CAPS Expands Mental Health Access With Online Screening Tool

Stress, anxiety, and the daily pressures of school and life can sometimes negatively affect a student's mental health. Whatever the struggle — family pressures, school workload, relationship issues, grief, stress or financial concerns — it is easy to get overwhelmed without an idea of where to turn for support.

In an effort to address this, Pat Walker Health Center's Counseling & Psychological Services has launched a new online screening tool for University of Arkansas students to assess their mental health and, if they choose, to more efficiently connect with crucial mental health services.

The Interactive Screening Program is safe, secure and anonymous web-based platform that lets student complete a brief, confidential stress and depression questionnaire, and — at the student's request — initiate contact with a CAPS mental health clinician.

"Too often, students avoid seeking mental health care for a variety of reasons, and don't seek help before a crisis emerges," said Josette Cline, director of Counseling & Psychological Services. "ISP offers a confidential mental health screening and, if requested, a personal response from a CAPS counselor with recommendations for next steps. We're hoping this will bridge the gap between students and the mental health services they may need. 

The Interactive Screening Program was developed specifically for college students by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The program has been implemented at several other universities and is also considered a best practice for suicide prevention.

How ISP Works

Students can access the Interactive Screening Program at uarkcaps.caresforyou.org. The questionnaire takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and students are identified only with a self-assigned user ID to maintain full anonymity.

Once completed, students can request to receive a personalized response from a CAPS clinician, exchange messages to ask questions, learn about available services and receive service recommendations and support 

"The personal connection made between students and CAPS clinicians is the most important aspect of ISP," said Mindy Wilkerson, the CAPS suicide prevention coordinator. "By making an empathetic connection with a student in a comfortable, anonymous environment, we can help eliminate barriers for students preventing them from receiving the support and care to address their mental health concerns."

For more information about ISP or other mental health resources, visit health.uark.edu or call 479-575-5276.

Pat Walker Health Center remains committed to ensuring key health and wellness services remain available to the UA community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The health center remains open for medical care by appointment only, and have expanded access with telehealth services. Call 479-575-4451 for an appointment.

Contacts

Zac Garrett Brown, assistant director of communications
Pat Walker Health Center
479-575-4649, zacharyb@uark.edu

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