CAPS eases finals stress

Ashlee Salamon / Arizona Daily Wildcat
The CAPS program provides a cheaper psychology services for students seeking help with a variety of students issues.

Ashlee Salamon

Ashlee Salamon / Arizona Daily Wildcat The CAPS program provides a cheaper psychology services for students seeking help with a variety of students issues.

Yael Schusterman

Finals week got you down? Need help? You can find it on campus without worrying about your wallet.

Counseling and Psychological Services offers counseling to students to assist them in managing their mental health while attending the UA.

“”We certainly see a continual increase in the number of students seeking services and we have been working diligently to expand our staff to meet their demands,”” said Marian Binder, who has been the CAPS director for more than five years.

She added that there has also been an increase in the severity of problems students are coming in with.

The biggest problem being treated is depression, Binder said. Other common issues are eating disorders, anxiety and insomnia.

The $25-per-session fee charged by CAPS is a fraction of the cost for seeking similar services in the community, Binder said.

She noted that there has been an increase in the number of students who come to school already taking psychotropic medications and want to save money by continuing to use them through CAPS, rather than their doctors at home.

There are 11 full-time counselors on staff, including two psychiatrists and four psychologists. The remainder are master’s-level counselors.

A health and wellness survey conducted by the department showed half of students reporting that seeking CAPS services has helped them remain in school.

Binder said the busiest months at CAPS are usually in the middle of semesters, typically October and April. She said it takes people time to get situated and figure out their course load, especially at the beginning of the fall.

There is a slightly higher number of females who seek treatment. CAPS deals with many freshmen, but more than 65 percent of students using the services are seniors and graduate students.

Binder said last year, there were more than 11,000 visits and this year, CAPS expects to have as many, if not more.

On average, annual visits have numbered between 9,000 and 11,000 since 2005.

Glenn Matchett-Morris, a CAPS counselor who has worked there for more than a year, said, “”We have a large number of students who are seeking services, but it is well known that many students don’t seek services because of the stigma.””

If a student is interested in utilizing CAPS, he or she can walk into campus health and have a $5 triage appointment so counselors can see what the student is looking for and understand the student’s needs. 

The next step is setting up an appointment. If a student does not have an insurance plan, then the first appointment is $30 and every additional one is $25.

Matchett-Morris said CAPS has done a great deal of outreach in the community by working with Greek Life and Residence Life to “”get the word out about services they do.””

He said there is a disproportionate number of graduate students seeking treatment because of the high demands and stress levels they experience.

“”We certainly encourage people to come in and encourage others to come,”” he said. “”A lot of times it’s friends who notice something has changed and they’ll make that suggestion and get someone through the door.””