Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CAPS celebrates Wellness Zone and professional recognition

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is launching a new mental health wellness effort, called the Wellness Zone, as part of its recently expanded services to meet the needs of U-M students.

The campus community is invited to the opening celebration of the Wellness Zone on Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m., in the CAPS offices, Suite 3100 in the Michigan Union.

The Wellness Zone is the result of many people's work including the CAPS Student Advisory Board. Additionally, a Division of Student Affairs Student Wellness Work Group developed a planning report that included consideration of "emotional" wellness, which will be the focus of the new program.

"Current research shows that students are arriving on campuses with higher levels of stress, greater expectations of self and their college experience, concerns over what the future holds, and are struggling more in and out of the classroom," says CAPS Director Todd Sevig. "Emotional wellness complements clinical services and treatment as well as having preventive importance."

Emotional wellness approaches include stress reduction, anxiety reduction, social connectedness, meditation, and seasonal affective disorder light therapy. All these areas will be part of the Wellness Zone. More information is shown in a video presentation at www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ1i5jDYIEA.

The Wellness Zone will be open during CAPS hours, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and until 5 p.m. Fridays. In addition to the Wellness Zone, CAPS has increased clinical capacity and preventive efforts for the campus community. It also has initiated new outreach efforts for students, as well as support to help faculty and staff, in turn, help students.

CAPS services and professional standards are integral to its citation as a "leading edge" counseling center, when CAPS recently earned reaccreditation by the International Association of Counseling Services Inc. (IACS). In its review, the IACS University and College Board of Accreditation recognized CAPS' "very wide range of high quality services provided to the University of Michigan campus." The accreditation board also was complimentary of the professional staff, training programs, the emphasis on multicultural awareness and "the wide respect the center receives from your campus."

IACS was established in 1972 to encourage and aid counseling agencies to meet high professional standards through peer evaluation, and to inform the public about counseling services that are competent and reliable. Two noteworthy criteria for accreditation are continuing professional development and a demonstration of excellence in counseling performance.

"This acknowledgement by an independent, international professional organization reaffirms the importance of our work in service for our students," says Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones. "I congratulate the staff on their dedication, professionalism, innovation and passion."