UTEP launches new counseling program


Victoria Almaguer, Contributor

UTEP’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has launched its new project CAPS to Go to further reach out to students with its services. After the COVID-19 pandemic affected many services provided by the department, CAPS has adapted and implemented new ideas.  

I think that it’s incredibly important for (students) to be aware that there’s a place that they can go when they’re feeling stuck or they’re not sure what’s going on,” said Brian Sneed, Ph.D.director of CAPS  

This new website introduces workshops that touch base on adapting to a pandemic life and how to surpass any issues that arise from it. They are separated like a menu to implement which sessions go first and what they offer.   

“We have “appetizers,”which are a little short five minute video videos on meditation, maintaining social connections while at home, relaxation techniques and then we have our entrees which are usually somewhere around 45 to an hour on final exam preparation, managing COVID-19 stress, maximizing your homework output, you know, different things like that, Sneed said. 

 The website also includes a section titled ‘Specials where further tips and webinars are placed. One interesting session is Nap Time, How to Get Better Sleep’, where one can learn how this pandemic affects their sleeping schedule and how to take better care of themselves.  

Although the department already offered most of these sessions online, the access and recordings of these webinars have an easier access and platform.  

Before the pandemic we were able to offer those in a certain format, you know, remotely,” Sneed said. “But we have had several workshops and presentations participating in larger kinds of activities online. Thank goodness for the technology, and everything that you test, has been able to provide. 

 Some of the changes that were implemented were the support groups added and the new one-on-one counseling sessions that have adapted to respect safety guidelines due to the pandemic. Students can go on to the CAPS website and log in to a support group if needed or call their hotline.   

A research presented by Healthy Minds Network and the American College Health Association shows how there is a wide range of psychological repercussions that have affected college students due to the pandemic. One of them being depression.  

The survey of more than 18,000 college students on 14 campuses, shows how on top of the stress that comes from time-management and finances, there has been an increase of 5% of students dealing with depression and an increase of 9% of students having their academic performance being impaired by mental-health struggles.   

“There’s not really a problem that’s too small for us to handle and our idea is that if  you’re not having the kind of experience that you want out of college, come to the Counseling Center and see if there’s something that we can do to help you out,” Sneed said“We’re not miracle workers, but boy, would we like to be able to help you guys figure that out so that you can get back on track and have a better chance.  

Students can reach CAPS to Go under UTEP’s homepage at www.utep.edu and can reach the CAPS hotline at 915- 747-5302. 


Victoria Almaguer may be reached at [email protected]