At the start of the spring semester, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), sent out multiple emails about their new programming offered for the spring 2023 semester.
Included in these emails was information regarding their new series “So You Think You Have…” a series exploring mental health diagnoses, as well as “Koru,” a meditational experience to alleviate stress and anxiety and a “Meaning After Loss” group, where students can connect and heal with other grieving students. These emails also reminded students of the myriad of other programming CAPS has to offer.
Many students have not heard about these programs.
Brittany Lugo, a senior public relations major, is one of these students.
“I have not [heard about the programs],” Lugo said. “That’s interesting and useful. [This] is my first time hearing of it.”
Kevin Estrada, a sophomore computer science major, may have heard of some but not all of the new offerings.
“I think I’ve heard of that one [Koru], it sounds familiar,” Estrada said. “I think I’ve seen like an email.”
Katherine De La Cruz, a junior visual communication design major, said she didn’t even know about CAPS, never mind their programs.
“I haven’t heard about [CAPS],” De La Cruz said. “It is a good idea, we are in school, we get stressed, we get anxiety. It’s good to have that here.”
CAPS Associate Director Melissa Zarin, who will be leading these sessions, has high hopes for their success.
“I hope students will leave with new skills to take care of themselves,” Zarin said. “They will have the ability to sit with uncomfortable feelings, understand them and then be able to move forward from them. They [will] learn ways to calm their anxiety and feel more in control of their thoughts and emotions.”
Despite their information gap regarding the CAPS services, all three students agree that these are important programs to have.
“Now that it’s my first time hearing about it I would definitely use that, just so I don’t like, feel alone,” Lugo said.
She was also impressed with previously offered services.
“I’ve looked into their TAO [online services], which is helpful,” Lugo said. “It’s an amazing start.”
De La Cruz agreed.
“It’s good to know where to go for help,” De La Cruz said.
Estrada felt strongly about the use of the new programs.
“For people who might have ADHD, I think that’s great,” Estrada said. “Honestly, I would have attended “So You Think You Have…”, because of the fact that I don’t know if I have ADHD. I don’t really show signs, but I’d like to know. For the grief and loss [group], honestly, that’s great as well. It’s really hard to attend school, especially after losing a loved one.”
This sentiment is shared by Zarin, who sees a big need for grief counseling on campus.
“[Meaning After Loss] was offered several years ago by two of my colleagues,” Zarin said. “We thought it was time to offer it again due to the high number of students [we] were meeting in CAPS that had lost a parent, sibling, family member and/or close friend.”
Zarin expanded on the challenges college students face and their need for support.
“There is a constant need for grief support,” Zarin said. “In my many years working with young adults, I have yet to have a semester when I was not working with someone around a loss. I think many of my colleagues would share the same experience. Students come to college with historic losses they have never grieved as well as current losses that occur while in school. There will always be a need to help navigate this.”
Lugo wishes that CAPS had better publicity.
“I think they should publicize those programs and make them more announced, so everyone on campus knows about them,” Lugo said.
This is something De La Cruz would like to see as well.
“They should [publicize] on Instagram, maybe like put more posters [up],” DeLacruz said.
De La Cruz added that she wants to see more of an exploration of what anxiety is.
“I will say [they should do a ‘So You Think You Have] Anxiety,’” De La Cruz said. “Because not a lot of people talk about anxiety. A lot of people just think it’s more ‘I’m anxious, so I’m eating a lot.’ It’s not just about eating a lot. I would go to [Koru]. I feel like I would get help there. I don’t [know] where to go if I’m feeling anxious or whatever it is [right now].”
For more information, see Engage or the CAPS website.