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Let's Talk and Drop-In Services

Let’s Talk
Let’s Talk provides access to free and confidential drop-in conversations with a trained professional at various locations across campus. Students can talk about any stress and anxiety they are feeling, bounce around ideas, and work through their emotions.

Some common concerns might include:

  • Stress
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty adjusting to school
  • Academic concerns
  • Concentration and attention difficulty
  • Family & financial problems
  • Relationship concerns

Learn more about Let's Talk.

Drop-In Services
Students can drop-in to the Student Health and Counseling office (3624 Market Street) at any time during regular business hours for counseling support. 

Individual Therapy

Student Health and Counseling offers solution-oriented, short-term care that is tailored to fit each student’s unique needs. Our services are free and confidential, and may be offered in-person and virtually in some circumstances. Nothing is too big or too small. Please remember, we are always available for urgent needs. 

Contact Us

Call 215-898-7021 (24/7).
If you would like to talk to someone right away, press #1. If you want to make an appointment, press 2. You can also come in and meet with someone during regular business hours without an appointment.

Group Therapy

Why Group?
Groups can help you gain support, share experiences and struggles, receive feedback about how others experience you, learn about yourself, try out new behaviors and develop more satisfying ways of relating to others. Group therapy is a great place to share your concerns, get support, and learn from others. Students who participate in group therapy feel less isolated, more self-aware, and more connected to others as a result of being in group.

Group Guidelines

  • Group sessions are confidential. Group members are bound ethically not to disclose information about the group.
  • Regular and timely attendance is necessary for relationships to develop and for you to have sufficient continuity to get as much as you can out of group. If you truly must miss group, please let the leader(s) know as soon as possible. Most groups have an initial commitment of several sessions. It usually takes a few sessions to open up and get enough of a sense of the group to decide if it is a good fit for your needs.
  • If after the initial commitment the group does not feel like a good fit or at some point you feel as though you have gotten all you need from the group, it is important that you inform the group and give the other members the opportunity to say goodbye.
  • You are encouraged to take your own pace in group. However, you get more out of group if you work on the concerns that brought you to the group through active participation. It is expected that it will take time to work up to taking risks and stretching yourself in ways that will help you make the most of your group experience.
  • You may be referred to group during the Initial Assessment call or at Intake if the intake counselor believes that your needs would be best met in a group setting. This may be based upon matching your concerns with a group that focuses specifically on those concerns. Also, groups are perfect for students who are dissatisfied with their friend or romantic relationships. To ensure the best decision, most group leaders prefer to conduct a group intake in which one or both leaders meet with you to learn about what you’re looking for, to give you specific information about how the group works, and to help you decide if the group seems like a good fit.

Reach out the Student Health and Counseling team for information about group sessions by calling 215-898-7021.

Psychiatric Medication Management

Our psychiatry team includes psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychiatrists who provide psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and case management to students in concurrent counseling who are seeking those services. Students can receive a referral for a psychiatric evaluation from their counselor. Since most psychological and emotional concerns are best addressed by counseling, psychiatry team members work in collaboration with their counseling colleagues to provide the most effective overall care for each student.

The following are important considerations before a student starts a psychotropic medication:

  • If a student is wanting to start a medication near the end of the semester and is planning on leaving the Philadelphia area, it may not be possible for our psychiatry team members to start that medication. If the student leaves the area, the prescriber would not be able to provide the appropriate medical follow-up necessary to ensure the medication is working in a safe and effective manner. Initial prescriptions will likely not be written during and after the last two weeks of classes, however, students can be connected with our referral services to find care at their future location.
  • If a student is already on medications prescribed by a member of our psychiatry team and is planning to be away for the summer or on a semester studying abroad, our team may continue to prescribe for the student depending on the stability of the student and the need for follow-up. Students will need to speak with their current prescriber about their care away from Philadelphia.
  • Students must inform our psychiatry team members about their substance use before being prescribed medication. Substance use includes the regular use of alcohol, marijuana, vaping any substance, and the use of any illicit or controlled substance. Failure to disclose this information can result in serious consequences to the student’s health.

If a student is seeking to establish or continue treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they should understand that our team only provides short-term treatment for ADHD. We believe that the most effective treatment occurs when students engage in therapy, in addition to medication. Students should contact their prior treatment provider(s) for a summary letter regarding their diagnosis and treatment. It will be valuable to have this letter at the time of an appointment with us. In addition, students should send us a copy of any psychological testing that has been done. Copies of school records/report cards are also useful. Academic accommodations are processed through the Weingarten Center, located at Hamilton Village (220 South 40th Street, Suite 260). They can be reached at 215-573-9235.

