Q&A with Adriana
We recently sat down for a meaningful Q&A with Adriana Labarta, LMHC, our college’s liaison from FAU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). She was kind enough to introduce us to the services CAPS offers to FAU students, and provide some helpful tips for keeping calm during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 symptoms are generally flu-like and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing. Symptoms are thought to appear within 2-14 days after exposure and a person can be contagious but not symptomatic. Like seasonal flu, COVID-19 infection in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. When severe, pneumonia, respiratory failure and even death are possible.
AL: We offer individual and group services, crisis services, consultation, outreach, and general psychological services for FAU students.
AL: All services are completely free for our students, as they are covered by the student health fee students pay when they enroll in classes. Students do not need to have health insurance to use our services.
AL: CAPS is committed to providing quality services to students during this challenging, unprecedented time. In addition to providing information on our website related to self-care and tips for maintaining mental health, we are currently offering Telehealth, therapy via secure videoconference, as well as phone consultations to new and existing clients. To facilitate social distancing, we ask that students call our office so we can determine the best way to get them connected to services. Currently, our offices on the Boca and Jupiter campuses are open to provide crisis/emergency services as needed.
AL: Our in-person and virtual services are all HIPAA compliant to maintain student privacy. None of the paperwork or digital platform record-keeping processes we use are associated – in any way – with student academic records. They are completely different platforms, and we take that very seriously. The only ways a student’s interaction with CAPS would be made available outside our office is if: 1) the student signs a specific release of their medical record; 2) the student is assessed to be in imminent danger of harming themselves or others; or 3) if a member of a vulnerable population (children or elders) is being abused and needs protection.
AL: All first-time and follow-up appointments should be scheduled by calling CAPS at (561) 297-3540. Students are also welcomed to call CAPS for a brief consultation or check-in with a therapist, rather than scheduling a full session.
AL: We have on-site locations at the Boca Raton, Jupiter and Davie campuses. After business hours, students can call the CAPS crisis line at 561-297-3540 to be connected with an on-call clinician for any crisis/consultation needs.
AL: While we are available to consult with faculty and staff regarding students of concern, our counseling services are primarily geared for students. We do encourage faculty and staff to take advantage of the resources we offer on our website. For personal counseling services, we advise FAU faculty and staff to consider the free services offered through the Employee Assistance Program. (Login ID: Florida Atlantic University | Password: EAP | Phone: 1-800-865-3200)
AL: First, it’s important to acknowledge that this is an anxiety-provoking time. It’s uncharted territory with a lot of unknowns. So be sure to create space to acknowledge and validate your own emotional responses – whatever they may be.
Second, I recommend making social connection a priority. There are myriad ways to stay connected while maintaining social distancing. Facetime with friends and family or planned Zoom meetings can help to stay emotionally connected. The phrase we are hearing commonly now bears repeating: We may be apart, but we’re all in this together.
Third, take time and make time to engage in mindfulness practices. Meditation, journaling, focused breathing, yoga – mindful practices like these can help us feel grounded and less overwhelmed. These activities can help center us and remind us that while so much is beyond our control, there are things we can do, in this present moment, to take care of ourselves.