By Aparna Verma
Bina Patel is in her first year as the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) director. The Daily reached out to Patel via email regarding her goals as director, including implementing new CAPS programs and increasing outreach to students.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Are there any new services or changes to current services that CAPS is providing for students this year?
Bina Patel (BP): Starting this term, CAPS is offering a new model for crisis walk-in appointments. We analyzed students’ use of weekday on-call services for the past two years to evaluate what times of day best met student needs for urgent support. In response to our findings, we will provide increased on-call staffing to enhance access during early afternoon hours, Monday through Friday.
TSD: What is new about the walk-in appointments?
BP: We are increasing the number of on-call staff available starting in the early afternoon hours to better accommodate student needs. If a student would like to be seen at CAPS for an urgent same-day need, we would encourage them to call CAPS (650-723-3785) as early in the day as possible to consult with a CAPS on-call provider. Depending on a student’s needs and available staff, our on-call provider can then advise a student the best time to come in that day to help minimize their wait time.
TSD: So that’s a change to the already existing crisis walk-in model. What’s a new service?
BP: CAPS is also adding a new skills-based workshop to our group offerings — Anxiety Toolbox — and will continue to offer the RIVER (Recognition, Insight, Values, Openness, Reflection) Workshop, which uses evidence-based approaches to increase flexibility in responding to distress.
TSD: Could you discuss Anxiety Toolbox further?
BP: Anxiety Toolbox teaches skills to understand, manage, work through and reduce the intensity of painful anxiety symptoms. These workshops are taught by professional mental health therapists, and are composed of three consecutive 60-minute sessions, which build upon each other in terms of skill acquisition and practice. We keep workshops small and “seminar” style, with no more than 12 students in one workshop.
TSD: What are your top priorities as the new CAPS director?
BP: CAPS’s mission is to support the mental health and well-being of students. We routinely work with students experiencing a wide range of stressors — including substance use, trauma, thoughts of suicide, self-harm and aggressive urges. We are a confidential resource for all of these concerns. For all of us at CAPS, it is an honor to support you through the important and eventful years you will spend at Stanford. Please know that we are here for you.
This transcript has been lightly edited and condensed.
Contact Aparna Verma at averma2 ‘at’ stanford.edu