Mental Health Counseling

It’s normal to be stressed out when you’re a college student. Whether you’re worried about your grades, your friends or a personal crisis, we’re here to help you. Counseling — also known as mental health counseling — is available at no cost to all undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at UB. 

On this page:

What is Counseling?

When you go to counseling, you can expect to have open and honest discussions with a trained counselor in a safe environment. As you talk about your feelings, behaviors, relationships, life experiences and circumstances, your counselor will work with you to help you identify your strengths, find resources, and begin a process of change and growth. Ultimately, this process is designed to help you make healthy choices and take appropriate actions, so you can have more satisfying relationships and make greater progress toward your life goals.

Free for All UB Students

Counseling is available at no cost to all undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at UB. These services are voluntary, confidential as permitted by law, and free (the cost is covered by the mandatory comprehensive fee). Students can contact Counseling Services if they need counseling, or if they know a student who may be in crisis. All racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientations, and age differences are fully respected.

Private and Confidential

Participation in counseling is private and confidential as permitted by law. In fact, counselors are under ethical and legal obligations not to release confidential information.

Unless the student provides written permission:

  • Counselors will not provide anyone with information about a student
  • Counselors will not let others know that a student is in counseling
  • Information about counseling will not go into a student’s academic record
  • Information about counseling will not be given to parents, family or the government (including home governments for international students)

The only exceptions to sharing information about a student in counseling are those rare times when it is clear that a person’s life is in danger, when a child appears to be in danger of being harmed, or when the information is required by a court of law (i.e., subpoenaed) within the United States. We encourage students to discuss any concerns they have about confidentiality with their counselor.

Trained and Experienced Counselors

When you meet with a counselor, you are seeing someone who has experience helping students deal with a wide range of personal and academic difficulties. The Counseling Services staff includes qualified, trained mental health professionals, as well as advanced graduate student interns with backgrounds in psychology and social work. A psychiatric nurse practitioner is also available to evaluate the need for and to prescribe medication, as appropriate.

Why Go to Counseling?

When you’re in a crisis or dealing with stress, you may find it helpful to talk with a trained counselor. Every semester, students come to Counseling Services to get help with a variety of concerns, including:

  • Personal issues: stress, anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, self-defeating behaviors, grief, suicidal feelings, different emotional states
  • Relationship issues: romantic relationship difficulties (finding, enhancing or ending a relationship), sexual concerns, roommate problems, family problems, getting along with others
  • Developmental issues: sense of identity, sexual orientation, adjustment to college, life transitions, cultural identity and adjustment
  • Academic concerns: performance anxiety, perfectionism, underachievement, procrastination, choice of major or career, life purpose and direction
  • International students: adjusting to U.S. culture, language difficulties, separation from family and friends, dating people from different cultures, coping with worries about visa and immigration issues
  • Other issues: effects of trauma, rape or sexual assault, substance abuse, body image (including eating disorders), healthy lifestyle choices, past or current sexual or physical abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, life-threatening illnesses

What to Expect at Your First Appointment

When you contact Counseling Services, you will start by making an initial assessment appointment with a counselor. During this meeting:

  • You will be asked to describe your concerns and what you hope to gain from counseling
  • You and your counselor can decide whether Counseling Services is the best place for help
  • Your counselor will recommend appropriate services based on your needs, whether that’s individual counseling, group counseling, or another resource (either on-campus or off-campus)

Some students find that the initial interview itself is all they need to explore and clarify their feelings, learn about their options, and feel more in control of their situation.

Types of Counseling Available

Counseling Services offers counseling for groups and individuals — including emergency counseling and someone to talk to 24/7.

Group Counseling

Explore personal issues, share common concerns and learn about the way you interact with others. Group counseling provides a unique opportunity for you to try out new ways of behaving and discover new skills. Your counselor will recommend group counseling when he or she believes it is the best way to address your concerns. There is no limit to the number of group counseling sessions you can attend.

What is Group Counseling?

