Counseling Services for the 2020-2021 Academic Year
We are still available to help through tele-counseling!
Tele-counseling services are available to students. To get started, call the Health and Wellness Center at 814-949-5540 during the current hours of operation to request a phone screening. 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.
It is important that you are ready for the phone call at your scheduled time and that you are in a private location for the call.
- These appointments will be scheduled for up to one hour.
- This appointment is to gather information about you and how we can be of service. We will also complete a risk assessment.
- Safety is our number one priority. Due to separate locations, the counselor will always start the session by confirming your current location and the best phone number to reach you.
Based on this appointment, one of the following may happen:
- We can provide appropriate resources, problem-solve, and come to a resolution during this appointment. No further appointments would be scheduled. You can contact CAPS for future needs and inquiries. The Penn State Crisis Line is also available to you 24/7.
- Sometimes there are legal limitations for providing services across state lines. In this case, we will provide you with resources and/or referrals for you to contact in your state. You can contact CAPS for future needs and inquiries. The Penn State Crisis Line is also available to you 24/7.
- Sometimes, tele-mental health is not the best practice or recommended. In this case, we will provide you with resources and/or referrals for you to contact in your area. You can contact CAPS for future needs and inquiries. The Penn State Crisis Line is also available to you 24/7.
- Short term tele-mental health services are appropriate.
- You will be assigned to a brief waitlist then scheduled for your first appointment with a counselor.
- The counselor will notify you of your zoom appointment date and time by secure message. Please be sure to check your email.
- You will be sent information via your student email and a secure message about telehealth expectations (e.g. how to access your tele-counseling appointment, pre-appointment forms and surveys, what technology is needed, confidential space that is required, etc.). Please read this information carefully.
Am I eligible for Tele-counseling Services at CAPS?
Individuals eligible for tele-counseling at CAPS must meet the following criteria:
- Be enrolled at Penn State Altoona
- Be located in Pennsylvania
- Have a stable internet connection
- Have access to a webcam
- Have a private location for attending scheduled appointments with no distractions
Not eligible? CAPS can still help you navigate to services that can meet your needs.
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 counselors who provide both individual counseling 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, to help students gain a better understanding and appreciation of themselves, and to support students as they make important decisions about their lives. Contact the Health and Wellness Center at 814-949-5540 to schedule an appointment or schedule through the Online Student Access secure portal.
All current Penn State Altoona students are eligible for services. The first eight sessions in any academic year are free for full-time students. There is a $10 per session visit fee for full-time students who exceed eight sessions as well as for part-time students.
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 online with the access code password golions.
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 make connections to what is influencing 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!
[email protected] gives students one place to access comprehensive resources, tools, and information around a range of topics within three pillars: Succeed, Thrive, Matter. Students log in to the portal at You.PSU.edu using their Penn State credentials. Then they can create a profile, take a brief questionnaire, and set goals. Based on this information, the content within the portal is customized to a student’s needs and interests while maintaining his or her privacy and anonymity.
Students experiencing emotional distress can call the Penn State Crisis Line at 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.
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 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.
Students may also make use of the Crisis Text Line. 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 and are 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 "LIONS" to 741741. A live crisis counselor will receive the text and respond quickly to help manage the crisis.