An Interview with CAPS Leaders
Avery Cook, the CAPS director, and Erinn Scott, assistant director for multicultural health at CAPS, answer a few questions about CAPS.
When should a student contact CAPS?
A student should contact CAPS anytime they feel they need some support with their mental health. Students come into CAPS for reasons that run the entire spectrum of concerns – from concerns around transitioning to college and developmental concerns to psychiatric crises.
Once a student contacts CAPS, what will happen next?
After an initial assessment, a student will leave that day with a plan for next steps to best address their mental health needs. This could be a connection within CAPS for services such as brief therapy, medication management or group therapy. It could also be a referral to an off-campus therapist for more open-ended treatment along with support from a CAPS referral coordinator or a connection to another office on campus.
What are a few things that you want students to know about CAPS?
We make it easy to access CAPS services. All first appointments are available on a walk-in basis so there’s no barrier to accessing care. CAPS also has support available 24/7, as a student is able to call CAPS anytime day or night and speak with a therapist for support. We want students to know that they are never alone in dealing with their mental health concerns. Someone is always available for support.
We also have a Multicultural Health Program, which centers the needs of Black, Indigenous and Students of Color on campus, working to decrease mental health stigma and increasing access to culturally responsive mental health support and services.
What is the Multicultural Health Program?
The Multicultural Health Program is a program within Counseling and Psychological Services that centers the mental health needs of students of color on Carolina’s campus. Our goal is to decrease mental health stigma and increase access to services among underrepresented student populations. Some ways that we reach students are through individual and group therapy, outreach and workshops, and developing relationships with campus partners and student organizations.
What can students expect if they reach out to the Multicultural Health Program?
Students who connect with MCHP can expect to connect with therapists who use culturally responsive mental health interventions. Students can also expect to engage in outreach and workshops that focus on topics of relevance to marginalized communities. As with all CAPS staff, the MCHP staff has a value of social justice and empowerment as well as meeting students where they are.
When would you encourage students to contact the Multicultural Health Program?
Building community is such an important part of the Carolina journey, and for students of color, this can mean being intentional about finding and creating spaces where students can bring their whole selves and show up authentically as well gain and give support to other students with shared identities. If students of color are struggling with that goal, that would be a good time to connect with the MCHP program to help discover ways to reach your goals.