Remote Mental Health Services Offered Through CAPS

By: Gabriella Pinos / Opinion Director

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, FIU’s Counseling and Psychological Services is hosting virtual events to help students ride through the quarantine. 

Since the University transitioned to online learning in March, all services by CAPS, the Victim Empowerment Program and the Healthy Living Program are being offered remotely, and consultations are now held over the phone or through video conference. 

The Student Health clinics remain open for appointment-only consultations, and students who visit must call beforehand and speak with a provider.

If you need to seek help or find a cure for your cabin fever, here’s a rundown of the clinical and remote mental health services FIU is offering.

If You’re Feeling Symptoms: Stay on top of your temperature and call your doctor as soon as you feel symptoms, according to Assistant Vice President of Student Health and Wellness Breny DaParre Garcia. Make sure to call before going to a clinic and keep a log of what symptoms you’re experiencing.

“That way, whenever you start feeling worse, you have something to tell your doctor,” said Garcia.

While FIU’s clinics are seeing students via appointment and screening all patients, students are advised to call ahead at (305) 348-2401 before entering the premises for everyone’s safety. Tele-health services through Zoom will also be offered within the next week or two, according to Garcia.

Online Resources: Most of the free online resources on the CAPS website are currently available for student use, including Kognito, online screenings, Therapy Assistance Online, podcasts, counseling, and two remote psychiatric services. Services like counseling are through appointment only and can be requested by calling CAPS at (305) 348-2277.

E-Workshops: Workshops on an array of topics, like mindfulness and defusion, are hosted by staff at CAPS through Zoom. A weekly Zoom workshop on managing anxiety and social isolation, for instance, provides tips on how to stay stress-free during COVID-19, such as learning new activities or enjoying the outdoors.

Links to the Zoom meetings are posted on CAPS’ Twitter and Instagram pages.

Instagram Live: The @fiu_vep account on Instagram occasionally streams and collaborates with other departments to give students tips throughout the pandemic. SGC-MMC President Sabrina Rosell, for instance, hosted an Instagram Live with Garcia last Thursday, where she provided information on remote services and advice for staying active and healthy.

“This is a stressful time, especially for our students that use our services a lot,” said Garcia.

Other informational sessions, like weekly “Doctor Q&A’s,” feature tips from clinicians and doctoral interns on student concerns.

“[People think] in order to come into CAPS, I need to have these life-changing, intense events to happen,” said Amanda Read, a postdoctoral clinician in a recent Q&A. “It’s more so, if you feel like you’re being impacted by something, you’re a person that we want to see at CAPS.”

FIU VEP will also host virtual events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month throughout April.

HLP and Panthers Care: FIU HLP on Instagram has its own share of services like journaling and meditation sessions and, more recently, a live yoga session. Zoom webinars are also on the docket, with a session on motivation scheduled for this Wednesday. The Dean of Students can be reached through the Panthers Care Instagram, which houses information on resources like the Student Emergency Fund and tips on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

These virtual events all point back to staying sane during the pandemic, according to Garcia and Rosell. 

“Remember that the services that you’re paying for are still available to you,” said Rosell.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment at FIU’s Student Health clinics, call (305) 348-8385 for the Modesto Maidique Campus or (305) 919-5620 for the Biscayne Bay Campus. Clinic hours are currently 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For non-urgent and clinical issues outside of business hours, call (305) 348-2401. For more information, visit the Student Health clinics’ website. If you’d like to contact CAPS or VEP, call (305) 348-2277 and leave a message with your name, Panther ID number and phone number. CAPS is currently calling students back on a blocked number. Visit for more information.

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