Even in the best of times, a new semester can bring new stress. This year, as some University of Virginia students, faculty and staff members return to Grounds amid a pandemic that brings its own unique set of challenges, mental health resources and other services will provide especially vital support.
Staff have been working throughout the spring and summer to adapt mental health services to the current times, with many virtual options available and other modifications designed to provide the same level of support in the safest manner possible.
Here are some of the many services available to UVA students, faculty and staff.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Part of UVA’s Student Health and Wellness Center, Counseling and Psychological Services will provide telehealth services for students during the fall semester, including virtual individual therapy appointments, group therapy sessions, psychiatric services and 24/7 on-call and emergency services. Although services are offered remotely, students can go to the Student Health building if they need a private office for their telehealth sessions. CAPS has also created a specific page for COVID-19-related resources and well-being tips.
In addition to individual appointments, CAPS is offering a drop-in consultation program called “Let’s Talk,” which lets students speak virtually with a CAPS therapist about non-emergency concerns during weekly drop-in hours every Tuesday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. These consultations are free to all UVA students and will run through Thanksgiving. Pre-registration is required.
UVA students also have access to SilverCloud, a free online mental health tool for managing stress, anxiety, sleep issues and depression. Based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles, the self-guided program can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For information on all of these services, visit www.studenthealth.virginia.edu/caps.
Faculty & Employee Assistance Program
The Faculty & Employee Assistance Program, or FEAP, provides comprehensive support services to UVA employees and their families, including counseling services and consulting services for managers or organizations, focused on various workplace issues.
Like CAPS, FEAP is providing virtual services this semester, including both individual appointments and consultation for large or small teams. Employees can make an appointment on the FEAP website. FEAP provides a wide range of counseling services, from couples counseling or parenting resources to assistance for employees going through traumatic events, like the loss of a loved one, to sessions focused on financial worries or stress management.
FEAP also has a robust virtual resource library, including support resources for the COVID-19 pandemic and tools to help employees address and understand social justice concerns.
Additional Clinics: In addition to CAPS and FEAP, UVA students, faculty and staff can access therapy, psychological assessment and other mental health care through the Sheila C. Johnson Center at the Curry School of Education and Human Development, which serves both UVA and Charlottesville community members, and the Mary D. Ainsworth Psychological Clinic in the Department of Psychology, which offers testing and assessment services, specializing in learning disabilities, attention deficit and emotional difficulties. The UVA Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences department also offers many outpatient services, and can provide psychotherapy and medication management, individual and group therapy, and in-person and remote appointments to UVA students, employees and their families.
Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at UVA
The Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at UVA offers numerous support services, including counseling for both male and female students, faculty and staff members, both individuals and couples. Counseling will be offered virtually this semester; call 434-982-2252 to schedule an appointment.
The center also provides confidential consultations to individuals who have experienced sexual assault or harassment or other forms of gender violence. In addition, there are numerous support groups meeting virtually this semester. For information, visit womenscenter.virginia.edu/.
Contemplative Sciences Center
The Contemplative Sciences Center will offer many health and wellness resources for UVA students, faculty and staff this fall, including more than 15 free virtual classes for yoga, mindfulness, tai chi and more. The center also offers the “Art and Science of Human Flourishing” course, open to all undergraduates, as well as numerous other events and resources. For information, visit the center’s event page.
Hoos Well Mindfulness Resources
Hoos Well offers numerous resources for employees, focused on both physical and mental well-being. Several online mindfulness programs, launched this year, are specifically designed to provide virtual support in our current environment. Employees and spouses also have free access to eM Life, an online mindfulness platform that can be applied to both everyday life and to chronic health conditions, to promote health, happiness, stress management and self-care. Information and registration is available here.
UVA’s IM-Rec Sports department is also partnering with Hoos Well to offer eight free group fitness classes to faculty and staff each week, including two outdoor classes and six virtual classes, and seven Hoos Well fitness classes throughout the semester in various formats. In addition, UVA offers a subsidized gym membership for faculty and staff, while students have access to classes and gym facilities through their student fees.
Student Disability Access Center
The Student Disability Access Center is UVA’s designated access agency for students with disabilities, and will work to provide academic accommodations for students that need them, including those who have been previously diagnosed with a disability and those who have never been diagnosed but find themselves struggling academically and in need of advice or support. Staff are available to meet with students via telephone or video chat weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached at 434-243-5180 or SDAC@virginia.edu.
Getting involved in a student organization is a great way for students to build community at UVA. There are hundreds of student organizations on Grounds, from dance or sport groups to academic societies, a cappella, and many, many more. Most of them are planning to meet in some fashion this semester, whether virtually or in small groups.
Students can find a searchable list of student organizations here.
Designed for first-year or transfer students, Hoos Connected brings together small groups of new students with upperclass student facilitators for weekly meetings as students acclimate to UVA. Through activities and discussions, the groups explore what brings them together, what can keep them apart and how those topics come up at UVA.
“At its heart, Hoos Connected is about getting to know people beyond the surface level, which feels particularly difficult, but also particularly important in our now mostly virtual world,” program director Alison Nagel West said. The program is open to up to 500 first-year and transfer students; students can enroll now.
First-Generation and Low-Income Student Support
The Office of the Dean of Students has several resources specifically designed for first-generation or low-income college students, including programming, events and connections to the first-gen student community on Grounds, known as Hoos First. More information is available here.
Dean on Call
The Office of the Dean of Students also provides 24-hour crisis management and incident response services to UVA students. Those in need of support can contact the office at 434-924-7133 during business hours or can contact the University Police Department after hours at 434-924-7166 and ask to be referred to the dean on call. There is also a Parent Help Line at 434-243-3333.