This is an update of the re-written, re-edited, and re-updated repost from 2018 which was a repost from 2017, although ~health things~ have remained (basically) the same. The original is an updated version of a post originally written by Catherine MacLean ’14 which appeared on the Peer Advisor Blog and on Wesleying. It also includes a section on resources for survivors of sexual assault by Ryden Nelson ’16 and Chloe Murtagh ’15 and a section on the new support groups run by WeSupport by Veronica Harrington ’17.
This is part of our 2021 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.
Whether you’re a prefrosh or about to start your last semester at Wesleyan you will learn something new from this post (unless you’re a health center pro).
If you think you’re going to make it through four years of a liberal arts education without once having to find some medical support do I have news for you. This guide is made with the help of some very knowledgeable people on campus, most who have already graduated. We have gone through the post and updated everything that needs updating so you can save yourself at least a little trouble when it comes to navigating the terrain that is the Wesleyan Medical Services. Before we begin let me stress the need to wash your hands.
From Wesleyan Democratic Socialists:
Come to a meeting on Friday, November 2nd at 4:30 PM in the Resource Center to share your ideas and develop the demands of the CAPS Campaign!!!
This year WesDS is organizing a campaign around recent CAPS staffing shortages, and ongoing concerns about CAPS staffing and accessibility mental healthcare access at Wesleyan. If you were at Wesleyan in 2016-17, you may remember a similar “Wes Needs CAPS” campaign from that time, which resulted in new CAPS hires. As you can see, these types of issues are recurring, and we want to make sure Wesleyan addresses them sustainably so that we don’t have to continue fighting for adequate mental health care year after year.
As we organize, we want to make sure that this campaign takes the specific needs and concerns of marginalized students and identity-based groups into account so that we can fight for real transformative change in how CAPS supports student mental health. We have drafted some preliminary demands already, based largely off of the previous “Wes Needs CAPS” campaign and research we’ve done this year. However, we want to ensure that the demands we’re making are inclusive of all Wes students before we publicize and start organizing around them.
Please take a look at the draft demands and then come to the meeting to share your thoughts!
Date: Friday, November 2
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
Place: The Resource Center
In the never-ending CAPS saga, we’ve received another update from the powers that be in the form of an all-campus email. Some highlights include:
- CAPS has received authorization to hire another full-time therapist in addition to the two full-time therapists have already been hired to replace the two full-time therapists who left.
- There is still no APRN/prescriber, though they “hope to have this position filled very soon”
- CAPS acknowledges that it is bad at connecting students to off-campus care (~understatement of the decade~), despite often claiming that students cannot continue using CAPS because they need “more intensive counseling and support than CAPS is able to provide.” To address this, they’re bringing in a consultant.
The full text of the email can be found below the jump:
On September 4, CAPS Director Jennifer D’Andrea sent an all-campus email alerting students of some alarming changes in CAPS staffing. Over the summer, there were “three unexpected departures from the CAPS team,” including Katie Scheinberg, the APRN that was hired in February 2017 as a direct result of the student-organized Wes Needs CAPS campaign of 2016-17, which had four major demands:
- Hire two new, full-time psychologists.
- Raise our half-time therapist up to full-time.
- Approve the hiring of a full-time Advanced Practicing Nurse Practitioner (APRN).
- Increase the CAPS operating budget for the first time in six years.
The other two departures from CAPS this fall were Lisa Miceli, Ph.D. and Amber Jones, LCSW. These staffing changes leave Wesleyan with only 6 licensed psychotherapists (most of whom are part-time or have significant duties other than providing counseling services to students) and 6 externs. This is the smallest provider pool CAPS has offered since I began at Wesleyan in Fall 2015. At the same time, CAPS is now severely understaffed for the task of providing counseling and psychological services to Wesleyan’s ~3,240 undergraduate and graduate students (including the largest incoming class of students at Wesleyan in the past two years).
Further context for the CAPS staffing situation and the full text of the email can be found below the jump:
“In addition to reduced wait times for initial appointments, as well as more regular ongoing appointments, we expect the increase in staffing will improve comprehensive services for sexual violence prevention and treatment and allow the team to continue building stronger relationships with marginalized students and student groups through outreach activities.” – Dean Whaley
Yesterday afternoon, Dean Mike Whaley sent out an all-campus email informing the student body that an additional full-time psychotherapist will be joining CAPS in the fall of 2017. This comes after the announcement of the hiring of a full-time APRN after more than a semester without a prescriber (part-time or full-time) on campus.
According to Whaley’s email, the new hires “will improve comprehensive services for sexual violence prevention and treatment and allow the team to continue building stronger relationships with marginalized students.”
The email, however, leaves out any discussion of the student-organized campaign and WSA resolution from last semester that originally proposed expansions in CAPS. Read past the jump for the full text of Dean Whaley’s email and more context on the student efforts that made this new staff position a reality.
Have you heard about the #WesNeedsCAPS Campaign? Do you want to know more?:
Tell us about why you need greater accessibility to CAPS by taking part in the #WesNeedsCAPS photo campaign October 31st through November 4th @Usdan, 11am-3pm.
You can also sign the petition here: https://goo.gl/forms/5DyjFJf9bVqliKZc2
Or, fill out the anonymous survey about your experience with mental health at Wesleyan here:
At Williams and Trinity, students from 2014-15 waited at most two days to get non-emergency mental health counseling.
At Amherst, they waited a day and a half.
At Bowdoin and Connecticut College, they had no wait.
At Wesleyan, they waited three weeks.
For three weeks, students who needed counseling and support marked down the days on their calendars as they missed classes, lost sleep, dropped commitments, and suffered.
Now, a year later, they still have to wait over a week and face a limit on the number of weekly appointments they can make per year.
If Wesleyan hopes that its students will grow into leaders and torchbearers, it, as an institution, should endeavor to do the same and commit to providing students care when they need—that means no wait—for as many times as the need—that means no cap on the number of weekly visits. Namely, the budget committee should approve the CAPS fiscal year 2017 budget request and:
1. Hire two new, full-time psychologists.
2. Raise our half-time therapist up to full-time.
3. Approve the hiring of a full-time Advanced Practicing Nurse Practitioner (APRN).
4. Increase the CAPS operating budget for the first time in six years.
Date: Monday October 31-Friday November 4
Time: 11 AM-3 PM
The deadline to sign up for this CAPS-run group is coming up:
The Sexual Assault Support Group for male-identified survivors will be held on Tuesdays, beginning September 29th-December 8th from 7:00-8:15pm. Meetings will follow an open support group format and participants determine group topics each week.
Contact Alysha B. Warren, LPC, Therapist/Sexual Violence Resource Coordinator at awarren[at]wesleyan[dot]edu for more information. Reference “Tuesday Support Group” in the subject line. The deadline to sign-up is Thursday, September 24th.
Date: Tuesdays, September 29-December 8
Place: find out by emailing
From Caroline Catlin ’15:
There will be an open space in Espwesso for anyone who wants to come together and support one another due to recent campus events. Free tea will be provided as well as materials to write messages of support to the community (we will have giant pieces of paper) and/or make cards or notes (with out using names) to people in the hospital. Resources and information on different support systems will be available. Organized by CAPS and Active Minds at Wes.
Date: Tuesday, Feb 24
Time: 2-6 PM
all-caps LADD released a new single just for all the lovers out there on Valentine’s Day with the message “Thanks to all our friends and everyone who comes out and supports us at our shows!” Check it out on bandcamp or here: