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Vital on-campus mental health resources available to students

Published on October 01, 2020

Vital on-campus mental health resources available to students

CAPS house located on 182 High Street

Eastern Connecticut State University understands the importance of mental health and why it is crucial to have mental health services readily available on campus. The Office of Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is one of Eastern’s six health and wellness services that offers mental health to students to help with their personal, social and academic concerns.

Located on 182 High Street, CAPS offer a wide range of services such as intake assessments, individual counseling services, urgent walk-ins, supportive contact appointments, group therapy and individual and group counseling. These services are meant to treat the most common mental health disorders such as depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders and more – which are common in 16- to 24-year-olds.

With eight staff members and nine trainees with a range of academic degrees and licenses in psychology, counseling, social work and mental health, the CAPS staff are highly qualified to treat students who struggle with mental health. Staff members and trainees must also complete a minimum of 3,000 post-graduate hours under the supervision of a licensed mental health practitioner and must pass a comprehensive licensing exam.

When looking for qualified counselors or therapists, many requirements and factors come into play. Director of CAPS Bryce Crapser provides some insight into the hiring process. “We are usually looking for creative and talented clinicians who are willing to work with college-aged students,” said Crapser. “Ideal members of our CAPS team are well-rounded generalist clinicians with a team mentality, excellent communication skills and a good sense of humor. Our staff is currently made up of people with diverse professional and educational backgrounds.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual meetings and gatherings have been the norm since late March. For this fall semester, CAPS has halted all in-person counseling sessions and opted instead for telehealth counseling using the WebEx videoconferencing platform and Doxy.me, a telemedicine website.

Telehealth counseling is the term used to describe health services that use interactive audio, video, telephone, email and instant messaging.

Over the past summer, Eastern held two town hall meetings to discuss issues of racism on campus. One of the services requested by students was an increase in mental health resources for students of color by hiring counselors of color. Director Crapser explained the steps his office has taken to fulfill this request. “We hired a black male postgraduate counseling fellow for a full-time position for the next two years; his primary focus will be providing clinical services to Eastern students free of charge.

“We also have one master’s level and two doctoral level counseling trainees of color joining us for the fall semester. With these staffing changes, CAPS will have 30.5 percent staff of color consisting of three Black clinicians, one trainee from India clinician and one Black administrative assistant.” In addition, CAPS is offering referrals to external services for students of color who wish to use them. “I have connected with black clinicians in the community with good success,” said Crapser. “If for whatever reason black students do not feel comfortable coming to CAPS for counseling services, we have compiled a referral list of Black Mental Health clinicians to be found on our CAPS website under the referral tab.”

To schedule an appointment with CAPS call (860) 465-0181 (50181 on campus). Most often appointments can be arranged within a few days. CAPS is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Written by Bobbi Brown

Categories: Student Services