Group counseling is a natural extension of the way you live your daily life, interacting with others. But instead of talking with people in your family, social networks or classes, you talk confidentially with other students who share your concerns, and with counselors who can help you.

What You Can Expect

A typical group includes 6-12 students and 1-2 therapists, and meets once per week. At group counseling, you will usually recreate the issues that brought you to counseling in the first place. Under the skilled direction of the group therapists, the group is able to give support, offer alternatives, or — when appropriate — gently confront you. By following this process, you can address your concerns, learn alternative behaviors, and develop new ways of relating to people.

You Decide How Much to Share

How much you talk about yourself depends upon what you are comfortable with. You will not be forced to tell all of your deepest thoughts, feelings and secrets to the group. You control what you share with the group; in fact, we encourage you not to share until you’re ready. Group leaders are there to help develop a safe environment, and ensure that you will not be verbally attacked by leaders or other group members. We understand that you may be anxious at first. But even if you have trouble talking with other people, we find that almost everyone starts sharing with the group after a few sessions. People remember what it’s like to be new to the group, which means they’ll be likely to support you when you begin to share.

You Are Not Alone

During group counseling, you will see that other people may have the same types of difficulties that you are facing. We work hard to create a strong level of trust, so everyone in the group can talk openly and honestly. When this happens, students and therapists see that they care about each other, and can help each other deal with the issues they may be facing. Groups normalize struggles and members learn from each other.

More Efficient Than Individual Counseling

Some people mistakenly think that group counseling will take longer than individual counseling because you will have to share the time with others. Actually, group counseling is often more efficient than individual counseling for numerous reasons:

  • Even when you don’t say much, you can benefit by listening carefully to others. You will likely find that you have a lot in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern you can learn more about yourself.
  • Group members will often bring up issues that are relevant to you, but that you might not have been aware of, or brought up yourself.

Group Counseling Topics

Different types of groups are offered each semester. Some groups are designed for a specific population or issue, while others consist of skill building and experiential learning.

FALL 2018 Group Schedule

Group Pre-Requisites

* Students must complete an Initial Assessment at Counseling Services to participate in all groups except International Tea Time. Contact Counseling Services for more information.  

* Groups begin meeting early/mid-September when they will be closed to new students. Please secure your spot in the group you are interested in early via our initial assessment.

Coping Skills

Mondays: 11:00-12:30 (202 Michael Hall)
Wednesdays: 1:00-2:30 (120 Richmond)

This structured group will teach skills to live in the present, deal with stress, manage difficult emotions, and handle interpersonal conflict.

International Tea Time *

Mondays: 5:00-6:30 (240 Student Union)

This is a weekly free meeting to bring together U.S. and international students for conversation and fun. Students play games, talk, and enjoy getting to know each other. International tea and snacks are provided. 

* Weekly drop-in format, does NOT require an initial assessment

Connections

Mondays: 1:00-2:30 (120 Richmond)

This group provides a warm and supportive environment in which you can experiment constructively with new ways of relating to others, share personal experiences, express fears and concerns, and get support and feedback. People participate in this group for a number of reasons including having difficulties in relationships, finding their relationships are not satisfying, being curious about how others perceive them, and seeking support when experimenting with new relational behaviors.

Mindful Self Compassion

Tuesdays: 3:00-4:30 (202 Michael Hall)

Self-compassion involves being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Self-compassion is the opposite of ignoring our pain or punishing ourselves with self-judgment or self-criticism. Research suggests that the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion can help people regulate emotions, engage in healthy self-care, and respond to adversity in resilient ways. This group is designed to help you learn the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion in order to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and life challenges in healthy and balanced ways.

