Counseling and Psychological Services has initiatives planned for the fall semester that will hopefully make counseling more available and immediate to IU’s students, CAPS director Dr. Nancy Stockton said.
These initiatives are designed to reach out to students in IU’s many multicultural and academic centers.
One of these initiatives is called Let’s Talk Now, in which CAPS consultants will be available to chat with students in the University’s multicultural and academic centers as a kind of pre-counseling effort.
Stockton said the initiative will continue with Let’s Keep Talking, which will implement regular CAPS staff at these centers.
CAPS counselor Muhammad Saahir said in an email that the Let’s Talk staff, which includes IU doctoral students as well as CAPS counselors, will offer counseling in languages such as Spanish and Mandarin to circumvent language barriers for some international students.
“I think that the Let’s Talk Now and the Let’s Keep Talking initiatives will promote a more inviting and multicultural-focused approach to counseling for the international student populations at IU,” Saahir said in the email.
This past semester, CAPS cooperated with Jacobs School of Music as part of their counselor-in-residence program. Clinical psychologist Brad Stepp was stationed at the music school 20 hours per week.
Stepp provided counseling at the music school, same-day consultations for urgent situations and conducted outreach programs for students, faculty and staff.
Stockton said the School of Public and Environmental Affairs will see a similar implementation this semester as a progression of the counselor-in-residence program.
Stockton said as the new school year begins, issues prevalent with students are anxiety and difficulty adjusting to a new town, country or culture.
Saahir said a lot of the students he sees at the beginning of the year are concerned about how they will perform academically, how they will fit in with their peers and how they will balance a workload with their personal life.
CAPS said it is aware of the stigma that often surrounds counseling and psychological services.
Stockton said CAPS tries to publicize the large number of students who seek counseling to help decrease stigma.
Though any student who experiences mental health issues is encouraged to seek counseling, Stockton said there are a few self-help methods for students who are not ready to reach out yet.
“I think students should try to get involved because campus can be so huge and overwhelming,” Stockton said.
Stockton said making an effort to form a small community at school is a form of self-help.
She said being patient with yourself and pacing yourself is also incredibly important when taking a self-help approach to mental health care.
Saahir said he recommends students who are on the fence about counseling attend the free workshops CAPS is offering this semester.
The next workshop is a Monday Motivators session that will focus on self-compassion Sept. 12 at Wells Library.
“I would encourage any student hesitant to use services that having strong emotions about receiving help is understandable,” Saahir said.
A previous version of this article said the School of Public Health will see implementation of the counselor-in-residence program. However, it is the School of Public and Environmental Affairs that will see this program. The IDS regrets this error.