Students seek more counseling in February

Lisa Beth Earle / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)  office

Lisa Beth Earle

Lisa Beth Earle / Arizona Daily Wildcat Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office

Laura Donovan

Each year right around now, UA Counseling and Psychological Services experiences its busiest point.

“”Generally, in the third or fourth week, we see a pick up of folks seeking services,”” said UA Counseling and Psychological Services Assistant Director Glenn Matchett-Morris. “”That number stays high for next two months and slowly drops off towards end of the semester.””

Stress, anxiety and depression are the three biggest issues for which students seek UA Counseling and Psychological Services.

“”I think that somewhere between the third and fourth week of the semester, people get their first tests back, papers are due, so students begin to feel the crunch more and see problems with academic success,”” Matchett-Morris said. “”That creates anxiety and gets them in the door to CAPS.””

Currently, there are five psychologists including the director and assistant director, eight masters-level therapists, three psychiatrists and one Ph.D. student in training on staff, Matchett-Morris said, though not all staff members are full-time.

Before students can set an appointment with a counselor, they are first sent to triage, a $5 visit to help the triage staff determine what sort of services will suit the student best.

Sometimes one triage session is enough for a student. Other times, the staff will refer the student to other therapists and psychologists in the community.

Students often make use of this process during the middle of the semester, but such high levels of demand drop off by the end of the semester, Matchett-Morris said.

“”We certainly see a spike during finals,”” he added, “”but not as much as in the third or fourth week of the semester.””

Generally, students visit UA Counseling and Psychological Services in January, but the pick-up isn’t until mid-February.

“”Spring semester can be different for freshmen, who experience a big adjustment in the fall when they make new friends. In the spring, they’re not in a new place anymore,”” Matchett-Morris said.

UA Counseling and Psychological Services sees a variety of students. At the beginning of fall 2009, attendance was evenly distributed among freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, law students and graduate students, Matchett-Morris said.

“”It’s surprising how many upper classmen and graduate students we see.””