Referral and Consultation Services

Why a Referral?
Our team provides short-term treatment that is tailored to students’ needs. Referrals to the community are ideal for students seeking longer-term or specialized treatment. Referrals are also used for students who are interested in psychoeducational testing, couples counseling and/or higher levels of care. Students may also seek referrals for a specific counseling approach or when seeking a provider of a specific identity or background. Students make the final decision about whether or not they can work with a particular outside provider.

We Are Here to Support You
Contact our office for referral support. You can also check out The Shrink Space for support finding a therapist.

Online Students
View our mental health resources for online students

International Student Services

International students are a significant part of the Penn community. Student Health and Counseling recognizes that international students have unique needs, concerns, and strengths, while sharing common interests and goals with their American counterparts. Among the range of services that we provide for all Penn students, our counseling services staff offers tailored support and programming to international students. 

Caring for Yourself and Others: Stress, Distress, and Crisis

We all experience stress and a range of emotions including sadness, anger, fear, guilt, and shame. This is part of being human.

Moderate, short-lived stress can improve performance, but can become unhealthy when it disrupts our day-to-day functioning. Stress can turn into distress when the demands we experience exceed our resources to cope. Further, whether it be our genetics, life experiences, or the shame that keeps things inside, we may not get the help we need, and may find ourselves in a state of crisis. This can include engaging in self-harm, thinking about suicide, or having thoughts of harming others.

Wellness at Penn believes in a community of care and that we are all responsible for looking out for our own well-being and the well-being of others. The bottom line? You are not alone. And there is hope.

Helping Yourself

Getting help for your mental health can be hard. You may be holding many different experiences, emotions, or thoughts that you keep inside due to shame, stigma, or because you are not sure where to turn. Your views towards mental health, understanding of your own emotional health, or comfort seeking help may differ based on your personal life experiences or cultural context. One way to support your mental health is to recognize your own personal signs and to acknowledge that you are struggling. Once you are aware, there is a lot you can do to help yourself feel better. This includes sharing with people you trust, engaging in coping strategies, or seeking professional support.

What are some signs that I’m struggling?

  • Stress:
    • Irritability, sadness, or worrying about the future
    • Lack of energy or inability to relax
    • Physical complaints (headaches, muscle tension, digestive discomfort)
  • Distress:
    • Sudden changes in your mood/anxiety levels
    • Patterns of behavior (issues with sleep/motivation; multiple absences)
    • Expressions of distress (talking, texting, emailing, posting about distress)
  • Crisis:
    • Suicidal/homicidal thoughts, statements, or attempts (view these Warning Signs for Suicide)
    • Self-harm (cutting, burning)
    • Extreme anxiety or panic (difficulty breathing)
    • A loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there)

Why is sharing so important?
Watch I SHARE: Connection, Healing, & Hope to hear Penn students discuss the power of sharing and how they got support.

Helping Others

Sometimes we notice changes in the people we care about. You may become aware that someone close to you is speaking, feeling, or behaving in ways that feel concerning. These changes may be sudden or seem to be lasting longer than usual. It is important to remember that people may express or experience these signs differently. Based on one’s cultural context and personal life experiences, someone may express distress through physical manifestations or consider emotional expressions as a sign of weakness. This may lead to shame or embarrassment opening up to others. Trust your instincts and always check in with others with care and acceptance. Be curious and open to understand someone’s story.

What are some signs that someone else is struggling?

  • Stress:
    • You notice them exhibiting signs of irritability, sadness, or worrying about the future
    • They lack energy or the inability to relax
    • They’re demonstrating an increase in physical complaints (headaches, muscle tension, digestive discomfort)
  • Distress:
    • They may show sudden changes in their regular behavior (mood/anxiety levels)
    • You notice new patterns of behavior (issues with sleep/motivation; multiple absences)
    • You notice expressions of distress (talking, texting, emailing, posting about distress)
  • Crisis:
    • They demonstrate suicidal/homicidal thoughts, statements, or attempts (view these Warning Signs for Suicide)
    • You’ve seen signs of self-harm (cutting, burning)
    • You notice they have extreme anxiety or panic (difficulty breathing)
    • You notice a loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there)

How can I support someone I care about?

