For UM-Flint students seeking mental health help, CAPS has you covered

If you’re a college student struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone.

One in five young people has a diagnosable mental illness, and 44 percent of college students in America reported experiencing symptoms of depression, according to the University of Michigan.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s important to know that UM-Flint has an office to help: Counseling and Psychological Services, also known as CAPS. CAPS offers current UM-Flint students in-person and remote counseling.

Five licensed masters-level counselors provide students with confidential individual, couples, and sometimes group counseling, as well as mental health and wellbeing workshops, support groups, and resources. CAPS counselors work primarily under a short-term, solution-focused treatment model, but counselors may use other types of treatment depending on the student’s needs.

With CAPS After Hours Services, students can access crisis support anytime at (810) 762-3456.

What can you expect?

To make an appointment, contact the CAPS office. Students can request or be assigned a specific advisor, and they can change advisors if they wish.

The first step is a 90-minute intake session for counselors to holistically assess each student’s mental health and wellness needs. Students are asked to complete assessments to provide basic information about their current level of functioning, academic status, demographics, trauma history, and more.

Students spend the remainder of the intake appointment with a CAPS counselor in a private office to further discuss and elaborate on the student’s current mental health and well-being treatment concerns and goals. Advisors share basic information about CAPS services, what to expect when receiving services, and the limits of confidentiality.

During future one-on-one counseling sessions, students meet individually with their counselor weekly or bi-weekly for 45 to 50 minutes to discuss information and resources and apply therapeutic interventions and techniques to support students in achieving their mental health and well-being goals.

“Mental health counseling is an active process, not a passive one,” said CAPS senior social worker Kayla Bueby, LMSW. “Without regularly attending counseling sessions and implementing skills and strategies outside of sessions with a counselor, students are likely to struggle to meet their mental health and wellbeing goals.”

What UM Flint Students Face

The two biggest concerns UM-Flint students report to the CAPS office are depression and anxiety. Students do not need to have or qualify for a formal mental health diagnosis to receive services from CAPS.

CAPS counselors can help students with a variety of mental health and wellness issues, including but not limited to:

  • Personal concerns: mild to moderate stress and anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, guilt, low self-esteem, and grief and loss
  • Relationship problems: romantic difficulties, interpersonal conflicts, family problems, communication problems
  • Developmental issues: adjustment to college, life transitions, identity (eg, personal, cultural, sexual orientation, gender identity)
  • Substance use concerns related to light or moderate alcohol or other drug use/abuse
  • Academic Concerns: Stage fright, perfectionism, low motivation, or mental health issues that affect academic difficulties
  • Other concerns may include, but are not limited to: effects of trauma, sexual assault, abuse, family history, spirituality, body image, dietary concerns, and healthy living

During fall 2021 and winter 2022, CAPS provided 2,149 appointments for 262 clients, 77 percent of which were conducted remotely via Zoom or phone.

More than 41 percent of students receiving CAPS services have never had prior mental health counseling.

Students who have received CAPS services report overwhelmingly positive results. More than 80 percent of students say their academic performance has improved, and nearly 90 percent of students say they are more likely to graduate from UM-Flint because of CAPS services. All students who received CAPS services say they felt safe sharing their thoughts, feelings and concerns with the counselors and all students say they are satisfied with the services received.

Students can find resources to support their mental, physical and emotional health here and view the university’s digital care package.

To schedule an appointment with a CAPS counselor, contact the office at (810) 762-3456 or visit the 264 University Center.

About Ellen Lewandowski

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