CAPS, Care Team offering virtual mental health services

Masters+Level+Psychology+Intern+for+Wichita+State%27s+Counseling+and+Prevention+Services+program+Samantha+Fulcher+discusses+mindful+eating+during+a+Keep+Calm+and+Breathe+livestream+on+April+13%2C+2020.

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Masters Level Psychology Intern for Wichita State's Counseling and Prevention Services program Samantha Fulcher discusses mindful eating during a Keep Calm and Breathe livestream on April 13, 2020.

Even in a remote format, Wichita State’s Counseling and Prevention Services remains a resource for students.

Counselors are now offering sessions through Zoom, rather than face-to-face to follow social distancing measures in hopes of flattening the curve. 

Along with offering virtual counseling services for students, the department, along with the #WSUWeSupportU campaign, is sharing mental health tips on their social media accounts.  

“We want to reach as many students as we can to help them with their mental health,” Director of Counseling and Prevention Services Jessica Provines said.

Provines is also encouraging students to share their own tips online.

“We also would really like to encourage everyone in the campus to . . . share their tips as well and support each other, show how we’re still supporting each other through #WSUWeSupportYou and kind of changing the narrative from . . . social distancing to physical distance, seems still socially connected,” Provines said.

The department has also been offering their mindfulness program Keep Calm and Breathe on their Facebook every Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Another resource is the CARE Team. An interdepartmental organization that doesn’t solely focus on mental health services for students, the team still deals with mental health cases and refers them where they should go for help.

“We continue to reach out to the individuals that we currently have on our caseload and making sure that their needs are being met,” Chair Alicia Newell said. “Whether that’s, you know, a lot of students have anxiety right now, having to take an online class that they’ve never taken online before. And so we try to help . . . if a student who is . . . already dealing with anxiety and now you’re having to throw in a new style of learning on top of that, how that can kind of enhance some of those stressors. 

“So we’re trying to help reinforce some coping mechanisms and positive self-help techniques that they can be doing at home.”

The Care Team has implemented a weekly program that focuses on different areas students may have to cope with during social distancing measures, such as anxiety, depression, and grief.

“Right now, you know stress and anxiety is huge because it’s like, ‘Oh my god, how do I, how do I do this?,” Newell said.

While Provines said CAPS has experienced an initial decrease in the amount of requests for mental health services since in-person learning was abruptly halted, she expects students to seek out their resources as social distancing measures persist.

Newell said that compared to March last year, the Care Team has seen a 60% increase in cases.

“It’s a great thing,” Newell said. “Just because we’re up in cases, it doesn’t mean, like, we have a ton of students out there that are in crisis.

“It means that we have more students who are utilizing self-help-seeking behaviors, which if you look at any of the prevention stuff that CAPS has been doing, which I think is phenomenal, that tells me that it’s working.”