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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


CAPS offers UA students mental health resources

Amber Ramirez

A view of the sunset over Sixth Street Parking Garage from the Campus Health Center.

Students are encouraged to seek help in addressing mental health concerns both academically and beyond.

Mental health services are available to UA students at Counseling and Psych Services. CAPS is able to assist students in areas ranging from anxiety to drug addiction and many other concerns.

Amy Cunningham, a clinical care coordinator at CAPS explained that each student’s case is handled differently according to their specific needs.

“We promote health and wellness,” Cunningham said. “We talk about a variety of topics so that we can figure out what the student is struggling with.” 

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CAPS serves as an outlet for students to talk about concerns that may be hard to address with people they are close to.

“We provide a supportive environment to talk about things that are difficult to discuss,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham encourages students who are hesitant about reaching out to keep an open mind.

“Having an outsider consult with students emotionally can be a healthy process just because it is another point of view.” She said. “It can help you think about things in a new way.”

One example of stress for UA students comes from preparing for and taking exams. However Cunningham explained that not all anxiety is bad.

“Anxiety can be a problem if you have too much of it,” she said. “It can also be a problem if you do not have enough of it. Anxiety can remind you to study and be as prepared as you can be.”

It is about finding a balance.

“You have to find a sweet spot.” Cunningham said. “The trick is to learn what triggers the anxiety. You can learn how to anticipate the anxiety and manage it.”

CAPS advises students to practice healthy habits to reduce stress level.

“We encourage people to have good diet, to get enough sleep and, to exercise,” Cunningham said.

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Nikki Kontz, president of the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition, an organization that focuses on suicide awareness, education and prevention training. They teach clinical professionals and citizens alike how to identify people who are displaying suicidal behaviors.

“We support other agencies that provide help to people,” Kontz said.

She had a message for students who may be struggling.

“You are not alone. Do not give up,” Kontz said.  

Kontz explained that loved ones should not be afraid to communicate with people they are concerned about.

“Do not be afraid to ask.” Kontz said. “Listen to your gut instinct.”

Crisis hotlines are available in Arizona and around the world. They assist those who need help along with their loved ones.

“Crisis hotline operators are there to listen and be supportive,” Kontz said.

Not all mental health concerns require medical attention. According to Jenny Kuzmic, UA fitness and wellness coordinator at Campus Recreation, living an active life style can help students maintain good mental health.

“Working out gets students moving,” Kuzmic said. “It gets their blood flowing which is helpful in bringing nutrients to the rest of their body including their brain.”

Kuzmic explained that one exercise does not enhance mental health more than another. For her the rule is simple.

“Movement is what is best,” Kuzmic said.

It is never too late to improve mental health. Kuzmic advises students who want to start working out to begin in a group class.

“It’s a great way of feeling more connected to your community I challenge students to try something new,” Kuzmic said.


UA Counseling and Psych Services: 621-6490

Campus Health Service: 621-3334

Pima County Crisis Center: 622-6000

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