Men's Group

Thursdays: 2:30-4:00 (202 Michael Hall)

The Men’s Group is a space for men to discuss what it means to be a man in identity and relationships. We draw on men’s ability to build teams and form bonds as a way for members to provide and receive support in becoming the best version of themselves. The topics covered often include spoken and unspoken expectations men face, building friendships, romantic relationships and sexuality, and finding strength in vulnerability. The group is open to anyone who identifies as a man regardless of gender expression.

iRest Meditation

Mondays 3:00-4:15 (120 Richmond)

iRest recognizes that we interpret our human experiences through cognitions, emotions, and somatically, as physical sensations in the body. Through guided, progressive meditations, clients look more deeply into and even welcome these constantly changing “messengers.”   Moving gradually from the more tangible (body and breath) to the more subtle (cognitions and emotions) clients cultivate introspective awareness, which can lead to a stronger sense of feeling secure and safe with themselves. Grounded in this perspective, they can feel more connected to themselves, others and also tap into their unchanging wholeness of Being.  No previous meditation experience necessary.

Adult Children of Alcoholics Support & Recovery

Wednesdays: 3:00-4:30  (120 Richmond)

This group provides a safe and welcoming therapeutic space for students who come from or are currently enmeshed with families with alcohol abuse issues. The characteristics, patterns and dynamics of an adult child of an alcoholic will be shared and explored. Time will be given to connect with others from similar backgrounds and get support. Members must not currently be abusing alcohol or substances themselves to participate in group.

Yoga to Manage Moods

Thursdays: 1:30-2:30, September 12-October 11 (202 Michael Hall) 

A co-ed Hatha Yoga group that provides a holistic approach to mood and symptom management. Using a combination of gentle physical poses, breathing and relaxation techniques, this group allows participants to feel more connected and balanced within the body and mind. A trauma sensitive, person-centered approach will be utilized and no previous yoga experience is necessary. 

Nourish

Thursdays: 1:00-2:30, October 25-December 6 (202 Michael Hall)

Nourish is a six-week interactive group for women dealing with food and body image concerns. This group integrates Hatha Yoga (gentle physical poses, breathing techniques, relaxation, meditation) and experiential activities. The intent is to assist participants to connect to the present moment, challenge negative thoughts, manage symptoms and feel more balanced and nourished within the body and mind.  Utilizing self-compassion and acceptance, participants will learn to embrace and live in their bodies more effectively.  A trauma sensitive, person-centered approach will be utilized and no previous yoga experience is necessary.

ED/BI Support Group

Thursdays: 9:00-10:00 (Athletics)

This group provides a warm and supportive environment in which student-athletes can discuss the pressures of having a particular body ideal for their sport. Members will be able to receive encouragement from fellow student-athletes, share their personal stories free-of-judgement from others, and explore ways to improve the athletic culture’s conversation about food, nutrition, and body image. Male and female student-athletes welcome.

International Student Support Group

Thursdays: 3:00-4:30 (120 Richmond)

This group will provide a safe, supportive, and comfortable place to discuss adjustment and cross-cultural experiences in the U.S. The group will also provide a safe and confidential environment for group members to support each other and share information.

Graduate/Non-traditional Student Group

Thursdays: 1:00-2:30 (120 Richmond)

This group is designed to allow graduate and non-traditional students to explore the unique challenges they face in a safe and supportive environment. It can help students explore their identity, find new ways of relating to others, recognize how stressors impact them, and share personal experiences. The group can assist students in finding alternative ways of looking at life’s challenges to enable the development of healthier coping strategies.

Individual Counseling

Some students meet privately with a counselor to work one-on-one through personal concerns. In this relationship, the counselor works closely with you to help you understand yourself — and the world around you — more accurately.

For example, your counselor may help you understand your feelings and behaviors, your relationships with others, and your particular situation, choices and decisions. Through these discussions, you can grow toward having greater freedom, making more mature choices, and taking responsible actions with your personal life, relationships, family and studies.

We offer short-term counseling; most students who receive individual counseling are seen for less than one semester.

Languages available

The following languages are spoken by counselors: Bulgarian, Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

International Student Support

Whether you need help adjusting to life in the United States, you miss your family, or you just feel that things aren’t going as well as you planned, we’re here to help. Counseling is commonly used in the U.S. by students who are dealing with personal issues. We encourage you to contact Counseling Services, and talk with someone about your concerns. All racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation and age differences are fully respected.

