CAPS provides counsel and support services for students

Amanda Murtaugh

Megan Schneider

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) helps University of Nebraska at Omaha students encountering challenges in life.

The staff assists students in need of counseling or therapy to help improve their overall well-being. Individuals thrive in their academic pursuits, or long-term goals when they feel well.

CAPS offers free confidential counseling sessions conducted by licensed mental health practitioners. The services offered include short-term counseling, consultation, emergency services, group counseling, prevention services, outreach education and wellness education.

Students experiencing depression, anxiety, loneliness, grief, life transitions and self-acceptance can benefit from counseling sessions. CAPS is dedicated to helping improve the overall wellness of any student.

CAPS uses a model of therapy for students that is short-term, or lasts for around 8-10 sessions. Their goal is to provide the best care for individuals.

Amanda Murtaugh, a licensed mental health practitioner on staff, feels grateful that students are comfortable enough to open up to her by sharing their own personal stories. Murtaugh reminds students of their many strengths because an individual can be their own worst critic.

“People don’t realize how strong they are,” Murtaugh said.

Murtaugh credits CAPS director, Dr. Charlene Patterson, for creating a work environment that is focused on the various professional backgrounds that the staff bring to the table. Murtaugh said the staff works as a team to ensure good training and professional development.

Mental health is topic that has increased its awareness on college campuses throughout the country, according to Mental Health America’s website. It’s important to recognize when you aren’t feeling well or are too stressed, which can affect your mental health. Receiving proper treatment can help improve your life.

In preparation for a first appointment at CAPS, it’s important to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork reflecting on a current situation. A student can also write down ideas that they feel need to be discussed during their session, too. However, there’s no pressure if a student doesn’t know what history to talk about. The staff is trained to help students identify their concerns.

Each counselor has a unique training or style that they share. The staff wants to ensure that the counselor is a great fit for the student. Counselors help students talk about their strengths and assist in building new skills.

The counseling staff works with Nebraska Medicine Health services to help provide outside referrals to medical professionals in the community. The staff also goes through extensive training to provide for emergency services and suicide prevention.

Another campus resource that the staff suggests for students struggling with their mental health is the Community Counseling Clinic (CCC) located in Roskens Hall. The CCC provides “individual and group counseling for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families,” according to their website.

CAPS utilizes their expertise for students who need special counsel during hardships. Their office can be reached at 402-554-2409. The staff is willing to listen and help out any student who needs their services.