UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), a unit of Student Affairs, has launched an embedded counselor program for fall 2016. The program places counselors in South Halls where they are providing a new service, CAPS Chat, which offers informal, drop-in meetings for students.
CAPS Chat counselors Stephanie Stama and Jason Yoder offer one-time meetings around specific concerns, such as adjusting to college life, family problems, relationship issues, roommate difficulties, academic pressures, or stress and anxiety.
“CAPS Chat minimizes potential barriers for students who may benefit from mental health services. The service differs from formal counseling given the drop-in nature of the meetings and minimal commitment expectations, and the location in South Halls’ Redifer Commons enhances convenience and accessibility,” said Stama.
The goal of CAPS Chat is to make mental health services more accessible, especially to students who may be reluctant to seek help in the formal setting of the CAPS office in the Student Health Center. The program offers a quick drop-in option for students who want to explore counseling and whether it’s right for them.
“CAPS Chat is intended to be available for students as a source of early intervention, so students can best take advantage of this service by attending CAPS Chat hours in the early stages of a concern,” said Yoder.
The CAPS Chat program is supported through a gift from Rodney P. Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, and Michele S. “Mitch” Kirsch, associate dean for student affairs in the Schreyer Honors College. The Class of 2016 gift, a CAPS endowment, will generate funds to further support the embedded counselor program.
"We are thrilled to be able to offer this new innovative program as a result of the Kirsch's generous support and collaboration with Residence Life staff,” said Ben Locke, senior director of CAPS. “The CAPS Chat program will help us to explore avenues for making mental health services more accessible to students in need when they need it."
South Halls students wishing to talk to a counselor can visit Redifer Commons, Suite 202, from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday and Friday. Sessions are free and by drop-in only.