CAPS is Teaming Up With Online Mental Health Providers to Administer Support to Students


Alex McBride

Student and Community Counseling Center is located on FGCU’s campus and is open to all.

Alex McBride and Eddie Stewart

FGCU has established a partnership with online mental health support resources Uwill and Togetherall just in time to assist students in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

The partnership was announced on the Instagram page of FGCU’s Counseling and Psychological Services Department on Sept. 15, less than two weeks before Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida.

“As we all know, college students are going through a tough time right now, which is why we are pleased to announce that we have partnered with UWill and Togetherall,” CAPS Senior Director Dr. Jon Brunner said in an announcement sent to FGCU’s faculty.

Uwill is a teletherapy service students can use to connect with a therapist virtually through a video chat, phone call, or messaging system. Togetherall is an online peer mental health support group. Students can connect with their peers anonymously in an environment monitored by mental health professionals to express their thoughts and concerns. Both services are free for FGCU students.

“Our students, for the most part, like to come and be seen in person, but we still have students who want to be seen via telehealth,” CAPS Director of Outreach and Prevention Dr. Julie Rego said.

These services were promoted in FGCU’s post-hurricane email updates as alternatives to CAPS services. While CAPS was offering brief crisis meetings for students, they were unable to facilitate regular standing appointments due to limited staffing.

An individual named James wanted to remain anonymous in keeping with the nature of the program. James saw an advertisement and decided to try it out. 

“It’s easier to get into than something like CAPS,” James said. “I didn’t think I’d stay with the site very long, but I’ve found someone’s post that I really relate to, and I’ve been writing a pretty long response. It’s nice to be a positive force in others’ lives.” 

Leighanna Ackerman and Mikayla Rivera, student volunteers with FGCU’s Prevention and Wellness Services, believe that these resources can make therapy services more accessible to students.

“It’s a great service for students, especially if they can’t get in with a therapist at CAPS right away,” Ackerman said. “I know sometimes there is a really long waitlist.”

Aside from being unable to meet with a CAPS therapist due to a lack of availability, some students may also be physically unable to come to campus.

“Now with the hurricane and everything, maybe people need help but they can’t drive or they just lost their car,” Rivera said. “At least if they have internet they can still do it from their house.”

As of Oct. 7, in-person CAPS meetings are open for scheduling but Uwill and Togetherall aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“Teletherapy is here to stay,” Dr. Rego said.