  • Make the time and space to connect: “Want to grab some coffee and talk?”
  • Tell the person what you are noticing: “I’ve noticed you seem more isolated than usual.”
  • Validate with care and empathy: “I’m so glad you opened up to me.”; “I’m here to listen.”
  • Use active listening skills like open-ended questions and summarizing what the speaker said: “How have you been coping?”; ”It sounds like you have been struggling.”
  • Explore options for the problem & connect to resources: “How can I support you?”; “How would you feel contacting the counseling center? I am happy to go with you.”

Where can I refer others for help?

  • You can always refer others to Student Health and Counseling for 24/7 support at 215-898-7021.
  • If you have an urgent concern about someone, Get Help Now.
  • You can also view this extensive list of Campus Resources.
Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention (STTOP)

The Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention (STTOP) Team is a multidisciplinary team of clinicians dedicated to providing confidential care, support, and advocacy to students who have experienced sexual trauma during their academic career. The culture of silence surrounding sexual assault and rape on campus and within our culture as a whole deters reporting, isolates victim-survivors, and undermines the safety and public health of all members of a community.  The STTOP Team is committed to providing immediate support to students in need and to promoting awareness and change through active participation in campus outreach and collaboration with community partners. 

Confidentiality
Student Health and Counseling offers confidential and free professional services to undergraduate, graduate and professional students at Penn. If you call our office, you will speak with a mental health professional who can discuss options with you including how to contact a member of the STTOP team. You will be asked routine questions; it is your decision what details you feel comfortable disclosing. It is up to you whether you want to name or identify the offender. You do not have to tell your family members, academic program, or law enforcement, and you do not have to file a report with the university in order to receive care.

Penn Violence Prevention
Penn Violence Prevention is a collaborative program which works to engage the Penn community in the prevention of sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking on campus. For more information about resources on campus, reporting options, or how to support a friend, see the Penn Violence Prevention website.

Contact the STTOP Team Virtually
If you think you have been raped, sexually assaulted, stalked or experienced an unsafe or confusing sexual encounter, you can call our team at 215-898-7021(24/7) and ask to meet virtually with a member of the STTOP Team.

Sexual Assault/Trauma Workshops:
We offer a variety of workshops that center around conversations on intimacy, boundaries, safety, and trauma within relationships. Examples of topics include communicating consent, healthy/positive sexuality, and healthy relationships. We also provide safe spaces for individuals who identify as survivors to come together, find community, and cultivate pathways towards healing. Additionally, based on the principles of trauma-informed care, we offer workshops to support providers and caregivers on the impact of trauma on victim/survivor’s health and wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions
Was what happened to me bad enough to count?
If you experienced an unsafe or confusing sexual encounter or relationship and you are considering reaching out to the STTOP team, we encourage you to do so. You do not need to put a label on your experience to receive help. You are entitled to respect and whatever support you need.

Where can I find information on healthy sexuality?
It can be difficult to find information on healthy sexuality and sex positive behaviors. For more information on healthy sexuality including resources, glossaries, and scenarios for discussion, see the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Where can I find other resources on campus?
For more information about resources, please see the Penn Violence Prevention website. Penn has many confidential resources like Special Services, the Women’s Center, and Student Health and Counseling. We encourage students to reach out to whichever one they feel most comfortable with.

How can I support my friend?
Supporting a friend who has been assaulted, stalked or abused can be really hard. The role friends play in supporting survivors is essential, and it’s different from that of a counselor, lawyer, or doctor. For information about helping a friend, please see the Penn Violence Prevention website.

Self-Care Tools

How can I engage in my own self-care?

Access to adequate mental health care, maintaining meaningful connections with others, and having a sense of purpose all can support your mental health. It is also important to be proactive and develop your coping toolkit so that you have resources to use during times of stress, distress, and crisis.

Mental Wellness

Anxiety & Stress

Calming Activities

I CARE Training

I CARE: Learn More


Wellness Workshops


Request a Wellness Workshop
 

Contact Student Health and Counseling


Counseling Services Hours (Summer)
Monday through Wednesday: 9 am – 7 pm
Thursday and Friday: 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 3 pm
Closed on Sundays
Students can drop-in and meet with a clinician during regular business hours.

24/7 Support
Call 215-898-7021 for information, support, to schedule an appointment, and to speak with an on-call provider.

Location
3624 Market Street
First Floor West
Philadelphia, PA 19104