CAPS FAQs

How many students use CAPS' services?

More than 22% of Cornell students accessed CAPS' services in the last academic year.

Since 2015-2016:

• Total clinical encounters increased by 12% (up to 26,000)
• Individual therapy encounters increased by 19%
• Brief assessments increased by 22%

What services are offered through CAPS?

Let's Talk

• Informal, confidential consultation with a Cornell Health CAPS therapist (psychologist or social worker)
• Drop-in service at a variety of campus locations
• At least one site is available for at least two hours every day, Monday through Friday
• No charge

Learn more about Let's Talk.

Individual counseling

• Short-term one-on-one counseling with a CAPS therapist
• Scheduled by CAPS staff, subsequent to first phone or in-person visit, or referral from another Cornell Health provider
• Appointments usually are available within ten business days for students with more stable concerns; urgent appointments within three business days need (waits will be longer during high times of high demand, especially the beginning of the semester and late in the semester)
• Availability: urgency, frequency, and duration are determined on the basis of need; for non-urgent concerns, appointments typically scheduled twice a month 
• $10 copay per visit (no charge for SHP+ members)

Learn more about individual counseling.

Group counseling

• Support and therapy groups addressing a wide variety of student needs and concerns every semester
• Group counseling is one of the most effective tools for addressing issues common among college students; for many students, it can be more effective than individual counseling
• Led by one or more professional Cornell Health counselors 
• Scheduled by CAPS staff, subsequent to first phone or in-person visit, or referral from another Cornell Health provider
• Groups meet weekly for a 90-minute session; duration of groups vary
• No charge

Learn more about group counseling.

Psychiatry

• Evaluation and medication management for students also receiving counseling at Cornell Health (students who want medication management only are referred to psychiatry providers in the community)
• Scheduled by CAPS staff, subsequent to referral from a CAPS therapist 
• Availability: urgency and frequency are determined on the basis of need (waits may be longer during high volume times)
• $10 copay per visit (no charge for SHP+ members)

Learn more about psychiatry services.

Referrals to community mental health providers

• CAPS partners with community mental health providers to address needs of Cornell students that are beyond our scope of service or capacity at high demand times
• CAPS brief assessment therapists and referral managers assist students with community referrals
• Primary reasons for referral include: student preference (related to location, availability, specialization, insurance coverage, etc.); long-term counseling; testing; specialty care; emergency care; in- or out-patient treatment (for certain conditions)

Referrals to campus resources    

• CAPS refers students to campus resources that provide opportunities that may be better suited to a student’s needs, complement CAPS services, or are beyond our scope of service 
• Resources include campus offices and student organizations
• CAPS brief assessment therapists, as well as therapists who provide individual and group counseling, assist students with referrals to campus resources

See a comprehensive list of campus resources

Consultation with others

• CAPS' Community Consultation & Intervention (CCI) counselors provide a continuum of consultation services to faculty and staff who are working with students with possible mental health concerns: on-going consultation, case management, community-based support, and crisis-intervention
• Family, friends, and others who have concerns about a student may consult with CAPS
• Consultations are scheduled by CAPS subsequent to phone call or in person contact
• CAPS staff will not share personal information about clients, but can receive information and offer guidance.

How can I access CAPS' services?

The following options are free and available to all students.

Schedule a brief assessment

Brief assessments are 10- to 15-minute phone (or walk-in) conversations with a CAPS counselor. During your brief assessment, the counselor will listen to your concerns, help assess the urgency of your needs, and discuss options for resources (at CAPS, on campus, or in the community). When appropriate, the counselor will help you schedule a counseling appointment with a Cornell Health therapist. 

To schedule a brief assessment appointment, log in to myCornellHealth and select “Appointments.” Or call us during our business hours at 607-255-5155 (press 3 for appointments). Note: If you prefer an in-person brief assessment appointment, please call to schedule.

Appointments typically are available within 24 hours (the wait will be longer during times of high demand, especially at beginning of the semester and late in the semester).

