Associated Students Beat Reporter
Photo by Veronica Arvizo, Staff Photographer
Assistant Clinical Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Dr. Turi Honneger presented his plan regarding the expansion of student services at CAPS during the April 8 meeting of the AS Senate at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“We really try to meet students where they’re at for individual counseling, whether that be an urgent issue that’s coming up on any given day or whether it’s something that has been longstanding, [or] isn’t urgent but you need to address it and a mental health professional is desired,” said Honneger. “We have a lot of folks that want counseling for normal developmental issues, but then we have people who are experiencing what we would call psychological or psychiatric crisis [and we perform] psychological evaluation to help them get the services they need.”
Honneger reported that the mental health services at CAPS have been growing in recent years, and their student intake has escalated yearly since 2007. In order to meet this increased need, CAPS has expanded their services by opening satellite locations, including one office at the Student Resource Building and one at the San Clemente apartments, which was meant to cater to the needs of graduate students. Honneger believes that the establishment of more locations has lead to an increase in the number of students who are willing to use the services with which they are provided.
Additionally, Honneger created a new intake system that allows students to be served on a walk-in basis, without having to schedule an appointment in advance.
“What we have heard everyone say, and what the behavior of people just walking in our door tells us, is that people don’t want to make an appointment two, three, four weeks away just to talk to someone,” he said.
In order to provide a better assessment for patients, CAPS will be opening a wellness center in the offices located above the Isla Vista Neighborhood Clinic. According to Honneger, there are multiple unoccupied spaces above the clinic, and four of the offices will be dedicated to neighborhood psychologists. The services provided by the wellness center would be available to all UCSB students, and consultations will be available to IV residents. Honneger also expressed his belief that students will still use the services in the CAPS main office more than in the satellite locations, however the satellite locations are still imperative to the expansion of mental health services at UCSB.
“If you have offices out in the community, even if the students doesn’t use that office, seeing that office there, living by it, walking by it, means that you are going to be more likely to use our service,” said Honneger. “[It] doesn’t matter which location. You’re going to be more likely to use our service. So I am really passionate about our satellite program, but I really want to bolster our reserves in our main office.”
The new wellness center will be opening in the coming months.