Counseling Services for the 2022-2023 Academic Year
All people entering the Center must wear a mask while in the waiting room and use the hand sanitizer available. If you are scheduled for an in-person counseling appointment and are feeling unwell, please call to reschedule your appointment. If you are able to secure a private space, you may also request that it be changed to a tele-counseling visit.
Crisis/emergency and after-hours mental health concerns are advised to call the Penn State Crisis Line at 877-229-6400.
To get started, call the Health and Wellness Center at 814-949-5540 during the current hours of operation to request an appointment. Current operating hours are as follows:
- Monday from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
- Tuesday from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
- Wednesday from 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
- Thursday from 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
- Friday from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Students should not pursue services at CAPS for the sole purpose of obtaining a letter of support. CAPS does not provide letters at the first appointment and cannot provide documentation regarding a student's mental health without a history of services at CAPS during the specified time period. If necessary, students are encouraged to seek letters of support from individuals directly involved in their care, such as past or present psychological/psychiatric providers, medical doctors, or family members.
About CAPS at Penn State Altoona
The Counseling Center is staffed by licensed, license-eligible counselors or graduate interns who provide short-term individual counseling, CAPS Chat, and case management services as well as counseling groups, workshops, and other outreach programming. The Center's staff is dedicated to assisting students in their pursuit of personal and academic growth, helping students gain a better understanding and appreciation of themselves, and supporting students as they make important decisions about their lives. CAPS welcomes all students. We embrace diversity and honor the inclusiveness of individuals regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, cultural and religious backgrounds, and abilities. Contact the Health and Wellness Center at 814-949-5540 to schedule an appointment. Scheduling through the Online Student Access portal is currently unavailable though students can still access the portal to complete necessary forms, access tele-counseling appointments, and send and receive important, confidential communication with counseling staff through secure messages.
All current Penn State Altoona students are eligible for services. Up to eight sessions in any academic year are free for full-time students. There is a $15 per session visit fee for full-time students who exceed eight sessions as well as for part-time students.
Due to the number of students seen by a limited number of counseling staff members, we must consider how we can best serve the students seeking counseling services. During times of high demand, we may encounter a waitlist or limit the number or frequency of sessions in order to provide services to those most in need. Additionally, if it appears that a specific counseling issue will need specialized training that is beyond the scope of our clinicians’ training, we may refer you to a professional or agency with expertise in that area.
A Note about Appointments and Attendance
At times our services are in very high demand and appointment times are at a premium. When a student doesn’t show up for an appointment, it prevents another student from using that time slot. We request that you inform us if you are unable to keep a scheduled counseling or psychiatrist session. A “no show” fee of $25 will be charged to your Bursar account for failure to call ahead to cancel an appointment you are unable to keep. Repeated "no shows" may result in our asking you to seek assistance off-campus where you would likely have to pay, including for missed sessions.
Students should not pursue services at CAPS for the sole purpose of obtaining a letter of support, including for emotional support animals. CAPS does not provide letters at the first appointment and cannot provide documentation regarding a student's mental health without a history of services at CAPS during the specified time period. If necessary, students are encouraged to seek letters of support from individuals directly involved in their care such as past or present psychological/psychiatric providers, medical doctors, or family members.
WellTrack is an online therapy platform for managing anxiety and depression. It can be used as a self-help (stand-alone) tool or in conjunction with counseling. WellTrack is HIPPA compliant, easy to use, mobile-friendly, and has a companion app called MoodCheck. It is free to all Penn State students and available on the WellTrack site. Students may also download the app on Google Play or the App Store. Register for an account with your Penn State email address for full access.
WellTrack includes an initial self-assessment as well as structured sections on managing anxiety and depression, which provide tools and resources to deal with these issues, including guided relaxation exercises, simulated situations to deal with specific phobias (including public speaking), and a "Zen Room" to assist with meditation. The Moodcheck app allows students to monitor their mood throughout the day and connect to what influences their mood.
CAPS Virtual Library
The CAPS Virtual Library includes informative videos about various mental health topics. Some videos serve to inform, validate, and support, while others offer the opportunity for a basic introduction to strategies for coping with specific concerns. Perhaps you have tried some of these strategies before? You can also refer back to these videos for a refresher at any time!
Penn State Crisis Line: 877-229-6400.
A mental health professional is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you or someone you are concerned about.
9-8-8 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (Veterans Press 1)
PA Get Help Now: A confidential helpline that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to connect callers with recovery resources for their substance use. Call 1-800-662-HELP, text 717-216-0905, or chat at PA Get Help Now Chat
Limited urgent hours are available each day to speak with a counselor at our Center about a concern that you feel cannot wait. Based on availability, the counselor will provide a phone consultation or a crisis assessment and recommend a course of action. Since we are an outpatient facility and do not have urgent psychiatric care, students will be directed to a facility with greater urgent care capacities.
Crisis Text Line: Text "LIONS" to 741741
This service provides access to 24/7 crisis support via text messaging. Penn State has partnered with Crisis Text Line to provide an alternate medium—outside of phone-based and in-person services—to access crisis services. Crisis counselors are volunteers, not therapists, and do not diagnose or counsel the texter. They engage in active listening and help the person "find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better." To use the Crisis Text Line, students need only send the text message. A live crisis counselor will receive the text and respond quickly to help manage the crisis.