New Student Counseling Center Offers Multidisciplinary Mental Health Services Under One Roof

New Student Counseling Center Offers Multidisciplinary Mental Health Services Under One Roof

Facility designed to provide welcoming environment

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers officially opens a new Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program, and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) Building on the College Avenue Campus today, bringing a range of mental health services for students under one roof in a central location.

The 9,400-square-foot, $5 million facility at 17 Senior St. represents an important component of the transformation of undergraduate education, which encompasses student services, as well as academics, on the New Brunswick campus.

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Credit: Rutgers University
The new Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance, and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) Center at 17 Senior St., New Brunswick, brings multidisciplinary mental health services under one roof in a central location and provides a welcoming environment for students seeking assistance.

The new building serves as a central hub for mental health services previously located in separate facilities. Its professional staff of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and substance abuse counselors provide psychological and psychiatric services; alcohol and drug counseling; stress management programs; and referral and information services. About 10 percent of the student body seeks some sort of assistance in any given year.

"Bringing together the staff who deal with student mental health needs in one building

has produced synergies that could never have happened before," said Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick. "Creating a team approach enables our mental health professionals to develop specializations, to act as a crisis center and to take a holistic approach to the treatment of the students they see."

The colonial-inspired architecture, soothing interior colors and abundant natural light in the new facility are designed to create a non-institutional environment for those seeking its services, according to Jill Richards, director of Counseling and Psychological Services.

 “Our main goal was to have it look and feel like a big house, rather than a sterile medical environment,” Richards said. “We were very conscious of privacy and sound proofing consultation and meeting areas.”

Bringing a range of mental health services under one roof also enables better coordination of care among the 18 members of the multidisciplinary staff, Richards said. Students requesting services are quickly put in communication with a professional who can guide them on the next step in their care. In addition, students continue to be served at a counseling facility at 61 Nichol Ave. on the Cook-Douglass Campus that offers the same services as the Senior Street center.

“Stress is inherent in daily living,” Richards said. "We are a passionate group of mental health professionals who understand the pressures students are under and appreciate both the promise and trials of this time of their lives. We try to help students recognize and marshal the resources they already have while also offering a variety of support services to make the most of their University lives."

In addition to individual counseling, students can take advantage of peer support groups that meet in locations outside the center, as well as stress reduction, meditation and other programs.

Richards gave dozens of talks to parents of incoming students this year to inform them about the facility and the mental health services available for students at Rutgers.

The CAPS building is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. It can be reached by phone at 732-932-7884. After hours, callers are directed to a 24-hour emergency service for assistance.

Media Contact: Sandra Lanman
732-932-7084, ext.621