Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) meets the demands for psychological services on-campus, despite the shortage of counselors. The impact of having 11 staff members and limited space make it challenging to accommodate approximately 22,000 students, with a staff to student ratio of about 1910:1.
Jaclyn Friedman-Lombardo, Director of CAPS, clarified misleading information regarding the number of individual sessions available. Students are offered an average of six individual sessions depending upon their needs. Depending on the nature of the issue, students may be referred to one of the many groups offered or for a meeting with the CAPS referral coordinator for access to services off campus.
“The key to provide the best services is to offer a variety of different support systems to best suit students needs,” Lombardo said.
According to data from ActiveMinds.org, 39% of students in college experience a significant mental health issue. Fifty percent of those cases begin at the age of 14 and incline to 75% by the age of 24. Only 2/3 of the students who face anxiety or depression seek treatment.
“They have specialists so they know what they are doing,” Bay Hamami, a sophomore biology major, said. “They teach a lot of coping mechanisms and techniques so it’s really helpful.”
Colleges are adhering to a greater level of concern in ensuring counseling services are equipped in the number of staff and financial support.
“They helped me work out a lot of issues that I was holding on to,” Janoa Watson, a senior athletic training major, said. “It is hard for me to open up to people and once I got comfortable with my therapist I had to move on to someone else.”
Students with a prior extensive history of individual sessions who return to CAPS will be supported in a variety of ways. Students may be eligible for additional individual sessions and will be offered more services.
Additional services include consultation, group therapy, Let’s Talk, 24/7 TAO Connect (online therapy assistance), Just In Case app, support connecting with a referral off-campus and a 24/7 emergency response through University Police.
In order to bolster services, Lombardo suggests the university should consider increasing the budget, relocating to a larger space and hiring additional staff.
“It fills me with an overwhelming sense of well-being to know that I am doing something good for people and people are telling me that what I do is helpful,” Jude M. Uy, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator, said.
CAPS is located in Russ Hall and offer services for ADHD, depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, suicide prevention, sleep problems, sexual assault, eating disorders and much more.
CAPS is sponsoring events during Mental Health Awareness week October 21-25 and their normal business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.