Stop by "Let's Talk"

“Let’s Talk” is a drop-in service that offers informal, confidential consultation with a Cornell Health counselor (psychologist or social worker).

Counselors hold walk-in hours at various on-campus locations Monday through Friday during the academic year. Stop by any location to speak with a counselor about concerns, get help problem-solving, and learn more about counseling services at Cornell Health and other resources available to you at Cornell.

See the Let's Talk schedule here.

Call or come in for urgent concerns

If you’re experiencing an urgent mental health concern – about yourself, or about someone else – come to Cornell Health ((see our hours) or call us at 607-255-5155 (available 24/7).  

Who are CAPS' staff?

Our team is made up of ...    

• 17 Psychologists (PhD, PsyD); 1 more will join us in September
• 16 Clinical Social Workers (LCSW, LMSW); 2 more will join us in September and October
• 3 Board-Certified Psychiatrists (MD)
• 2 Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (NP, MSN)
• 1 Nurse (RN)
• 1 BASICS provider (alcohol educator) 
• Administrative support professionals    

Meet our staff here.

In addition to previous growth during the 2017-2018 academic year, CAPS will be adding 3 new therapist positions beginning fall 2018 to increase availability of brief phone assessments, individual counseling, and Let’s Talk.

Staff come from diverse cultural, national, and clinical backgrounds; are of various races, religions, gender identities, and sexual orientations; and are trained and experienced in dealing with common concerns and conditions of college students. 

What are CAPS' hours?

Our academic-year hours are: 

• Monday: 8:30 am to 7 pm
• Tuesday: 8:30 am to 7 pm
• Wednesday: 10 am to 7 pm
• Thursday: 8:30 am to 7 pm
• Friday: 8:30 am to 5 pm
• Saturday: 10 am to 4 pm
• Sunday: closed

See today's hours here.

Whenever CAPS is closed, those with an urgent mental health concern can call our on-call service to speak with a licensed therapist: 607-255-5155 (press 2).

How much do CAPS' services cost?

Let's Talk drop-in sessions, brief assessments, group counseling, and consultations for urgent concerns are all offered free of charge.

Individual counseling and psychiatry visits have a $10 visit copay. (There is no copay for students on SHP+).

How long do I have to wait to see a CAPS counselor?

If you have an urgent mental health concern, you can come in to Cornell Health (see our hours) and see a counselor right away. When we're closed, you can call us at 607-255-5155 (24/7) to speak with a licensed therapist.

You can meet informally with a CAPS counselor any day of the week (Monday-Friday) by stopping by a Let's Talk site

Brief assessment appointments usually can be scheduled within 24 hours. The wait is longer during times of high demand, especially at beginning of the semester and late in the semester.

For students who need individual counseling, the time it takes to schedule a first appointment with a therapist varies depending on the urgency of your need and on campus demand. Our goal is to make first counseling appointments available to students within two weeks. Waits will be longer during high times of high demand, especially the beginning of the semester and late in the semester. Once you are established in counseling, you would typically meet with your counselor every other week.

How do Cornell Health staff collaborate to support student mental health?

• Cornell Health Medical Department staff facilitate referrals to CAPS and in some cases collaborate with mental health providers to support a student’s overall health.
• Students are encouraged to discuss any concerns about their medical or mental health with their primary care providers, medical clinicians, and nurses. 
• Primary care providers offer some medication management for students with primary care mental health needs.
• Behavioral health consultants (BHC): 3 licensed mental health clinicians and 1 post-doc are members of the primary care team at Cornell Health who work with medical patients to provide assistance when health or emotional concerns, stress, habits, or behaviors get in the way of optimal health, well-being, or daily functioning; students are referred to BHCs by primary care medical providers and nurses.
• Cornell Healthy Eating Program (CHEP): Cornell Health clinicians (CAPS therapists and psychiatrists, medical providers, and nutritionists) work together to provide care for students with disordered eating.
• Alcohol and other drugs (AOD): Cornell Health medical clinicians, CAPS staff, and a health educator/BASICS provider work together to screen and provide care for students with AOD issues; ongoing treatment services are provided by community partners.