It's no secret that life at an Ivy League university can be physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing. However, in the midst of all the stressors of daily life, remember that your wellness is a priority.
We cannot say this enough—you are not alone in your struggles. There are so many people here at Columbia as well as in the NY community who support and care about you as you make the most of your college years.
Keep yourself well—Columbia, Barnard, and New York City have wonderful mental health resources at your disposal.
Each mental illness has its own list of signs and symptoms, but there are several that you can keep an eye out for on the day-to-day. If you think you, or your friends, are experiencing any of these, don't hesitate to reach out to someone. (Especially a counsellor—as you'll read in a little bit, there are many different options CU counseling services can offer you, from one-on-one sessions to drop-in hours to multiple support groups.)
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Low energy
- Reluctant to leave your room
- Eating too much or too little
- Consistently in a bad or irritable mood
- A loss of interest in extracurriculars, hobbies, classes, and other activities
- Mention of suicide or being "unable to take it anymore"
- Constant worry or anxiety
- Reckless behavior
- Problem concentrating
Columbia's Counseling and Psychological Services
Located on the eighth and fifth floors of Lerner, CPS provides a wide array of services, from individual counseling to support groups (including—but not limited to—sexual assault, eating disorders, veterans, and substance abuse groups). If you feel like you'd benefit most from one-on-one counseling, you can even select a specific counselor based on their specializations.
Columbia also offers a wide (and free!) array of drop-in hours at various times and locations all around campus. A lot of you (Hartley, Carmen, and EC-ers) might not even have to leave your res hall to talk to somebody. (How convenient is that?)
Any Columbia student—even those not on the Student Medical Insurance Plan—can make an appointment at CPS.
Barnard's Furman Counseling Center
Barnard's Furman Counseling Center can be found on the first floor of Hewitt Hall (make a right after you pass the security guard in Brooks). They also offer a number of services, including individual counseling, listening hours in Plimpton (Monday from 7-9:30 p.m.) and Elliott (Thursday from 7-9:30 p.m.), where you can stop and spend few minutes talking with a counselor about anything on your mind. Like Columbia, Furman also offers group counseling sessions, including groups for queer students, those struggling with loss, and women of color.
Something especially cool is that Furman offers training in Biofeedback, a new technique that will track your body's reaction to stress. Finding out your results will help you recognize and control your body's reactions to stressors.
Nightline and After-hours Psychological Emergencies Line
Even when Columbia and Barnard's psychological centers are closed, you'll still be able to find someone to help you at all hours of the night.
Nightline is Barnard and Columbia's peer listening service, open every single night from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Nightline peer listeners are not professionals, so they can't offer advice, but they are a wonderful resource if you need somebody to listen and let you know that you are not alone. Reach out to them with any of your worries, stresses, or concerns at (212) 854-7777.
If it's late and you're in need of psychological help (and require more than the peer listeners at Nightline), there is always a counselor standing by at the After-Hours Psychological Emergency Line at (855) 622-1903.
**Pro tip: Add these phone numbers to your phone contacts so that they're already handy, should you ever need them.
Public Safety and NYC Hospitals
Should you or anyone you know present a physical risk to either themself or to others, Columbia and Barnard public safety is on call 24/7, as well as CUEMS. Never hesitate to reach out in any situation—as they say, if you see something, say something.
For immediate care, Mt. Sinai-St. Luke's Hospital has emergency rooms, including a special psychiatric emergency room, which can be reached at (212) 523-3347 or in person (24/7, ofc) at 113th Street and Amsterdam.
New York City also has its own version of Nightline called NYC Well. It's open 24/7 at 1-888-692-9355, or if you'd rather communicate over text, text "WELL" to 65173.
- There are one-on-one, walk-in, and group counseling sessions at both Barnard and Columbia. These services are available to everybody, not just those a school insurance plan.
- If you need help after hours, Nightline is available from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., but they can’t offer you any advice. If you need additional help, there is a Columbia After-Hours Psychological Emergency Line and a NYC hotline called NYC Well.
- Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital (the hospital near campus) has a special psychiatric emergency room which you can reach 24/7.
We know it's only the beginning of the semester, but don't let the stress pile up early. Take action now and don't hesitate to or worry about reaching out to any of these services if you really need the help.
Make sure you bookmark this page, too—we'll be updating it as we hear about more resources on campus and in the city.