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The stress test

Counseling and Psychological Services at Florida Gulf Coast University is adding more resources to help distressed students.

Amanda Lawson-Ross, PhD, is a clinician at CAPS and says that CAPS is working to accommodate students more than ever this semester.

“This semester we’ve seen students at a much higher distress level than previous semesters,” Lawson-Ross said. “We’re looking for new ways to meet their needs and come up with more prevention-based programs so they don’t get up to that level.”

One of these new programs is an online anxiety reduction program. CAPS can enroll students in groups or as couples if both parties are students. The program is available to all students in need. To become enrolled, students have to go in for an appointment and inquire about the program.

“A student would come in for triage for the online program because we don’t want anybody who is actively suicidal to be doing just an online program, but anybody who is stressed out and wants to come in and try the program can come in,” Lawson-Ross explained.

There is no current waitlist for the online anxiety reduction program. However, appointments can fill up fast.

“Every student that comes to us, we lay eyes on. We won’t ever send anybody away without seeing them,” Lawson-Ross said. “If they’re in immediate distress, we’ll get them in right away. But if it’s something that can wait a couple of days, then we’ll put them on the wait list when we’re full.”

If a student is in desperate need of an appointment, CAPS also has a 24/7 hotline called the EARS Line. It is staffed by licensed counselors and callers are directed to the counselor on call, which is a clinician at CAPS.

Shawn Felton, a professor and the Faculty Senate president, had Lawson-Ross speak at the Faculty Senate meeting on Friday, Oct. 17 due to some concerns faculty members had with students in terms of behavior and how they could help.

“We have excellent experts on campus about this,” Felton said. “There’s often, but there shouldn’t be, a taboo about it. But it’s good for students to know that they’re not broken and that there’s something they can do about it.”

Students can book an appointment at CAPS in Howard Hall 228. CAPS is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Fridays. Its phone number is 239-590-7950, and their 24 hotline is 239-745-EARS (3277).

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