CAPS and ARC are here for students


If the university community has learned anything from the COVID-19 year, it is that mental health is just as serious of a concern as physical health. Even with fall and Thanksgiving breaks re-implemented this semester, self-care is still integral–and Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) are available to help.

According to the director of CAPS, Paige Bartels, the mission is to support the mental health and well-being of students. “The Counseling and Psychological Services office believes that students are strong, capable and resilient,” said Bartels.

She also said that the services offered aim to especially support students in times of need, as they manage an array of mental health challenges. The department is made up of licensed staff clinicians, clinicians-in-training, and a part-time advanced practice registered nurse, who manages and writes prescriptions for psychiatric management.

Specific opportunities include one-on-one counseling and therapy, group therapy, support groups, medication management, outreaches, psychoeducation, consultations and various specialized campus-wide outreach programs. On Sept. 10 CAPs held one such program, a meditation session in the gazebo outside of the office located in the basement of Sheffield. They also held a progressive muscle-relaxation event on Monday Sept. 13 in Bartels Student Activity Center.

Bartels also said that the department is always looking to work towards the needs of students and is open to program and event suggestions.

“We utilize students’ own strengths and aid them in being able to function at their highest capacity,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is for students to be able to identify and reach their own goals.

Bartels also said that the department strives to offer each service in an atmosphere that is welcoming to students of all identities regardless of race, gender, ethnic background, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or physical ability.

The ARC is another resource for students, particularly those with disabilities or who seek academic accommodations.

“The mission of the Accessibility Resources Center,” said director Linda Copney-Okeke, “is to engage students with disabilities in purposeful transformational learning experiences that prepares them both academically and socially for full integration in a global society, and to lead fulfilling lives.”

Specific services through the center include: coordination of reasonable accommodations for permanent and temporary disabilities, parking exceptions, modified housing and accessible van access; notetaker services; auxiliary aides such as readers, scribes, interpreters and closed-captioning services; electronic textbooks and alternate material formats; examination proctoring; academic support including coaching, learning assistance and limited tutoring; college transition support; and disability awareness programming, such as Disable the Label Awareness Day.

Students who may be eligible for ARC services include any student with a disability, chronic health-related condition or military service-connected disorder–whether domestic or international. Copney-Okeke said, “this is also dependent on the impact of the specific condition on the student’s ability to function in the academic setting.”

ARC also co-sponsors several academic workshops with departments such as the Center for Student Success and the Center for Learning Resources. These programs are signified by the title “How Do I…?” and consist of a variety of topics, such as time management, test prep and study planning, textbook reading and skills, apps for academic success and note taking strategies, all of which are weekly series.

If students are interested in accessing the resources within CAPs, they are encouraged to contact the department directly at [email protected] or (203) 932-7333, and follow their Instagram (@thecownselingcow) to keep up with the latest support groups and events.

If a student is unsure if they are eligible for ARC services, they can contact the department directly at [email protected], calling the office at (203) 932-7332 or through the Navigate server.