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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Free depression screenings today

Today marks National Depression Screening Day, and Counseling and Psychology Services is offering mental health information to students.

CAPS provides outreach services and has offered screenings to the University community for more than 10 years, CAPS doctoral psychology intern Erin Sandoval said.

"CAPS is proud to join college campuses across the nation in raising awareness about mental health issues," she said.

The screenings, which will be free from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the Cougar Den of the University Center, do not have restrictions, and the process takes about five to 10 minutes, Sandoval said.

"Participants will be asked to fill out a brief questionnaire and will discuss their answers with a CAPS staff member," she said. "During the screening, the CAPS staff member will identify appropriate services for the individual based upon his or her answers to the questionnaire."

Accounting sophomore Ashfaque Charania said he appreciates how the University is getting involved and providing services to help students.

"I’m up for it. If you talk about something that bothers you or about something wrong that has been done to you, it will help you heal," he said.

By reaching out and trying to help students, the University not only prevents students’ personal problems from growing, but they might also be protecting the campus, Charania said, referring to the Virginia Tech shooting in May that killed 33 students and faculty, including the student shooter.

"I think it’ll help a lot with all the stuff that has been going on in schools these days," he said. "I would rather have somebody go to a counselor than come to school with a gun."

Representatives from the Wellness Center, University Health Center and the Center for Students with Disabilities will also be available to offer information and counseling to students.

"Students should be screened if they are wondering whether their feeling depressed is a sign that they need counseling or medication as opposed to just having the blues," CAPS Director Kenneth Waldman said.

Staff members hope that students will take advantage of the screenings and invite others who might need counseling and advice.

"Screenings are also a way of encouraging friends to seek service that is non-intrusive," Waldman said.

Kinesiology sophomore Stephen Srouji said students would benefit from participating in the screenings.

"Depression is something serious, and people need help to get through it. It takes a huge toll on a person," he said. "It’s good for them to have a place they can go to in confidentiality in case they’re too proud to admit it."

The free screenings are a way for students to get more information on the services that are available.

"It is a way of reaching students that might otherwise feel a stigma about coming to CAPS," Waldman said. "It shows that the University cares about students’ well-being, mental health and success."

For students, faculty members and staff who want to get counseling for the rest of the year, they can come in for intake interviews, which last 90 minutes and assess mood, anxiety and other concerns at CAPS, Sandoval said.

"During an intake, individuals fill out paperwork and meet with a CAPS therapist to determine what type of services will best meet their needs," she said. "Students may receive up to 10 free individual or couples counseling sessions every academic year."

After students reach their limit of free sessions, fees are charged based on the services required, Sandoval said.

For more information or to set up an appointment, call CAPS at (713) 743-5454.

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