CAPS Director talks about student mental health and mental health resources

Student Recreation and Wellness Center SRWC and CAPS. Photo courtesy of UNLV's website

Shauna Landis, director of UNLV’s Student Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) program talked about the common issues that face students and what CAPS is doing to help. 

“Typically the top three reasons that students present to counseling services are depression, anxiety and relationship concerns,” Landis said. Relationship concerns were broadly defined to include friends, family and romantic relationships. 

Landis said that adjustment disorders, post traumatic stress, academic concerns, grief, eating disorders, ADHD and substance-use concerns are also some of the common reasons students seek out counseling. 

CAPS takes a holistic approach to wellness, according to Landis. She encourages people to take stock of how they are in different areas of health such as mental health, physical health, spiritual health, occupational health and educational health to find out areas in which they may be stronger and what areas may need attention. 

Last January UNLV released You at UNLV, an online resource that helps students take stock of what dimensions of health they may need help in, and refer them to on-campus resources that can best address their needs. Landis said that CAPS is offered, but it won’t always be recommended if other campus resources better address a student’s needs.

“Mental health and self care is very individual,” said Landis, “in terms of what works for one person may not work for another.”

CAPS offers the Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) program, which has modules to help with specific mental health topics. Landis said that the TAO program can be found in the program’s self-help resources

Landis said that CAPS helps educate students on how to identify when a friend may need help with their mental health, how to talk to them and refer them to helpful resources. The program does this by reaching out to groups on campus and through an online program called Kognito, which can also be found in CAPS self-help resources. 

Landis recommended the UNLV Support Team for students. She said that it has representation from departments specializing in many different areas of wellness. 

CAPS is working on multiple outreach programs in conjunction with other departments on campus, according to Landis. These programs include three different student identity spaces created for Muslim, Latinx and Black students respectively.

Last year, CAPS had about 9000 counseling visits to over 1800 different students, according to Landis. She said that this was a 16% increase over the year before. Those numbers don’t include psychiatric visits, which are also offered by the program. 

This semester, UNLV is expanding the program by hiring staff and expanding locations on campus. By summer of 2023, the program plans to expand even further to an office on the Shadow Lane Campus. 

“I am really pleased with the support that we got from the president and the student leaders,” said Landis, “which was amazing to support the expansion of staffing and expanding our locations on campus.”
All of the CAPS program’s self-help resources, outreach programs and mental health services can be found on its website.


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