Medical Student News
General UCSF Medical Education News

Headspace Care for Medical Students

Graphic reading Ginger is now Headspace Care showing a QR code and a smiling orange circle on a yellow background

Headspace Care (formerly known as Ginger) is an app that offers confidential, on-demand emotional and mental health support for life challenges through coaching via text-based chats, self-guided activities, and video-based therapy and psychiatry. Coaches are available to chat 24/7, 365 days per year. Private video sessions with a therapist or psychiatrist are available outside of business hours on evenings and weekends.  

Medical students who are not enrolled in UC Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), and students’ dependents who are age 18 and older, will have unlimited access to Headspace Care’s coaching services and self-guided activities, as well as up to eight (8) virtual therapy sessions per plan year (2023 plan year: February 12-December 31; 2024 plan year: January 1-June 30).  

No one at UCSF will have access to the list of Headspace Care participants or the conversations between you and your care team. Information is securely stored and protected as described in Headspace Care’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.  

For more information about Headspace Care, please review the FAQs provided by Headspace Care, which includes basic information about eligibility, access, cost, etc.; description of The Headspace Care Self-Care Library; information about coaching; how to specify gender/ethnicity/specialty of coaches and therapists; information about Headspace Care therapists, coaches, and psychiatrists, including qualifications, and more

Below are some frequently asked questions about how Headspace Care relates to UCSF's existing mental health resources

How do I get started with Headspace Care?

Download the Headspace Care app. In the app, tap "Get Started," then "My Organization." Use your UCSF email address to confirm coverage. Then create an account.  

I already have the Ginger app, do I need to download a new Headspace Care app?

No, the Ginger app automatically updated to Headspace Care on October 31, 2023. All of Ginger's existing services remain the same. If you didn't use the Ginger app, download the Headspace Care app to get started.

Does Headspace Care replace existing campus mental health resources?  

No, Headspace Care is being offered in addition to the existing campus resources available to you such as Medical Student Well-Being (MSWB) support and Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS). Students who need immediate access to support and are comfortable with receiving support virtually may want to use Headspace Care. Students who want an in-person option may want to seek support on campus. 

How do I decide if I should meet with a provider in Medical Student Wellbeing (MSWB), Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS), or Headspace Care (formerly Ginger)? 

Headspace Care offers you access to a health coach immediately via text-based chats. Coaches determine if you need a higher level of care, such as therapy and psychiatry services. MSWB and SHCS gives you access to therapy and medication management appointments.  

How is the coaching service that Headspace Care provides different than the Bridges Curriculum coaching program? 

A Headspace Care behavioral health coach provides students with personalized support for anxiety, depression, relationships, sleep, and more. Bridges Coaches are UCSF faculty who provide academic guidance for students in support of their professional and personal development throughout their medical school curriculum. 

Am I allowed to see a therapist at MSWB or SHCS and use Headspace Care? 

The best support comes from a coordinated care team. If you do opt to work with multiple providers, it is recommended you sign consent forms to allow your care team to communicate and collaborate to improve your care. Please note that typically, seeing two providers simultaneously for therapy is not recommended and should be discussed with your clinician. Coaching is not considered therapy. 

After I have used all of my eight therapy sessions in one plan year, can I still see the same virtual therapist the following year? 

Yes. Support can be continued with a Headspace Care clinician, but cost will be determined based on your medical plan coverage. As of October 2023, in-network insurance plans with Headspace Care include: Aetna, America’s PPO, Amerihealth, Anthem (CA), Blue Shield (CA), Cigna, EHN, Kaiser (Northern CA), Moda Health, Optum (UHC/UMR), and Sana Benefits. For other in-network insurance plans outside of the state of California, please contact Headspace Care’s support team (  

Students can also visit Additional Therapy Options for UCSF Medical Students for insurance-based services.