Off-campus counseling referrals and support

There are many reasons why you may seek a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychiatric nurse practitioner off campus.

For example, your Student Mental Health and Counseling Service (SMH&CS) clinician may recommend that you see a type of specialist that is not available at MIT Health; you may require long term or weekly/bi-weekly appointments; or you may be seeking a mental health provider who identifies with a specific community or offers a particular approach.

This page offers information and resources to help you get started:

Provider directories

Below are some websites with provider directories tailored to a variety of needs and concerns. Most allow you to sort by insurance plan, city and state, areas of specialization, and therapy approach.

  • Thriving Campus: Includes mental-health providers located nationwide as well as close to the MIT campus and specifically interested in working with college and university students.
  • Innopsych (Therapists of Color): Allows students to filter by ethnicity as well as specialty area.
  • Psychology Today: Nationwide directory that can be sorted by location, insurance plan, and area of specialization.
  • Zencare: Includes therapist videos and allows students to filter by therapist availability.

MIT Student Mental Health and Counseling does not endorse or recommend the community providers listed on these directories and makes no valuation about the quality, credentials, or services provided.

Blue Cross Blue Shield teletherapy platform

Students who are enrolled in the MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP) and live in the United States have access to the Blue Cross Blue Shield telehealth platform, MyBlue/Well Connection, for psychiatry and behavioral health.

How to find an available teletherapy clinician and schedule an appointment:

  • Set up your MyBlue account if you haven’t already. Select the state you are living in as your location, because providers are credentialed by state.
  • Sign in
  • Scroll down and click on the video icon (Well Connection).
  • Click on “Start Video Visit.” This will take you to the Well Connection site.
  • Select “Therapy” or “Psychiatry.”
  • Choose by date or choose by provider to schedule an appointment

Using your MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP): in-network

You do not need a referral to see an off-campus provider, but we recommend selecting a provider that belongs to your Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Massachusetts PPO (preferred provider organization) network. When you see an in-network provider, the first 52 visits in a calendar year are covered in full with no copay. Additional visits have a $5 copay. You can find in-network providers on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts website, or by calling 1-800-810-BLUE (2583).

View Summary of Benefits [PDF]

Using your MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP): out-of-network

You can also choose to see an out-of-network provider. When a provider is out of network, the first 52 visits are covered at 100 percent of the BCBS allowed amount (the amount BCBS has agreed to pay) and additional visits are covered at 80 percent of the allowed amount. If an out-of-network provider charges more than the BCBS allowed amount, you will need to pay the difference, and that payment will not count toward your insurance plan’s out-of-pocket limit.

Some out-of-network providers accept the BCBS allowed amount, so be sure to check with a prospective provider in advance to find out how their practice works. Some require that you pay out of pocket for their full fee and then file with BCBS for reimbursement of a partial amount.

Learn more about how out-of-network benefits work.

If you waived MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP) coverage

If you waived MIT SHIP coverage and use another insurance plan for your off-campus health care, you can locate an in-network provider or in-network telemedicine platform by checking your insurance plan’s website for a provider directory or by calling the member services number on your insurance card.

General tips on using insurance to access mental health services

The following steps will help you access the care you are looking for, regardless of your insurance plan:

  1. On your insurance card, locate the “mental health” or “behavioral health and substance use disorder” phone number. If this number is not listed, look for the “member services” phone number or a website.
  2. By phone, follow the prompts for “members” and “behavioral health” or “mental health.” Ask the representative about your outpatient mental health benefits and how to find an in-network mental health provider. The representative may offer to send you a list of clinicians by email or give you names over the phone.
  3. Most insurance plans allow you to search their website’s “in-network” provider database. Some websites require you to select your specific insurance plan by name or enter your ID number or an employer number. These will be on your insurance card.
  4. The representative or website may ask what kind of therapist you are looking for:
    • If you need medication consultation and management, you should search for a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. Some psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners provide both medication management and therapy combined.
    • If you are looking for a talk therapy approach, you can search for a psychologist, social worker, licensed mental health provider, or marriage and family therapist.
  5. ­Some questions you may want to ask include:
    • Do I have a copayment?
    • Do I have an annual deductible?
    • Are there any limits on the number of sessions per year my insurance will cover?
    • Do I have mental health coverage for teletherapy?
    • How will my benefit work if I choose an out-of-network mental health provider?
    • If I see an out-of-network mental health provider, how much is the “allowed amount” of insurance payment per visit?
    • Do I have an annual out-of-pocket maximum amount?
  6. Some insurance companies offer a specific telemedicine platform with behavioral health and psychiatry options. Check on your insurance website or ask a member services representative.

Options for students living outside of the United States

Workplace Options (WPO) is a global therapy and support service for enrolled MIT students who are studying abroad due to pandemic-related events.

This confidential service offers support for international students and their families related to work or personal issues, including short-term professional counseling and referrals to local resources to help manage emotional, physical, financial, and social needs.

Additional Support

If you have questions about finding an off-campus therapist or need additional assistance, please call Student Mental Health and Counseling: 617-253-2916.