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 Frequently Asked Questions about CAPS Services

Rising Demand for Mental Health Services Spurs Expansion of Student-Centered Health at UC San Diego

Recent studies assessing the well-being of college students have highlighted the increasing need for mental health services at universities across the country, UC San Diego included. As a result, campus leaders have been working diligently to better understand unmet student mental health needs, and how better to address them.

Under the direction of Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Simmons, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Alysson Satterlund, and UC San Diego Health CEO Patty Maysent have unified their teams to develop new programs that are making significant inroads into mental health issues. They continue to adjust and expand these programs, entering into new partnerships with off-campus mental health providers and advocating at the UC system and state levels to invest additional resources for expanding and deepening services.

It is important that as students, you know you are not alone in any trouble you might face during your time at UC San Diego. Below are a variety of FAQs about these resources, and how they may help as you navigate your college experience.

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I'm a UC San Diego student, and I think I need to talk to someone. Where do I even begin?

Firstly, we are happy that you've taken the most difficult step – acknowledging that you may need assistance, and seeking out resources that are available to you. From here, there are many ways for you to receive mental health care. All requests begin with a phone consultation with CAPS, wherein a variety of services can be accessed -- including drop-in or urgent appointments, recurring sessions, group classes, chronic and specialized care (e.g. disordered eating treatment, addiction services, etc.) and online resources.

I'm in crisis. I can't wait a few days to meet with someone that can help – what do I do?

Acute psychiatric treatment and specialized interventions are critical elements in UC San Diego's commitment to providing a holistic continuum of care. Urgent appointments are made same day Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30, after hours call (858) 534-3755 and you will speak with a provider who will guide you on immediate resources and next steps. These may comprise a range of circumstances; including suicidal thoughts, trauma, grief, panic attacks—anything that is disruptive enough to interfere with daily productivity, cause absence from classes, or prevent completion of assignments. Emergency services are always available to support the mental health and academic success of students who need the highest level of comprehensive outpatient psychiatric care.

I don't feel that I'm in an "emergency" mental state – can CAPS still help me quickly?

Absolutely. CAPS offers consultation sessions and recurring appointments according to an initial evaluation and indicated level of care. Students seeking treatment for an ongoing issue within CAPS’ scope of services also begin with a phone assessment—after which they are matched with a counselor to develop an intervention plan based on clinical judgment and congruent with CAPS’ Brief Psychotherapy Intermittent Model of care.

I feel that I need more help than CAPS alone can provide. What other resources are available?

At UC San Diego, we embody a culture of "Wraparound Support" – meaning that CAPS works seamlessly with Student Health Services, Student Affairs Case Managers, the Deans of Student Affairs, the Basic Needs Hub, as well as the College Mental Health Program at UC San Diego Health.

I don't have time to come in-person for an appointment. What are my options?

  • Online appointments are available to students 24/7 through LiveHealth Online, a tele-mental health service that provides secure, online video visits with board-certified, licensed mental health professionals. This service is covered by UC SHIP, and no referral is needed.
  • Via the iFlourish initiative, all students have access to free online, interactive resources. Therapy Assisted Online (TAO) facilitates students' self-care for anonymous help with anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns through interactive tools and exercises.
  • All students have access to daily drop-in groups, with no appointment needed. Led by a CAPS mental health expert, topics include building confidence, managing stress, biofeedback, and self-regulation exercises.

I'm not sure if I can make it to an appointment; my classes are spread out across campus.

CAPS offers nearly a dozen locations across UC San Diego's campus, and has staff in all six colleges as well as Galbraith Hall Central Office, Student Health Services, the International Programs and Students Office, OASIS, and the Women's Center

I don't 'need' counseling. I'm just stressed, concerned with my workload, and trying to balance my personal life with my studies

You're not alone. Let's Talk is an informal, drop-in conversation, held each week at a different area of campus. Similar to faculty office hours, these sessions introduce students to what it is like to speak with a psychologist. Here, you can feel free to learn about available resources and may be referred to a formal appointment

I've heard that it's difficult to schedule a timely, in-person appointment with CAPS.

Every student has unique needs and scheduling challenges; providing care for those in need is CAPS’ ultimate priority. In order to meet these demands, CAPS is piloting a new video appointment program with CAPS providers, using a secure online platform enabled by Epic—our new electronic health record. Rather than an in-person visit, this format is ideal for those who commute or prefer to speak to a CAPS counselor in the comfort of their own space.

How is CAPS addressing the increased need for mental health services resulting from rapid expansion and enrollment growth on campus?

  • CAPS is actively recruiting to fill three (3) funded psychologist vacancies, with a focus on expanding diversity and LGBTQ services for students. In addition, the Executive Vice Chancellor has approved immediate bridge funding for the hiring of three (3) further full-time positions (psychologist/ LCSW).
  • CAPS currently offers in-person appointments at CAPS central from 8:30am–4:30pm, M-F. CAPS will begin to offer expanded hours in February 2020, making appointments available in the early evening hours.