Wellness Wednesday: On-campus mental health resources
College may very well be the best four years of a person’s life, but reports show that college students are more stressed out nowadays than they have ever been before. This stress creates a breeding ground for mental health ailments, with approximately 37 percent of college students having depression, anxiety or stress. In recognition of this growing epidemic, Daily Bruin bloggers Appurva Goel and Belicia Tang will be delving into this phenomenon and investigating the major issues and stigmas that affect the mental health of college students, as well as recapping what resources UCLA students can seek out for help.
On Oct. 18, a 20-year-old UCLA student committed suicide by jumping off Boelter Hall.
While such a tragedy is an example of the most extreme form of mental illness, it also shows mental illness among college students is a dire problem that must be addressed.
To tackle the mental health epidemic afflicting so many young adults, most colleges have developed counseling services and psychological clinics to help students cope with college and the inevitable stress it causes.
A wide variety of resources is offered on campus. While this ensures that students will be able to find specialized services that cater to their specific problems, the number of services that are offered can be overwhelming. To help Bruins understand which specific service is best suited to their needs, the Daily Bruin has summarized these college resources below.
The mental health services provided by UCLA fall under an umbrella organization known as Counseling and Psychological Services.
CAPS’s mission is to provide students with mental, emotional or psychological aid. Its services are open to all currently registered UCLA students. Neither UCLA alumni nor students enrolled through UCLA Extension are eligible for CAPS services.
Along with individual counseling services, CAPS offers group therapy for students who may not want or need individual counseling. CAPS offers both general and theme-based group therapy for students, which cater to more specific problems such as grief, homesickness and cultural acclimatization of international students. These groups are closed groups with enrollment taking place during week one and week two. The time and frequency of meetings are determined according to the needs of the group members.
Fees for CAPS services depend on your enrollment status and health insurance plan. For students with the UC Student Health Insurance Plan, CAPS services are prepaid, with no additional fee required. For registered students without UC SHIP, each therapy session, both individual and group, costs $15. This cost may be covered by private insurance depending on the insurance provider.
CAPS also offers services for emergency cases. It has a 24/7 crisis counseling telephone service for emergency intervention.
Check out the CAPS website for more useful information on how to start utilizing CAPS services.
Along with therapy groups, CAPS also offers wellness skill groups, which are three weeks long and deal with the day-to-day issues that trouble college students. Procrastination, body image, public speaking and finding focus are just some of the wellness groups that CAPS offers.
In addition to specific wellness groups, CAPS also has a wellness drop-in group called Coping Through the Quarter, which takes place every day from 10 to 10:50 a.m.
These wellness groups do not tackle serious psychological disorders, but they can help reduce everyday stress and anxiety college students face.
Although CAPS is clearly publicized as a resource for students, the continued occurrence of mental illness on campus begs the question of how many students actually utilize CAPS. And more importantly, is CAPS effectively and efficiently treating students with mental health issues?
These are questions we’d like to explore further next quarter.
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and Yoga Resources
“Live in the present” is one main motto of mindfulness. Studies now show that mindfulness has a direct effect on reducing stress and improving cognitive functioning.
The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center provides students with free podcasts on meditation and has community meetings every Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the UCLA Medical Plaza. It also provides programs with instruction in Spanish.
Studies have shown that practicing yoga is another effective way to manage various mental health illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. The John Wooden Center offers yoga classes for beginner and advanced yogis alike.
Students interested in taking more than one yoga class can purchase a quarterly yoga pass, which costs an additional $25 and grants access to all yoga classes offered at Wooden Center.
If you don’t want to pay for yoga classes, never fear. Yoga at UCLA hosts Flexible Friday – free yoga classes every Friday for all students. Classes run throughout the day in various locations on campus.
Although core counseling services are essential to cope with mental disorder, mindfulness enables students to break away from harmful habits that might be triggers for stress.
In the next edition of Wellness Wednesday, we’ll be delving deeper into CAPS by exploring the history of this service and its efficacy and efficiency. Until then, good luck on finals – you’ll be home soon!