Updates from CAPS: In response to COVID-19
Montclair State University has shifted to remote learning for the remainder of spring 2020 due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and CAPS is responding to these changes by modifying our service delivery.
We will be posting information for the Montclair State community on this page as we develop our responses and additional resources for students, staff and faculty. Please check back to this page for more information about how our services and availability may change in response to the situation.
NJ Mental Health Cares, the state’s behavioral health information and referral service, will now also offer help to people dealing with anxiety and worry related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. New Jerseyans can call 1-866-202-HELP (4357) for free, confidential support. NJ Mental Health Cares will be answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week by live trained specialists.
Updates for Students
Appointments at CAPS will be conducted via telephone and video-conference for the time-being. If you have an appointment, please expect a phone call at your appointment time and arrange for privacy so that the conversation remains confidential. Please note that for students located out of state, brief phone support and a referral in your local area, if appropriate, will be facilitated.
If you are a member of a group at CAPS, your group leader will contact you via email and/or a phone call. While some group will not continue this semester, individual phone sessions may be scheduled.
Students contacting CAPS for the first time should call our front desk at 973-655-5211 in order to schedule a brief phone screening. It is essential that you leave a message with your name and phone number and you be will called back promptly during business hours.
In case of emergency, please contact any of the following resources immediately:
- University Police at 973-655-5222. Request to speak with the CAPS on-call clinician.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline (Free crisis support 24/7): 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line (Free crisis support 24/7): Text CONNECT to 741741
During this time, we encourage the you to register for TAO Connect (Therapy Assistance Online). Log in with your Montclair State University email for guided therapy for stress, anxiety, depression and other concerns.
If you would like to find with a mental health professional in your local area, check out MiResource.
News reports about the Coronavirus, together with concerns that the virus could become even more widespread, is raising a number of concerns and making some people worry. Learn more about taking care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty here.
Current Drop-In Groups (via Zoom)
Here are some additional tips to help you put information and concerns in perspective, manage your worry, and maintain a positive outlook.
- Seek accurate information and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information or inaccurate information. Here are some reliable sources of information:
- Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and stay focused on what the situation actually is, rather than the worst-case-scenario. It can be helpful to shift your focus to things within your control rather than things outside your control.
- Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties.
- Maintain your normal day-to-day activities and keep connected. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself. Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Feel free to share useful information you find on governmental websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own worry. If your day to day activities are disrupted by closings, attempt to create structure in your day by: scheduling a normal bedtime and wake up time; structuring your time with hobbies, homework, reading, etc.; scheduling regular phone/video contact with friends and family.
- Follow the prevention and protection tips given by medical professionals such Montclair State’s University Health Center, national medical authorities, and your own medical doctor.
- Practice calming rituals. Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
- Seek supports & use campus resources. Reach out to friends and family and learn about on-campus and off-campus resources that are available. If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others, or contact CAPS or the Dean of Students Office. Your campus community is here to help!
- Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. Remember to keep in mind the kindness and empathy with which we strive to treat one another at all times as we address this challenge together. Be aware if your behavior or attitudes change towards others from another country, and avoid stigmatizing anyone who is sick as potentially having the Coronavirus. Often when there is uncertainty, our thoughts can become less compassionate and more fear-based.
- Managing Grief During COVID 19
- Increased worry, fear and feelings of being overwhelmed
- Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify
- Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased academic or work performance or performance of other daily activities
- Sleep difficulties
- Excessive crying
- Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
- Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)
- A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future
- Sudden anger or irritability, or noticeable changes in personality=
It’s not unusual to experience some — or even several — of the types of distress listed above during times of uncertainly and stress. If you notice these signs in yourself, reach out to family and friends for support, and engage in your usual healthy coping strategies (e.g. moderate exercise; eating well; getting adequate sleep; practicing yoga, meditation or some other mindfulness activity; take time for yourself; engage in a hobby or other fun activity, etc.).
If your distress continues or gets to the point that you are having difficulty managing your day-to-day activities, then seek professional help. Call CAPS at 973-655-5211 for assistance.
- Coping and Staying Emotionally Well During COVID-19 Related School Closures (from Active Minds)
- Care for your Coronavirus Anxiety (from Shine)
- COVID-19 and Managing Mental Health (from JED)
- Manage Anxiety & Stress (from CDC)
- COVID Mental Health and Resources (NAMI)
- Mental Health Considerations During COVID-19 (WHO)
- Managing COVID-19 Anxiety (ADAA)
More about Our Services
Our services are free, voluntary and confidential and available to all Montclair State students. Though a brief wait for services might occur at busier times of the year, urgency of need is always taken into consideration when scheduling an appointment. Students are typically seen for an average of six individual sessions. In some cases, after an initial appointment, a referral will be made to an off-campus agency or private practitioner. This would most likely be the case if the student’s needs can be better met off-campus, or if longer-term services are deemed more appropriate. Additionally, we offer short-term consultations and referrals for faculty and staff.
In order to meet high demand for services, students with a prior history of individual treatment at CAPS who are returning for additional individual treatment may be assisted with the following other options for support:
- Group Counseling (weekly drop in and therapy groups)
- Consultation appointment
- Let’s TeleTalk It’s Let Talk, but virtual!
- TAO Connect (Therapy Assistance Online)
- Sanvello is an app for iphone and android phones that offers clinically validated techniques and support modules to help with stress, anxiety, and depression. Sanvello is offering free premium access during the COVID-19 crisis. You can learn more and sign up at: Sanvello
- Self Help Screenings
- Short-term Individual Counseling
- Referral session for off-campus treatment. Find a local mental health professional.
Students should always use emergency and crisis services, as needed.
Given the need for COVID-19 social distancing/quarantine, if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
[Last updated: Wednesday, April 8]