If you have an emergency, please dial 911. The Penn State Crisis line is available at 877-229-6400. The national and state mandates continue to change rapidly, so please check the Penn State Altoona website as well as Penn State’s Coronavirus Information site.
Accessing counseling services during remote learning
Tele-mental health services are available to students. Students can call the Health and Wellness Center during their current hours of operation, Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
What happens when I call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)?
When you call the Health and Wellness Center during our current hours of operation, an administrative support assistant will schedule you for a telephone appointment with a CAPS counselor. 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/crisis services. 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/referrals for you to contact in your state. You can contact CAPS for future/crisis services. 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/referrals for you to contact in your area. You can contact CAPS for future/crisis services. The Penn State Crisis Line is also available to you 24/7.
- Short term tele- mental health sessions 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 so you need to check your emails.
- You will be sent information (also via secure message) about telehealth expectations (e.g. how appointments are scheduled, what technology is needed, confidential space that is required, etc.). Please read this information carefully.
[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.
CAPS Virtual Life Hacks
CAPS is offering a twice-daily drop-in support opportunity for all Penn State students. Virtual Life Hacks will run Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for one hour. Each session is comprised of a 20-25 minute presentation about transitions, managing stress, and coping skills associated with COVID-19 and small group discussions. It is designed for all students, both undergrad and graduate, and run by CAPS staff.
About CAPS at Penn State Altoona
The Counseling Center is staffed by licensed counselors who provide both individual counseling and case management services. 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.
Limited urgent hours are available each day to speak with a counselor 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 experiencing emotional distress can also make use of the Penn State Crisis Line by calling 877-229-6400.
Often crises occur for students when our center is closed. Please contact the Community Crisis Center located at the UPMC Altoona Campus at 814-889-2141 or 800-540-4690. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also contact the Meadows Psychiatric Center at 800-641-7529 or Contact Altoona at 814-946-9050.
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.