CAPS will provide 36 more appointments per day by next year
On Jan. 9, the California State University Office of the Chancellor gave Counseling and Psychological Services a grant of $150,000 under the California Budget Act of 2019 to provide Humboldt State University students with more counseling services to combat mental health issues.
Director of Counseling and Psychological Services and Associate Director of Student Health and Wellbeing Services Jennifer Sanford was closely involved in the acceptance of the grant.
“I’m most excited about the pilot project to get innovative programs off the ground that’s focused on high-risk students,” Sanford said. “In developing this program we will be doing some specialized training that we’re doing research on now to launch next year.”
Lobby areas will be built to hold more students and allow for an increase in counseling appointments. The grant will also fund two new therapy offices in the Behavioral and Social Sciences building, which will allow therapists to extend their hours. More tables and chairs will be added to the waiting areas to eliminate standing-room-only appointments. Construction will begin this summer.
The funds are expected to help students learn life skills, cope, regulate stress and manage moods. CAPS says improving these areas can improve class attendance, retention in school and promote graduation. With anti-stigma campaigning, CAPS hopes to make students feel comfortable talking about their problems.
Danele Quijas, a 22-year-old biology major, said students don’t pay enough attention to their mental health.
“Mental health doesn’t get the recognition that it should,” Quijas said. “When you’re not mentally well, your body reacts to that. If you’re stressed out, you’re only going to make it worse. More people should pay attention to it.”
A pilot project of $25,000 was also accepted by CAPS and will allow the growth of an intensive treatment program for high-risk students with disabling and chronic mental health issues. This treatment plan will include individual and group therapy as well as the highly-researched dialectical behavior therapy. CAPS hopes to continue this growth by providing other California State Universities with the tools to rebuild their own programs to be as effective as possible.
Casey Pederson, a senior majoring in business marketing, said HSU should do more to make resources clearly available to students.
“In a case like this with mental health, there can never be too many resources—so I definitely think it would help,” Pederson said. “I also think a big issue about it is getting people to know. Like I said, I had no knowledge that this was happening, and the big thing with mental health is the lack of knowledge and getting help. And there are resources available.”