Want to learn more about CAPS’ services? Most questions can be answered by checking out the FAQs below, but if we can assist further, feel free to call or stop by our office (717-948-6025, SEC suite 205).
CAPS’ services are confidential and provided by mental health professionals. Student information is private and not accessible to those outside of CAPS except in rare circumstances. Most CAPS services are provided free of charge to students.
Table of Contents
- What services does CAPS offer?
- What happens in an initial appointment?
- How long will I meet with a CAPS clinician?
- How is my personal information managed and stored?
- Does CAPS services appear on my transcript? Will my parents know?
- I’m worried about someone close to me. Am I able to speak with someone at CAPS about them?
- Is there a charge for counseling?
- How quickly can I be seen? What if I have an emergency?
- What is considered a clinical emergency or crisis?
CAPS offers a variety of services and resources, including individual or couple’s counseling, skills clinic groups, workshops, classroom presentations, outreach programming and events, psychiatric services, and multiple virtual resources, including self-help apps and 1-1 coaching. Many of these are accessible at any time, and some require a referral from a CAPS clinician.
All new students meet with a CAPS clinician to discuss concerns and focus areas. Based on this meeting, early goals and needs are identified, and appropriate services that can meet these goals are outlined.
We make every attempt to address student need with our services. However, CAPS is not designed to be a long-term treatment option for a variety of reasons. Therefore, any individual or couple’s counseling is most often short-term and limited to 6 sessions per semester.
CAPS uses an electronic medical records (EMR) system to manage student information. All CAPS forms, communication and records are kept in the EMR, which is only accessible by CAPS staff. Our EMR and records-keeping process is HIPAA-compliant and secure. All student files are deleted (or previous paper charts shredded) after seven years of inactivity. In most cases, the only times your private information would be shared without your consent is if there is an imminent threat of harm or neglect to self or others, or if a government office or court orders your records by a subpoena.
Our services are confidential, so there is no indication on University records of your work with CAPS. Similarly, unless in emergency situations, the only way that others will know of your interaction with CAPS is if you tell them or ask us to communicate with them on your behalf.
CAPS staff are happy to consult with students, faculty, and staff. Our administrative assistant can schedule you for a brief, confidential consultation with one of our clinicians to discuss your concerns. Please note that outside of very few circumstances, we are unable to contact students to perform unsolicited “check ins.”
CAPS services are free for all registered Penn State Harrisburg students with few exceptions. The first six sessions of any semester are provided free of charge. Many of our virtual resources, such as Mantra Health (medication management) and Ginger (on-demand psychological coaching) are free for a set number of hours per year or semester. There may be charges associated with these services beyond the allotted free hours, or for other services, such as our BASICS training.
Our goal is to meet with students who contact our office within 48 hours or two business days (please note this can be impacted by office staffing at times). CAPS will also assist with emergencies or crisis situations during normal operating hours when able. If our clinicians are assisting other students at the time of an emergency, and the situation cannot wait for further attention, student can call or text the Penn State Crisis Line, which is available 24/7/365 and staffed by mental health professionals. The Crisis Line will then coordinate with CAPS staff about the situation.
Penn State Crisis Line
Text: send “LIONS” to 741741
Emergency/crisis situations vary significantly because they are individually based. To maintain best care and availability, we differentiate between emotionally intense situations and clinical emergencies. CAPS encourages students, faculty, or staff to contact us or come to our office if a student is experiencing any of the following:
- Imminent suicidal thoughts and/or a plan/intent to act
- Imminent homicidal thoughts and/or a plan/intent to act
- Severe emotional disturbance or dysregulation
- Gross impairment in thinking or cognitive functioning
- Exhibiting bizarre behavior
- Recent trauma