Clinical Service Changes

In response to student demand for rapid access to mental health services, to reduce wait times and provide flexible options for scheduling follow-up appointments, we are adding a new level of service at CAPS.  Initial Consultations will be offered starting Spring 2017.  This new service option is intended to build capacity at CAPS by increasing access points to quality, flexible and timely care.

Initial Consultations

All students new to CAPS will begin services through an initial consult usually within 72 hours  of the student’s request. These walk-in or phone consultations, lasting 15-20 minutes,  will allow a student to meet with a CAPS clinician to assess current need for psychological care and support. Students will be asked to arrive 15 minutes in advance to complete necessary information and assessment forms. These forms must be completed on site and before the appointment begins. If the student  chooses the phone option, they are advised to  be in a place where they feel comfortable discussing private and personal information.

During an initial consultation, the counselor will ask the student several questions about the current situation as well as gather information about their psychiatric history.  With a clearer picture of the student’s  needs, a personalized plan will be developed for their care. Students who have utilized the Mental health Screening can share these results during the consultation. A plan may include referrals to other departments for academic support, psychoeducation or to a community provider for longer term care and medication management.

When brief counseling is appropriate, the student  may be referred to an individual CAPS clinician. They may also be referred  to a skill building, support or therapy process group within CAPS. Students who are recommended for short term counseling at CAPS will have an opportunity to discuss preferences for a clinician. CAPS will make every effort to accommodate clinician preferences based on mutual availability.  All of our clinicians are generalists with ongoing training in the delivery of culturally competent care.

For students experiencing a life threatening crisis, same-day assessments will continue as before.

Group Counseling

Every semester, CAPS offers a robust groups program. While some students tend to initially prefer individual counseling, many ultimately prefer group counseling after they have had an opportunity to participate in a few group meetings. There is strong empirical support for group treatment for many issues including depression, anxiety, ADHD and social anxiety. Students who attend groups benefit from learning new coping skills as well as the opportunities for peer support and feedback as well as new relationships.

Flexible, Short-term Individual Counseling

Based on the outcome of the student’s initial consult  or if they have been in treatment with a CAPS clinician in the prior semester, individual counseling sessions will range from 20 to 45 minutes. The length and frequency of sessions are planned collaboratively by the clinician and the student, with consideration for the student’s level of functioning, progress, available supports and overall demand for services. Students who require weekly, on-going psychotherapy are referred to our community provider network as the demand for services does not allow CAPS to offer weekly psychotherapy. 


A primary function of CAPS is to help students connect to therapists in the community for ongoing support. CAPS maintains a referral network of community providers including therapists and prescribers who have considerable experience and interest in working with Brown students.  The student may receive referrals and assistance with referrals from their individual clinicians. In the case that a student requires or requests more in-depth help navigating community referrals, the Student Care Coordinator is available to assist with the referral process. These appointments are 30 minute consultations. Students should bring insurance cards and relevant information to these scheduled meetings.

Urgent Consultations 

An urgent need occurs when a student’s coping skills are no longer effective in helping them to manage a situation.  Urgent situations are potentially life altering but not life threatening. Students with urgent needs may want immediate support. Students and campus partners can request an urgent appointment which is scheduled within 72  hours of the request.  These appointments focus on  helping the student to resolve/cope with the acute situation and assess safety concerns.

Students may also seek support from their residential life network, the chaplain’s office and the Office of Student Support Services. Examples of urgent situations are a death of a loved one, a relationship break-up or conflict, feeling overwhelmed by a big academic task, experiencing race-related stress or harassment, getting news of illness or major diagnosis. CAPS does not provide notes for class/exam absences or coursework deadline changes. See the Dean of The College ( DOC)  website for information on how to obtain a note.

Crises/ Emergencies

Emergencies are life threatening situations which require an immediate response. If a student  is  involved in or witness an emergency, they will be instructed to call DPS. DPS will contact the CAPS on-call clinician who is available 24/7 to consult, assess and facilitate hospitalization when indicated for a student’s safety.  An emergency might involve:

Persistent thoughts and/or plans to hurt themselves or someone else

Engaging in a life threatening behavior

Physical or sexual assault

An episode of mania or psychosis

The on-call counselor will help a distressed student to get the care they need by assessing the safety concerns. They will help students to make a plan for getting through the night, the weekend or if indicated the counselor will facilitate hospitalization.

Consultation about concern for another student

Students can consult about the welfare of another student in person or by phone. Call CAPS to schedule a consultation. If you are in or witness a life threatening emergency, call DPS.

Psychiatry Services

Students who are in ongoing therapy with a local community therapist may see a CAPS psychiatrist, based on availability, for medication consultation, evaluation, and ongoing management.  Students may be referred to a CAPS psychiatrist by their community therapist or by a CAPS therapist in conjunction with community therapy referrals. CAPS psychiatrists may prescribe medication for ADHD if they are already providing medication for another condition, but they do not provide treatment for ADHD alone.  Students who are seeking  medication management or treatment for ADHD, or prefer to continue with a therapist from home remotely, will be offered referrals to off-campus psychiatrists.  Phone-in refills are only available within three months of the last visit to a prescriber.

Mental Health Screening

CAPS offers free, anonymous and confidential on line screenings to help students increase/clarify their awareness of their mental health status.  The screening instruments take less than five minutes to complete and only the student can view the results.  The screening can help students decide if scheduling an initial consultation is recommended.  This tool was not developed by CAPS and is not meant to be a substitute for professional evaluation. Students are encouraged to seek care even if they think their problems are not that serious. Early  intervention often leads to faster recovery and less impact to academic functioning. Students are encouraged to share their results during appointments.