The University Record, October 15, 1997

CAPS offers variety of services for students

By Jane R. Elgass

Millie Tirado has lots of experience in counseling students, and that experience served her well the morning of Sept. 23 when Tamara Williams was murdered. When word of the tragedy reached her, she immediately marshaled the forces of Counseling and Ps ychological Services (CAPS) and other University units to provide help for Williams' friends, fellow students and neighbors, as well as those who didn't know her but were upset.

As the new associate dean for students, Tirado is responsible for CAPS‹which she calls "the mental health center for students at the University"‹the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center and Services for Students with Disabilities.

Her U-M ties go back to the early 1980s when she was the Hispanic representative in what is now the Office of Multi Ethnic Student Affairs, and was a counselor in Counseling Services, bringing experience in working with Hispanic clients and knowledge o f the Hispanic culture to her position. She was in private practice for a time and returned to Counseling Services in the early 1990s. She also is a lecturer in psychology and sociology.

Tirado's research has focused on behavioral and family issues and she has done multicultural work on the role of women in the Latino community.

As head of CAPS, she oversees a staff that include 18 psychologists, social workers and counselors; three full-time predoctoral interns, three postdoctoral interns, seven half-time interns and a support staff of five. CAPS also has a nurse and psychia trist on staff.

Tirado is most proud of the variety of services CAPS offers to students and the fact that the unit continually strives to find new and better ways to serve them. "We're available to all registered students, ages 17 to 60," she states, adding that abou t one-half of the students seen last year were undergraduates.

Among the services offered are:


Crisis Counseling is available 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday­Friday.


Individual counseling is available by appointment, with students usually seen within two-to-three days.


Group counseling is available for students who may want to discuss difficulties they are having from a spiritual perspective.

Tirado says CAPS staff will talk to classes on request, and that they also localize services. Workshops on test taking and stress management recently were conducted for the College of Engineering.

CAPS also worked with the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program to develop the depression screening day held recently.

CAPS is headquartered in the Michigan Union, but has a satellite office in Pierpont Commons, staffed by Tom Morson. Working with faculty in psychology and social work, Morson recently received a grant from the 21st Century Fund to develop an interven tion program for international students around issues of isolation and cultural differences.