CaPS Services for the CMU Community during the COVID-19 Pandemic
CaPS is currently providing all of our services through Telemental Health, via face-to-face video conferencing, to currently enrolled CMU students.
Even though the way we deliver our services has changed, the one thing that remains constant is our commitment to serving all CMU students and the community at large.
Clinical Services for Out of State Students or Students living Internationally
We are committed to work with any CMU student regardless of where they currently reside, whether that is guiding you to find a provider in your area or helping you find the best possible solution given your individual situation. We work on a case by case basis, considering your specific needs and current constraints.
Due to licensure laws and limitations across different states, clinicians at CaPS can provide ongoing distance counseling only to students who are located within Pennsylvania. We are aware that some states are beginning to change laws to allow out-of-state providers to provide teletherapy within their states. The leadership of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American College Health Association (ACHA), as well as other relevant organizations, are advocating for reform across the country on this matter. We are monitoring this situation closely to adapt our services to these changes when they come.
If you reside outside of PA, CaPS provides Zoom video consultations with the purpose of assessing your current needs, learning your location, identifying resources around you, and providing guidance as you secure these resources.
If you reside internationally, CaPS may also provide Zoom video consultation with the purpose of assessing your current needs and providing guidance about next steps.
Call to get started: 412-268-2922.
Clinical Services for students Residing in Pennsylvania
CaPS currently provides distance counseling in the form of teletherapy via Zoom. CaPS has acquired Zoom Healthcare, a secure and confidential virtual platform that allows us to continue addressing the mental health needs of our students. Learn more about Telemental Health Distance Counseling Services at CaPS.
Please note that distance counseling is not recommended or clinically appropriate for individuals who present with acute symptomology or are at high risk of suicide.
Call today to schedule a phone consultation: 412-268-2922.
CaPS also provides group services for students residing in Pennsylvania. Please click here for a list of current offerings.
Clinical Services for All CMU Students
CaPS provides after-hours support for the CMU community. Please call 412-268-2922 to talk to a clinician.
Same Day Urgent Screening Consultation
CaPS provides Zoom video consultations to students who self-identify as being in a crisis or who are needing to talk to someone right away. During this consultation, we will assess your current level of distress, identify how we can help, and connect you to the right resources.
Our last appointment of the day is 4pm EST.
Other Services for ALL CMU Students
In addition to consultations and referrals, CaPS offers a variety of workshops, on different topics, that are open to all CMU students. Please check out our workshop offering list, which is located on the task bar to the right of this page.
For a list of trainings offered to CMU students and the community, click here.
Faculty and Staff
This pandemic has impacted our community in varying ways, including your roles as faculty and staff. We recognize that you’ve had to rapidly transition the work you do onto a virtual platform in order to continue to service our students and our community. We also recognize that many of you are grappling with how to best serve our students at this time. Many students may be dealing with increased fear, anxiety and concern over the future and are struggling to process the ambiguity that comes with this pandemic. CaPS continues to provide staff and faculty with the support and resources to address the emotional and mental health needs of our students.
State licensure laws and relevant accrediting organizations are currently adapting rules and regulations based on societal needs and demands. We are closely monitoring these changes.
CaPS Outreach Prevention and Education (COPE)
COPE engages the CMU community through holistic and inclusive trainings that increase access to services, reduce barriers and help eliminate the stigma around seeking help. COPE services provide:
- Consultation to any member of the campus community on how to best address and discuss topics of mental health and wellness with their staff, faculty, and students.
- Collaborate with department on workshops and/or programming that is tailored to meet the needs of faculty, staff and students
- Assess the needs of the campus community in times of high pressure or crises to provide support and/or psychoeducation
If you would like for us to develop a workshop that best meets the needs of your staff or department, please complete this form.
Explore the Community Health and Well-Being Workshops, some of which are in partnership with COPE.
How to Support Students Virtually
If you are concerned for a student’s well-being, or want to learn more about signs and symptoms of distress, please visit this page. You can also always call us for consultation at 412-268-2922
You can continue to assess for signs of distress even through a virtual platform by observing and paying attention to students’ working habits. Is the student attending classes? Doing assignments on time? Participating in classes or forums? Asking for deadline extensions? Does the student appear disheveled?
Here is some additional guidance:
- Schedule a time to meet with a student if you have concerns. Ask the student if they are in a private and safe space as you let them know you want to talk about a sensitive subject.
- Be as specific as you can with what you are observing and experiencing. When appropriate, ask “How long has ___ been going on?” You want to assess if this is a long-standing difficulty or an adjustment difficulty due to the current changes
- Put your active listening skills into action. Validate when necessary and acknowledge how tough this transition must be for them. If the student has asked for help already, ask if this has been helpful and encourage them to call the appropriate office to brainstorm other options if necessary.
- Identify supports around them. Are they in PA? Are they out of state? Is there someone in their home that can support them? Encourage them to call CaPS for additional guidance/help.
Utilize the virtual space. Share screens of resources (on-campus, virtual, in their community, Thriving Campus), encourage them to create a shared document with concrete steps they plan on taking, create a list of their support systems, have them schedule things into their calendar, etc.
Cultural differences continue to be an important factor to pay attention to when assessing a student in distress virtually. How we respond and react to a high stress situation can be influenced by the culture we grew up in.
Other things to keep in mind when having a conversation with a student you are concerned about:
- Remind the student that you are doing this out of genuine concern.
- Always be transparent with your intentions.
- Remain calm and approach the student with a caring and supportive tone.
- Recognize that many students are grieving the loss of different experiences – allow space for that in conversation if it comes up.
- Acknowledge that our current situation feels scary, anxiety inducing and overall ambiguous.
- Don’t minimize, invalidate, or immediately problem solve their feelings.
- Schedule check-ins with students, especially if you’ve already been concerned about them.
- Acknowledge that it’s difficult to feel secure and stable in the midst of this instability – but, what is within their control? Start small if it feels helpful.
- Acknowledge that loneliness might be a part of their experience. Validate and normalize that – encourage them to think creatively about ways to connect.
Things to bring up in the conversation if possible:
- Reinforce that it is especially important for students to develop a routine and structure as they transition to this virtual space. Help them think through ways they can create that structure.
- Encourage them to include some physical activity into their structure.
- Emphasize the importance of connection despite social distancing. Help them think through ways they can maintain connections.
Additional Resources for Faculty
JED's Webinar for Faculty on Managing Stress During Distance Learning
(You can access the webinar transcript here and the slides here.)
Living with Worry and Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty (available in 20 languages)
Faculty and staff are also invited to participate in any of the Community Health and Well-Being Workshops.