Informal counseling services expanded to more locations

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Expansions are coming to CAPS Chat, a drop-in counseling program that debuted last fall.

First introduced to students in South Halls during the fall 2016 semester, the informal, drop-in counseling program is now open to all Penn State students. CAPS Chat expanded locations include five commons buildings on campus as well as the law school. Students are encouraged to stop in for one-time, nonurgent, noncommittal chat with a Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor about concerns ranging from relationship issues and academic pressures to feelings of stress and anxiety.

“Because we had such a great response from the students during the pilot year, we decided to expand to reach more students,” said Jason Yoder, staff counselor for CAPS. “We have also brought CAPS Chat to the law school, and hope to expand further and serve the LGBTQA Student Resource Center as well.”

The goal of CAPS Chat is to make mental health services more accessible, especially to students who may be reluctant to seek help in the formal setting of the CAPS office in the Student Health Center. The program offers a quick drop-in option for students who want to support or explore counseling and whether it’s right for them.

“We are working to engage students proactively by reaching students where they are and addressing concerns before they develop into more significant problems,” said Jason Yoder, staff counselor for Counseling and Psychological Services.

CAPS Chat counselors will be in the commons available for meetings at the following days and times:

  • Pollock Commons: Monday, 2-4 p.m.
  • Warnock Commons: Tuesday, 2-4 p.m.
  • Redifer Commons: Wednesday, 2-4 p.m.
  • Waring Commons: Thursday, 2-4 p.m.
  • Johnston Commons: Friday, 10am-12 p.m.

In addition to the building commons, law students can benefit from the advice of a counselor from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday each week in Katz 310.

The CAPS Chat pilot program in fall 2016 was supported through a gift from Rodney P. Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, and Michele S. “Mitch” Kirsch, associate dean for student affairs in the Schreyer Honors College. The Class of 2016 gift, a CAPS endowment, will generate funds to further support the embedded counselor program in the commons buildings and across the campus community.

CAPS Chat is organized by Counseling and Psychological Services, a unit of Student Affairs. Sessions are free, last a maximum of 30 minutes, and are drop-in only. If you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening crisis where minutes count, call 911. To speak with a mental-health crisis counselor, call the Penn State Crisis Line at 877-229-6400.

Last Updated September 21, 2017