Cal State Fullerton Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is reaching out to students throughout the month of March with Wellness Workshops: a series of open seminars intended to improve physical and mental well-being.
There will be 18 workshops covering four topics throughout the next month. Each will be hosted by one of five different members from the CAPS staff. They will focus on identifying and decreasing stress, improving sleep habits, understanding emotions and learning how negative thoughts can be controlled.
The intention of these seminars is to expand the presence of CAPS throughout campus and give guidance to students who wouldn’t otherwise make a counselling appointment, said Jaime Sheehan, interim director for CAPS.
The talks will also provide handouts and skill-building worksheets addressing issues that students commonly struggle with.
“(Students) seek counselling for managing their stress, managing their mood and then managing their anxiety,” Sheehan said. “We’ve also added a sleep hygiene workshop because we’ve noticed that students struggle a lot with getting enough sleep and how that impacts their stress too.”
Sheehan described the workshops as an exercise in prevention, designed to help students before any of the aforementioned issues become overwhelming.
“We’re hoping that we can get to the student first before they actually need to come in for ongoing therapy,” Sheehan said.
The expansion of CSUF services coincides with the growing trend of college students across the nation attending counseling session. The rate of students seeking counseling services across 93 institutions nationwide increased by 29.6 percent from 2009 to 2015, and the number of counseling appointments increased by 38.4 percent, according to a 2015 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health.
Aside from individual counseling, CAPS also offers group therapy sessions on topics like relationships, self-esteem and emotional eating.
Other universities in California have responded to this rise in similar fashion. For example, Cal State San Bernardino has been offering group therapy for specific demographics like veterans and members of the LGBT community.
The University of Southern California formed the Office of Campus Wellness and Crisis Intervention in 2017 to promote campus health and prevent future tragedies. The school cited Bosco Tjan, a former USC professor who was murdered by a student, as an inspiration for the founding of the center.
CSUF’s Wellness Workshops begin on March 1 with a mood seminar hosted by Gita Donovan from 2 to 3 p.m. in the main conference room of the Student Health Center.