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Since Nov. 6, CAPS has stationed a part-time clinician in Huntsman Hall as part of a new plan to improve mental health for Wharton students.

Credit: Cindy Chen

In response to growing need, Wharton students now have increased access and privacy to the CAPS clinician stationed in Huntsman Hall starting this semester. 

Three months after the Wharton School placed licensed social worker and psychotherapist Courtney Hutchison in Huntsman Hall, Counseling and Psychological Services and Wharton found that the “embedded model” has been widely used by Wharton students. Hutchison will now be stationed in Huntsman Hall for 17 hours a week, an increase from the previous 12 hours.

“It’s just one clinician, and she’s been fully booked,” CAPS Deputy Executive Director Meeta Kumar said. “It’s a bit too soon for us to do a deep dive into a full data analysis and utilization report, but anecdotally, [Hutchison] has been very busy, the utilization has been great, well-received, and she’s seeing a pretty good balance between MBAs and undergrads."

Hutchison is now available Tuesdays and Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in room 418.

The embedded model consists of having a clinician in an on-site location where students have easy access. Kumar said the CAPS office, located at 3624 Market St., still remains a central hub that offers a fuller range of services provided by clinicians with various specialty areas.

Wharton junior Max Grove, who has been seeing the Huntsman Hall clinician every week since December, said he likely would not have visited CAPS if a clinician was not stationed in Huntsman.

Credit: Gillian Diebold

“I honestly don’t have time to go all the way to Market Street,” Grove said. “Some students want a faraway location to escape campus, but I think a lot of students want somewhere where they are used to being everyday and somewhere that’s familiar to them. For me, Huntsman is just a very familiar place where I have four classes per day.” 

The location of the counseling service within Huntsman Hall has also changed this semester. Hutchison is now seeing students on the fourth floor of the building, in room 418 — an area that is more secluded than the previous location on the ground floor. 

“Originally [the counseling sessions] were in G94 which was fine, but it wasn’t great because it’s kind of awkward standing there outside the room waiting for your appointment,” Grove said. “Some people would just come into the classroom while I was in sessions and that’s just really uncomfortable when you’re laying out your life story."

College and Wharton junior Phyllis Parkansky said she accidentally walked into another student's private counseling session in Huntsman last semester. 

“It was very awkward when we saw two people talking in the classroom, so we quickly closed the door and ran away,” Parkansky said.

While Wharton students are fully using the program, students in other undergraduate schools currently do not have access to an embedded model of their own. Non-Wharton students are not permitted to access the CAPS clinician in Huntsman. Kumar said last semester that Hutchison would help students get the care they need, but that she would not personally assess them. 

Individual CAPS staff members are also assigned to four graduate schools – the Law School, the Perelman School of Medicine, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the School of Dental Medicine.

Students have previously expressed frustration that the embedded model was not offered to all students. Kumar said there is no concrete plan to delegate CAPS clinicians specifically for College, Nursing, and Engineering undergraduate students.

"There are no tangible plans, but there might be more conversations down the line," Kumar said.