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Friday, September 21, 2018

Campus

Despite small staff, CAPS makes student impact


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Located on the second floor of Student Service Center 1, Counseling and Psychological Services works hard to reach out to the tens of thousands of students on campus. Despite a tiny staff and sometimes slow waiting times, students have given CAPS rave reviews. | File photo/The Cougar

Counseling and Psychological Services has been a part of the UH community since 1985 and is dedicated to helping students in need from all walks of life.

According to CAPS Associate and Clinical Director Christopher Scott, the number of students seeking services at CAPS has increased dramatically since 2010. Enrollment has reached a high point on campus, and as a result, more students are seeking help at CAPS than ever before.

“We are seeing a substantial increase in crisis (and) after-hours contacts,” Scott said. “What has not kept pace with increasing enrollment and on-campus residency is the size of the CAPS staff.”

According to feedback CAPS has received from The International Association of Counseling Centers, the current staff at CAPS is roughly half the size it should be for “a university with an enrollment of over 40,000 students.”

Despite this ratio, Scott said CAPS is dedicated to providing the best services for students. According to Scott, the wait times for counseling at UH are significantly better than most Texas universities.

“I would encourage anyone to poll any Tier 1 university counseling center in Texas and ask them about their wait time for first appointments,” Scott said. “I think they would find that we what we offer (is comparable), even though we have a fraction of the staff of many of these other university counseling centers.”

Typical counseling centers at large universities have a wait period for a first appointment of about two weeks. Scott said CAPS accommodates first-time students as quickly as possible and also works to make a number of same-day 8 a.m. appointments available each day. CAPS also has a consultant on duty 24/7 to help with crises. Last week, CAPS saw 10 walk-in crisis appointments.

“Whether students want to drop in for a Let’s Talk Consultation, seek routine services or are experiencing a crisis, we do our best to be there,” Scott said. “We pride ourselves on providing quality treatment to students rather than just crisis services and referrals.”

Every semester CAPS surveys students and asks them, “What would you like to tell other UH students about CAPS?” Students who agreed to anonymously submit their responses are quoted below.

  • “CAPS is very helpful with meeting our needs. It is one of the most important services I’ve used as an effort to improve myself.”
  • “I didn’t know all that I could learn at CAPS but it has exceeded my expectations. I’m very grateful!”
  • “I encourage my friends to seek out services at CAPS.  I’ve felt very welcome, supported and genuinely cared for by all CAPS staff I’ve encountered.”
  • “(Do not) wait. You know where you need to go; just take the first step and go.”

If you are struggling with schoolwork, anxiety or anything at all, call CAPS at 713-743-5454 to arrange a free initial consultation (ICON) appointment. CAPS is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the event of an after-hours crisis, call the UH Department Of Public Safety at 713-743-3333 and ask to be transferred to the CAPS “Clinician on Call.”

[email protected]

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