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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


A beginner’s guide to navigating CAPS (and other Campus Health services)

Courtney Talak
UA student walks outside of the Campus Health on clinic Friday afternoon.

Almost every college student stresses. With the pressure to maintain good grades and balance work and a social life, it’s almost inevitable. The UA likewise offers programs and services for students in need of a help or someone to talk to in order to help combat that stress.

Located on the northwest corner of Highland Avenue and Sixth Street, Campus Health provides a variety of services to the campus population and houses a walk-in clinic, pharmacy and counseling center.


Counseling and Psych Services offers individual counseling services and psychiatric services to students. Accordingly, CAPS handles mental health, personal and crisis issues.

“The main problems we tend to see in terms of symptom areas are anxiety and depression,” said Marian Binder, director of CAPS.

More than 1,000 suicides occur on college campuses every year, according to data from Emory University, and Binder said CAPS gets a lot of reports of students making threats, talking about or occasionally attempting suicide.

“First and foremost, we’re trying to ensure that the student is safe and then we’re trying to determine the nature of those thoughts and whether there is intent to act on them and how to get the person in a place where they can cope better with life without feeling that’s their best solution,” Binder said.

Binder said students should not assume they have to have a huge problem before they can come into CAPS. As soon as students notice they’re not themselves, she said they should talk to someone.

“The best time to handle a problem and to help it not to become a really disabling problem is to talk about it and get some help and get some skills when the problem is small,” Binder said.

CAPS offers a number of programs for those concerned about a student’s mental well-being, including Call and Consult, Parents Matter and Friend 2 Friend, which allow friends, faculty and doctors to consult CAPS about how to best help a student in need.

Students don’t need to have campus health insurance in order to use its services — they can charge all services to their bursar’s accounts. The fees are billed as a general student health charge, so there’s a sense of confidentiality if you want to visit Campus Health to get STD testing or birth control. A detailed list of visit prices can be found on the Campus Health website.

CAPS’ staff consists of licensed counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as specialists for eating disorders, body image, substance abuse and sexual assault and trauma–related issues.

Their OASIS Sexual Assault and Trauma Services serves those affected by sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.

“We have a licensed mental health counselor who provides individual counseling to students,” Binder said. “Primarily they’re there to provide emotional support and help the person with whatever coping skills they need to be able to deal with the assault and move on from it.”

CAPS is also trying to find more ways to extend services to students who would rather deal with issues on their own. They are launching an online service and phone app in the fall called WellTrack, which will provide access to therapeutic tools for managing anxiety, stress and depression, remotely.

Other services 

UA Stressbusters is a program where student volunteers are trained to give five-minute back rubs. Students can receive free back rubs during various events across campus throughout the school year.

Campus Health also gives vaccinations and prescribes medications. Their pharmacy has more than 600 prescriptions available and more than 250 over-the-counter items, all which students can bill to their bursar’s accounts.

Recent UA graduate Emily Franklin graduated this past spring with a B.S. in veterinary science and is headed to veterinary school at Tufts University in Massachusetts. She said Tufts required her to get vaccinated before she arrived and when her primary care provider wasn’t able to see her for another week or two, she went to campus health and was able to be seen right away.

“I was at campus health getting my set of three rabies shots, which is really nice because my PCP doesn’t carry those,” Franklin said. “It’s nice to know that I can get them at campus, and they’re expensive but I’m really glad someone in town carries them.”

Franklin said incoming students should take advantage of events Campus Health offers on the UA Mall including flu shots and Free Condom Friday.

Follow Michael Hernandez on Twitter

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