School, sports, and social interaction — a lot has changed since March. But at Southern Utah University, amidst the strict social distance guidelines and online classes, one thing hasn’t: SUU’s Counseling and Psychological Services is still an available resource to all students with a few new regulations for a safer therapy experience.
Currently, most of CAPS’ services are available remotely, with some still being adjusted. Individual and group counseling are done through confidential Zoom sessions, which are free for any SUU student.
Completing his 20th year at SUU, Director of CAPS Curt Hill emphasized not only how CAPS’ resources are still available for students, but just how much more needed and helpful they might be right now.
“I think it’s still a great resource for helping to manage stress and distress…We do a lot of work for people who have maybe felt they needed counseling or could benefit from counseling, and this is really their first time in their life where they have access,” Hill said. “Interestingly, with the pandemic, I think having online counseling has actually made it so it’s more accessible to a wider variety of students.”
Currently, CAPS offers 10 support groups. Hill said some groups have specific themes and directives, such as a group for the LGBTQ+ community. New to CAPS this year is an open women’s support group, primarily for supporting women who have experienced violence.
Other groups have more general objectives, like mindful self-compassion, which teaches students skills for understanding themselves and others. Those interested can access all group information online, or ask an individual counselor.
Those interested in meeting with an individual counselor or joining a group should begin by requesting services and completing the intake forms. Individuals can call CAPS for the required online paperwork, or find it directly on their website. Those interested in joining a group who are already seeing an individual counselor at CAPS should ask about group resources.
CAPS is currently working with different departments within SUU to provide more confidential spaces on campus for those interested in accessing counseling without a private location for using Zoom.
Hill firmly believes that even through virtual services, students will still receive the therapeutic support they need to excel personally and academically.
“We’ve found in some of our research, just looking at outcomes of students who have been here, that coming to CAPS is really quite helpful with academic success. Nearly 60% of students say that getting some counseling…see a direct result in approved academic success,” Hill said.
CAPS is still accommodating a few of their resources to be available in a safe environment. The Let’s Talk program, designed for students to talk to a counselor for a brief amount of time without appointment, is currently unavailable, but under construction as a future supportive measure.
However, outside of CAPS’ services, Hill believes T-Birds are rising to the occasion and supporting each other through this unprecedented time — something he feels is essential.
“This is a weird time with the pandemic. I think one thing I’ve noticed so far is I think there’s a lot of care and compassion that’s maybe increased, which students are showing toward each other, which I think is awesome,” Hill concluded.
SUU CAPS is a constant and reliable resource for students that is adapting to the unique circumstances of the fall semester. While their services look different than usual, they continue to provide students with a supportive space to discuss and overcome challenges.
Story by: Amanda Walton
Photos courtesy of SUU CAPS