All posts by Mitch Kirsch


Starting this semester students residing in South Halls, including students of the Honors College, have a unique opportunity to connect with counselors from Penn State’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) with a new service called CAPS Chat. The CAPS Chat service is a part of the Embedded Counselor program generously funded by Mitch and Rod Kirsch. In this program, two CAPS counselors, Jason Yoder, LCSW and Stephanie Stama, PsyD, spend dedicated time in Redifer Commons Suite 202. The CAPS Chat service component of the Embedded Counselor program offers two dedicated walk-in hours each day, Monday through Friday. With CAPS Chat, students are able to drop in during the dedicated hours and have a half hour to talk with a CAPS counselor about their concerns. By the end of the CAPS Chat meeting, students will have the opportunity to review psychoeducational information, obtain self-help materials, consider referrals to various entities and organizations both on- and off-campus, and even come to some solutions about their presenting concerns.

CAPS Chat is a preventive program with the ability to help students early in the development of a presenting issue, before concerns become more intense and complicated. CAPS Chat is most helpful for discussing a specific concern in a one-time one-on-one meeting, learning what counseling might be like, understanding how to help a friend, destigmatizing mental health concerns, and having general mental health questions answered. With this in mind, CAPS Chat may not be the best option for students who are seeking formal therapy or counseling, needing crisis interventions, and experiencing severe or longstanding concerns; this would be more appropriate for a call to CAPS (814-863-0395).

We have been pleased to find that students have been actively using the CAPS Chat services this semester. To learn about the effectiveness of this service, CAPS Chat counselors are offering students the voluntary opportunity to provide anonymous feedback by way of an emailed satisfaction survey after their CAPS Chat meeting. This will help to steer the direction and growth of the program and help to enrich the CAPS Chat experience.

CAPS Chat counselors launched an outreach campaign the week of October 10 where students had the opportunity to learn more about CAPS Chat services. These events are leading to the main kickoff event held at Redifer Commons on Tuesday, October 18 from 12:00-2:00PM where an exciting surprise awaits all students who stop by. CAPS Chat counselors Jason and Stephanie will be outside of Redifer Commons with fun activities to de-stress, information on stress and coping, and details to demystify the process of reaching out for help with CAPS Chat and other mental health services. We hope to see everyone out at these events to learn more about how to be the best versions of themselves and to be a part of the new Embedded Counselor program.

Weekly Caps Chat Hours
Monday 2:00-4:00
Tuesday 2:00-4:00
Wednesday 2:00-4:00
Thursday 10:00-12:00
Friday 10:00-12:00

Main kickoff event
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 from 12:00-2:00PM at Redifer Commons

More information about CAPS Chat

Immediate concerns for safety or crisis intervention
Centre County CAN HELP: 1-800-643-5432