Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is committed to supporting students and their families throughout their experience at CU Boulder. This page provides information for parents and families who are concerned about their student’s mental health.
Upcoming family webinars
CAPS provides free family webinars to help loved ones support students through mental health concerns.
What is CAPS?
CAPS is the dedicated counseling center on campus. We support the mental health needs of CU Boulder’s entire student population, including undergraduate and graduate students. Our office is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment that emphasizes affirming care for all our students.
Here is an overview of how our office works to help address mental health concerns for students.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Have a question about CAPS? Check out these frequently asked questions from families and parents.
- How do students connect with CAPS?
- Do students have to pay to visit CAPS?
- Will CAPS share information about my student with me?
- My student called me in distress, and I'm worried. What should I do?
- Can CAPS call my student if I’m concerned about them?
- My student told me CAPS wouldn’t help them. Why?
- My student wanted individual therapy but was not connected with a provider. Why?
- Does CAPS provide services in my student’s specific college or school?
- My student had a medical appointment and met with a mental health provider during their appointment. Why is that?
- My student struggles with disordered eating and needs ongoing support. Is that something CAPS provides?
- My student met with a clinician-in-supervision. What does that mean?
- My student has been in long-term treatment and is starting at CU Boulder. What should they do before they arrive?
- My student was referred to a psychiatrist. What does that mean?
- My student currently takes psychiatric medication. Can they transfer their care and prescriptions to CAPS?
The best way for students to connect with CAPS is to schedule a screening appointment or stop by for a same-day drop-in screening. Screenings allow CAPS providers to identify a student’s concerns and help them get connected with appropriate resources and services.
Students can also connect with CAPS through workshops and Let’s Talk sessions. These programs do not require students to attend a screening.
Most students pay a mental health fee as part of their tuition. This fee covers a wide range of services at CAPS, including screening appointments, workshops, group therapy, crisis services and limited individual therapy and psychiatric care.
If you're worried about your student and don't know what to do, you can use our free Family Referrals Chart or visit Red Folder resource to:
- Learn more about signs of distress
- Identify potential safety concerns
- Practice having conversations about mental health concerns
- Refer you student to appropriate resources
CAPS does not reach out to students who are not established clients and have not requested outreach or support from CAPS directly.
If you are concerned about your student, we recommend referring them to Student Support and Case Management (SSCM). SSCM has dedicated case managers who can reach out to students and make referrals to various offices, including CAPS.
During screening appointments, students are assessed and provided with an individualized treatment plan based on this assessment.
CAPS works to ensure students receive the most appropriate care for their mental health concerns, which may not always include individual therapy or therapy services provided by our office.
If a provider assesses that a student requires a higher level of care than CAPS can provide, your student may be referred to a community provider outside of CU Boulder. This helps to ensure they are getting the best care possible to address their specific concerns and needs.
Oftentimes, students may present concerns that can be addressed through skill-based workshops, process group therapy or skill-based group therapy. In these cases, students may be scheduled or referred to one of these programs as their primary treatment plan or as part of a multi-faceted treatment plan.
Yes. CAPS has dedicated counselors who serve each different college or school on campus through our Embedded Program.
This program provides integrated services in order to increase access, education, awareness and support for students who may be struggling.
CAPS has an integrated team of Behavioral Health Providers (BHP) who work at Wardenburg Health Center. This team works with students and providers to ensure all of their needs are being met during medical appointments.
Behavioral Health Providers can assist your student manage stress, set health goals, connect with additional resources and more.
CU Boulder has an Eating Concerns Team, which provides interdisciplinary support for students with eating concerns.
This team can provide mental health support, medical care, nutrition support, assessments and ongoing care recommendations for students. The Eating Concerns Team will work with students to create a personalized plan of care to help support them throughout their time at CU Boulder.
Depending on a student’s individual needs, some services may be available on campus, while others may be provided through community partners.
CAPS provides several advanced training programs to mental health professionals pursuing education in psychiatry, social work and psychology. All of our therapists and psychiatric nurse practitioners in training are closely supervised and trained during their time at CAPS by licensed staff.
If your student is currently receiving long-term treatment, we recommend that they speak with their current provider(s) to get recommendations for ongoing care while they are at CU Boulder.
Once you and your student have a sense of what type of treatment and level of care you are looking for, you can contact CAPS to discuss treatment options.
If you think your student may need more care than our office can provide, please consider using our Thriving Campus database to find a community provider.
CAPS counselors continuously assess students based on their mental health symptoms and how these symptoms may affect their overall functioning. When appropriate, students may be referred to psychiatry as part of their individualized care plan.
Our psychiatry office helps identify concerns that may not be able to be addressed by individual therapy or other mental health services alone. These may include conditions like major depression, severe anxiety, bipolar disorder, among others.
If your student is stable on their medication, they may be able to have their home provider fill prescriptions while attending CU Boulder.
However, if your student may require closer monitoring or adjustments to their medication(s), we recommend attending a screening appointment in order to better assess their needs and get them connected with appropriate medication management support.