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Students will have the option to receive both in-person and virtual counseling at CAPS this semester.

Credit: Cindy Chen

As students return to campus for the fall semester, Penn’s Counseling and Psychological Services will offer a variety of in-person and virtual services to support students’ mental wellness.

Like previous semesters, CAPS will offer one-on-one counseling services as well as group therapy sessions. This semester, CAPS will operate under a new hybrid model, CAPS Director of Outreach and Prevention Services Batsirai Bvunzawabaya wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

When students make an appointment with CAPS this semester, they will have the option to select whether they want to receive care in person or remotely over phone or video. Should students choose in-person care, they will need to wear a mask and show a green PennOpen Pass.

CAPS will operate its in-person offices Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students who do not already have regularly scheduled sessions with a CAPS clinician may drop in to the CAPS office, located at 36th and Market streets, during their office hours or call to speak with a clinician at any time. 

“Students can also call us 24/7 for urgent or non-urgent needs. No concern is too big or too small,” Bvunzawabaya wrote.

CAPS will continue to offer its Let’s Talk service, featuring informal counseling sessions available to all Penn students. Through Let’s Talk, counselors will be available at several locations around campus including Van Pelt Library, Pottruck Health and Fitness Center, and the LGBT Center. Let’s Talk is not a replacement for formal mental health treatment, but instead is an opportunity for students to voice challenges and concerns they are facing and receive insight and support from counselors. 

Other mental health resources students can utilize this fall include the Wellnest journaling app, to which Penn provides students free access, as well as group sessions and workshops facilitated by CAPS, where students can find support from peers facing similar challenges. CAPS has not yet released the specific group offerings for the fall semester. In the past, CAPS has offered group sessions including dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Bvunzawabaya encouraged students not to hold back from seeking help, and to find time to assess and care for their mental wellness.

“Do not be afraid to care for your friends too as you navigate the first few weeks,” Bvunzawabaya wrote. “We like to think of Penn as fostering a community of care, where we look out for each other.”