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Purdue’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

January 2020

Dear Boilermaker Community –

Welcome back, students! I hope the break was full of rest and rejuvenation and you are ready to begin the spring 2020 semester with enthusiasm and zest.

As stated in the letter I emailed you last fall, your physical and mental well-being continue to be important to us. Across the country and here at Purdue there has been a significant increase in the number of students seeking mental health services. Since 2016, Purdue’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has experienced a 22% increase in demand. To help address this need, we are implementing a new model of care that will provide quick access to clinical resources and help a greater number of students solve short-term challenges.

CAPS’ new model is based on an approach where treatment intensity is determined by the level of distress, clinical need and readiness to engage actively in the growth process; decisions that are made collaboratively between provider and student. This approach begins with a brief, 15-minute rapid screening phone consultation scheduled within days (1-3) of a student’s initial contact with CAPS. As always, if the student is experiencing an emergency, immediate care is available. The phone appointment will replace the previous inperson initial assessment.

During the scheduled call, students will be invited to talk about their situation with a clinician who will make appropriate treatment recommendations. Options for next steps may include referral to campus resources, group counseling, workshops, assessments, short- to mid-term counseling at CAPS, and in some cases referrals to community agencies and resources. Community resources can provide longer-term, ongoing individual treatment, intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization services, hospitalization and inpatient treatment, and more. In cases where an external resource is determined to be the best fit for the student, CAPS will work directly with the student to identify and recommend providers, taking into consideration factors such as the student’s insurance and the type of service needed.

CAPS will continue to provide crisis appointments as needed, with clinicians available for mental health emergencies. Students can walk in whenever CAPS is open, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Outside business hours, clinicians are available by calling (765)-494-6995 and pressing 1. Students who are experiencing an immediate mental health crisis can also call 911 and ask to speak to a CIT officer.

The new model of care is consistent with Steps to Leaps, a collaborative, campus-wide effort to foster lifelong habits and promote a growth mindset in areas of well-being, leadership, impact, network building and grit. For more information on CAPS, visit

We look forward to the semester ahead and exploring together the opportunities for growth and success in this new decade. Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue and each of you!


Dean Sermersheim

Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost & Dean of Students
Purdue University
Schleman Hall| Room 207
475 Stadium Mall Drive | West Lafayette, IN  47907
Phone:  765.494.1257| Email:

Purdue University, Office of the Dean of Students, Helen B. Schleman Hall (formerly the Recitation Building), 2nd Floor, 656 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2086, Phone (765) 494-1747, Fax (765) 496-1550

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