Languages available

The following languages are spoken by counselors: Bulgarian, Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

Couples Counseling

Are you having problems with your relationship? We can help. Couples counseling works toward alleviating the strains in a close relationship.

Urgent Care Counseling

Emergency Consultations

Counselors are available 24/7 to help with emergencies that require immediate attention. If you are worried about yourself, a family member, roommate or friend, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.

University at Buffalo
120 Richmond Quadrangle, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14261

Phone: (716) 645-2720; Fax: (716) 645-2175

University at Buffalo
202 Michael Hall, South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-5800

Same-Day Appointments: For Life-Threatening Cases and Other Serious Issues

Same-day appointments are for students who need help due to life-threatening circumstances, a traumatic crisis or serious mental illness. A counselor is available to meet with students in crisis when not being seen immediately could lead to serious consequences or seriously aggravate an existing condition.

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • The need to be hospitalized
  • Thoughts about harming another person
  • Recent assault or abuse
  • Knowledge of another person being abused or assaulted
  • Concern about your own safety
  • Hallucinations
  • Recent death of a loved one
  • Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event

If you believe your situation is a crisis that cannot wait for a regularly scheduled appointment, please contact Counseling Services. A counselor will meet with you today to do a brief assessment and make recommendations as to how to proceed.

Because of the demand on counseling services, we are not able to see most students the same day they contact us. If you don’t know if your situation qualifies for a same-day appointment, please call our office at 716-645-2720 to consult with a counselor.

After Business Hours — Call University Police to Speak to the Counselor On Call

If your emergency occurs after business hours:

  • Contact University Police (716-645-2222) and ask to speak to the counselor on call. One of our counselors will call you back as soon as they are able (usually within 15 minutes). During this call, your counselor will provide a brief assessment and make recommendations. Please note that you will be expected to provide your name and phone number when you call.
  • Call the Crisis Services 24-hour hotline at 716-834-3131. This service is available to anyone in Erie County. Even if you do not wish to reveal your identity, you can call and talk to a trained counselor to determine whether or not there is a serious psychological emergency. The Crisis Services staff will come to the location of the student if suicidal behavior, violence or psychosis is evident and, if appropriate, will arrange for the student to be taken to a hospital psychiatric emergency room.

 

Referrals

If you require mental health services that are beyond what Counseling Services can provide, we will often make referrals to community resources. Some of the issues that are commonly addressed through referral to community providers include: 

- A need for weekly appointments

- An inability or unwillingness to provide the necessary information to thoroughly assess symptoms

- Non-compliance with treatment recommendations including regular session attendance

- The need for specialized services, such as inpatient or intensive outpatient substance abuse, eating disorder, or mood disorder treatment; and/or court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements

> Visit the Community Provider Database

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment for any type of counseling — including same-day appointments — please call Counseling Services, (716) 645-2720. We will talk with you about the most appropriate type of counseling for you, and work with you to get the help you need.

Need Help?

Someone to talk to for mental health issues

University at Buffalo
120 Richmond Quadrangle, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14261

Phone: (716) 645-2720; Fax: (716) 645-2175

University at Buffalo
202 Michael Hall, South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-5800

Preventative health and wellness education

University at Buffalo
114 Student Union, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-2837; Fax: (716) 645-6234

Additional Resources

Crisis Text Line

Need to talk? The Crisis Text Line provides 24-hour support for people experiencing a mental health or situational crisis. Users are connected to a trained Crisis Counselor, who will help them develop a plan to stay safe. Messages are confidential, anonymous and secure. Data usage while texting the Crisis Text Line is free and the number will not appear on a phone bill. Text: “GOT5” to 741-741

Disclaimer

This information is designed to provide self-help resources for mental health. This website is not psychotherapy treatment. If you have questions, need help or just want someone to talk with, please contact Counseling Services.