-cost treatment?" You can also reach them at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

Dialing 211 will connect you with a resource and information helpline in your community that can refer you to things like support groups, low-cost therapy, and other forms of support you might need.

Does my employer have any mental health support resources available?

Check with your employer's human resources department to see if they offer an employee assistance program (EAP). EAPs are confidential and can refer you to licensed counselors for grief or trauma, stress management, anxiety support, relationship issues, and more.

How can I get help for substance abuse?

The mission of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. SAMHSA's treatment locator can connect you to substance abuse and mental health treatment providers (see instructional video). Massachusetts residents can call the Mass Substance Use Helpline at 800-327-5050.

How do I find a non-UMass affiliated mental healthcare provider?

Some UMass students prefer to manage their mental healthcare outside of the campus community. Your primary physician’s office or local hospital may refer you to therapists or outpatient behavioral services. Matching services such as The Shrink Space and Unmute pair you with compatible therapists by zip code, insurance accepted, treatment specialty, language, and more. Online therapy (also known as e-therapy, distance therapy, Internet therapy and web therapy) is an option for many students. Online therapy such as ihope network utilizes a variety of methods such as apps for texting, video chatting, voice messaging and audio messaging. Some other online resources are talkspace and 7cups.

Three things to keep in mind:

  • Similar experience – A clinician with experience treating issues similar to yours will be able to offer more insight and specific support.
  • Type of therapy – There are many different types of therapy. It’s helpful to learn about different therapy orientations so you can find the clinician with a treatment style that works for you.
  • Trust your feelings – You should feel comfortable and safe with your therapist. If the connection does not feel right, try another provider. Sometimes it takes a few tries with different therapists to find the right fit. A professional therapist will respect your choices and should never pressure you or make you feel guilty for discontinuing your sessions.

What can I do if I need something more than therapy?

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) and substance abuse day programs are hospital-based nonresidential treatment programs. These provide diagnostic and treatment services at a similar level of intensity to an inpatient program without 24/7 residency. Check SAMHSA's Find Treatment to find help for disorders (mood, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, eating) and chemical dependency. The intake coordinators at a PHP program can answer questions and let you know whether your insurance is accepted.