Mental health needs don’t fit neatly into regular business hours. UNC’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is working to reflect that reality with a 24/7 call line.
CAPS 24/7 is a new, after-hours resource for students experiencing a mental health crisis or in need of mental health support or guidance, according to Jeni Cook of UNC Media Relations. Students can call the same CAPS phone number, (919) 966-3658, anytime after the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. office hours and connect with a mental health professional, Cook said. The CAPS day-to-day operations will not change and CAPS counselors will maintain their current care for students.
“Students can be affected by sudden events any time of the day or night," CAPS Director Allen O’Barr said. "And what we want to do is be able to provide a service for a student to be able to talk to a mental health professional at the time that they are distressed."
The idea for a 24/7 call line came from a recommendation by the Mental Health Task Force, which was convened in March 2018 by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp and Provost Robert Blouin.
The task force consisted of 25 members, including students and representatives across academics, health, policy and more. After its year-long investigation, the task force published recommendations for improved student mental health at UNC, including the suggestion to incorporate a 24/7 help line into their existing services.