Deficit of CAPS appointments impedes mental health support

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Tulane must take into account the students’ well being to mend the current unhealthy work-life balance.

Deeya Patel, Views Editor

In a setting where young adults are living in crowded spaces, adapting to rigorous course loads and navigating independent living for the first time, mental health resources should be readily accessible. For many students at Tulane, this is not their experience

Tulane’s official mental health resource, Counseling and Psychological Services, gives students professional mental health guidance including support groups, workshops and therapy. 

To book an appointment at CAPS, a student has to make a phone call, which already presents an impediment to many students who feel uncomfortable making calls or are in a setting where they cannot call. 

If a student does call to book an appointment, they will often be told that the next available appointment is several weeks out, especially if the appointment will be the initial consultation. For students going through a relationship crisis or experiencing anxiety during a midterms week, an appointment at the beginning of the next month is unhelpful.

The perpetual overbooking of counselors has opened up other avenues. Walk-in appointments are available to students in an emergency, but this still does little for those trying to schedule regular sessions with a counselor with whom they can build a consistent relationship. 

While a welcome resource, walk-in appointments also do not account for the fact that mental health problems can flare up at any time of the day, not just from 12 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Another potential option is group therapy. While this can prove beneficial for those who need a community to relate to, group therapy often seems to be suggested as a second best option, meant more to deal with backlog than specifically cater to a person’s mental health needs.

Increased funding for CAPS and meeting the internationally recommended ratio of one counselor per 1,000-1,5000 students is commendable, but students’ needs are not yet entirely being met. For a university to run successfully, its students should not have to face these difficulties alone. 

Directing finances into students’ wellbeing should be prioritized, perhaps more so than the cyclical demolitions and renovations on campus. If Tulane prides itself on listening to its students, it should know that a cry for mental health help is the loudest of them all.