All About Outreach: What We Do And Why We Do It

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CAPS Community Engagement and Outreach is multi-faceted and comprehensive.  Simply, it's a way to reach all 46,000 of our University of Michigan students.  Together, we can all change the story about college student mental health.

What is outreach?

Outreach is about increasing college student mental health awareness through prevention, awareness, education and stigma reduction. Through outreach, CAPS staff are able to connect with the larger UM community and ultimately strengthen our “community of caring.” 

Who do we reach through outreach?

We are essentially connecting with students who do not traditionally utilize individual or group therapy. These could include students who may want to know more about how to help a friend or students who may experience stigma about help seeking or students who may need support, but not necessarily counseling. CAPS creates a “web of support” not only for students, but also encourages staff and faculty involvement through a variety of education and prevention efforts.

  • do something - The CAPS umbrella campaign focuses on increasing college student mental health awareness on the UM campus
    • Why? An overall campaign with an overarching goal provides organization for CAPS’ multiple outreach and community engagement initiatives
  • Leaders at their Best - A campus initiative focused on tenets of positive psychology (e.g., mindfulness, gratitude, self-compassion)
    • Why? To increase UM students’ resiliency and hope and provide simple, yet effective coping strategies in order to promote a healthier campus climate
  • QPR - Question, Persuade, Refer is a 1 ½ hour training for faculty, staff, and students focused on concrete behavioral steps in which to Question a person about suicidal thoughts, Persuade them to get help, and Refer them to appropriate resources. The training also includes identifying warning signs, national and UM specific statistics, and myths surrounding suicide
    • Why? Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death amongst college students. Empower the campus community to know what to do if someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide
  • QPR Part 2 - Question, Persuade, Refer Part 2 is a follow-up suicide prevention training incorporating multicultural considerations, what happens when a student is hospitalized, boundary setting, self-care, and more experiential role plays
    • Why? To address the needs of participants who have already participated in QPR and want a deeper understanding on how to help an individual who is experiencing suicidal ideation
  • do something: Stop Student Suicide - A multi-year plan of action to change campus culture, increase resiliency and hope and create an environment that is actively and visibly engaged in stopping college student suicide. The Messages of Hope is a component of this initiative and involves students spreading hope across the UM campus by writing inspirational messages on wooden tiles to students who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide
    • Why? 
      A. Suicide has ripple effects on the entire campus community. 
      B. Provide hope to those who not only struggle with thoughts of suicide but to those who are caring for someone who is feeling suicidal
  • CAPS Student Advisory Board - The CAPS SAB is a diverse group of University of Michigan undergraduate and graduate students who advise CAPS on matters of how CAPS provides mental health outreach to all students, provides input on various agency decisions, and is involved in staff searches
    • Why? To increase student voice in CAPS’ overall outreach and community engagement efforts and to have a diverse group of students who can provide well-informed information to peers who may have questions as to what CAPS has to offer
  • CAPS in Action - CIA involves University of Michigan students who are dedicated to making the U of M community a more healthy environment around mental health. This is an active and hands-on group, focused on creating and implementing mental health outreach efforts that empower students to enhance a culture of care and inclusion
    • Why? To provide hands-on opportunities for students who want to work with CAPS staff in improving the mental health climate at the University of Michigan"
  • Wolverine Support Network - WSN is a student-led peer support program. WSN is designed to empower students to create a safe community in support of mental well-being and identity development through peer led support groups and wellness activities. The WSN facilitators are trained and supervised by CAPS staff
    • Why? Peer support has been found to be effective in increasing a sense of community, help-seeking and connection
  • Workshop Presentations - CAPS offers workshops throughout the year ranging from CAPS 101 to stress management to time management and procrastination
    • Why? To provide effective coping tools for UM students and provide general CAPS information
  • Large Scale Tabling Events - (Play Day, Mindful Minute, Semester Survival)—Engage with the diverse UM student population in a welcoming and informative environment
    • Why? To increase mental health awareness, reduce stigma, provide psychological coping strategies and increase comfort in help-seeking
  • Campus Wide Partnership Program - The CAPS Campus Wide Partnership Program is a mutual, ongoing, information exchange between a CAPS staff representative and a departmental unit or School/College within the campus community
    • Why? To personally connect with units across campus, serve as consultants and referral sources to individuals who are seeking advice regarding a student in need of CAPS services, and to regularly share general information about CAPS
  • Lunch Series -CAPS offers a Lunch Series for a variety of affinity groups: Self-identified Women of Color, Self-Identified Men of Color, International Students, LatinX Students, and Club Sports. These bi-weekly or monthly lunch meetings provide a blend of food, fellowship, dialogue and mentoring
    • Why? To encourage students to express their experiences here at UM, decrease isolation, and build connections with other students at UM
  • Stressbusters App - The Stressbusters app is tailored specifically to meet the wellness needs of University of Michigan students as they strive to be Leaders at their Best
    • Why? This app is part of CAPS continual efforts to provide students with quick and easy to use resources at their fingertips that help integrate mental health wellness strategies into their busy academic lives
  • Social Media - CAPS regularly connects with UM students through Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
    • Why? Psychological wellness tips, student stories, and inspirational quotes are shared with students in order to increase mental health awareness, hope, and resiliency
  • Website - The CAPS website provides a comprehensive look at the variety of services CAPS has to offer
    • Why? The CAPS website is often the first point of contact between UM students and CAPS services. The website is typically cited as one of the main referral sources for students seeking support at CAPS
  • Navigating a Complex World - The staff of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) created these articles/responses to acknowledge that while student life can be consuming due to academic demands, being a student is only one aspect of an individual’s identity
    • Why? it is important for the university community to remain aware of global, national, and local events, especially those that might impact the campus community and students’ daily life, health, and wellness. It's important to give voice to voices not traditionally heard
  • Wellness Zone - The CAPS Wellness Zone is available for students on a drop-in basis. Wellness resources include: massage chairs, light therapy, and meditation & mindfulness tools
    • Why? To provide UM students a place where they can drop-in, relax, and more effectively manage stress
  • Outreach and Education Social Work Internship - The CAPS outreach and education social work internship is designed to prepare ethical and multiculturally sensitive professional social workers who can move with competence, creativity and flexibility into a variety of professional positions
    • Why? To provide social work students with hands-on experience and increase skills in providing outreach and community engagement to the diverse UM student population
  • Outreach Seminar - A year-long CAPS seminar focused on increasing psychology and social work trainees' outreach and community engagement skills
    • Why? To provide trainees with knowledge, skills and experience on the multiple ways in which CAPS provides outreach and community engagement to the UM campus
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CAPS Outreach What & Why