Life is stressful, but college students suffer even more with deadlines, projects and classes.
Freshmen add to it by being away from home, family and friends for the first time, coupled with the adjustment to living with strangers. Then there’s social media. It all adds up to stress—sometimes too much.
Not to fear, however. The University of Arizona’s Counseling and Psych Services (CAPS) has the answer.
Visit caps.arizona.edu and find a wealth of support and resources that will cover just about any emotional or mental health issue. From urgent care counseling to medication management to survivor support (and these are just a few), there’s a service for just about all needs.
“I think often people focus so much on the counseling; that is a huge piece of what we do, but there’s a lot we can do to support students beyond counseling,” said Cassandra Hirtes, CAPS assistant director.
Services are either free or very low cost. To tap into the services, the process is streamlined.
“The easiest way is just through the (CAPS) website,” Hirtes said.
It’s worth the time to browse through the site because it is packed with options and links.
Enter here: caps.arizona.edu/services
Students who aren’t sure what they might need can visit with care coordinators.
“Those are more if students are seeking longer-term care and having resources off campus,” Hirtes explained. “They will help connect the students with those sorts of services.”
There’s a reason for this. Hirtes said one way to look at CAPS is as if it were an urgent care for mental and emotional care.
“That said, we’re more than happy to help folks get connected off campus and figuring that out if that’s the best fit for them,” she added.
Find that help here: caps.arizona.edu/care-coordination
Sometimes students need just a bit of help getting over a hurdle. For that there are peer counselors.
“These are students who are trained in psychological first aid and can do that lower level of support for other students,” Hirtes said.
“It’s focusing on coping skills and strategies, which is often what students really need. How can we increase your own skills so you can continue to prosper at the UA?”
CAPS peer counselors are UA students who are hand-picked and trained to talk with other students about whatever’s going on.
Peer counselors see individuals or groups and are scheduled Sunday through Friday. The service begins the week of Sept. 28.
Find that here: caps.arizona.edu/peer-counseling
Wildcats Anonymous is run by students, but overseen by CAPS advisers. This service is for students who might be struggling with substance abuse.
“Sometimes that’s harm reduction; sometimes it’s complete sobriety,” Hirtes added.
Follow this link: www.wildcatsanon.arizona.edu
Interpersonal violence is a reality. CAPS is available to help those who have experienced it. Hirtes is clear: Victims do not have to face it alone.
“Students can meet with an advocate confidentially and for free, or they can meet with a counselor,” she said.
“Unfortunately, things like stalking, harassment, sexual assault are real. They happen. We really want students to get the support they need.”
These services are accessible here: caps.arizona.edu/survivor-support-options
Several resources concerning body image are available. CAPS has an Eating Disorder Assessment Team (EAT team) that includes counselors, psychiatrists, dietitians and medical providers. They specialize in disordered eating and body image issues and can help students get through recovery. Visit www.caps.arizona.edu/eating-body-image
There’s also an eating disorder awareness and recovery group: caps.arizona.edu/cedar
That’s not the only group, however. There are any number of groups and workshops where students can find a home.
“A lot of times with students what they need is connection; they need other students, so groups are a wonderful place to find that,” Hirtes said.
Some groups are free and drop-in and some are a series.
Workshops cover topics such as anxiety or getting unstuck.
Build your self-care toolbox here, where you’ll find group workshop lists and schedules:
For anyone who only wants to dip their toe into the counseling pool, try www.caps.arizona.edu/togetherall, an online, 24/7, anonymous forum, where participants may start or join in a discussion. There are also free self-assessment, journaling and goal-setting tools.