Upcoming Event: Candlelight Vigil

The candlelight vigil is an annual event held on campus and sponsored by CAPS. The event is beautiful, in terms of both appearance and impact. During the vigil, the Porter squiggle is lit by many candles that have been placed there by participating individuals. The purpose of the event is a chance to reflect and light a candle to remember those lost to suicide and affected by mental health issues. It is a touching moment for those that come together to light a candle and share their experience but also for everyone that passes by the spectacle.

The Vigil will take place this Wednesday, May 1st from 6-8 pm on the Porter lawn.

ICYMI – CAPS has a Relaxation Station!

CAPS Peer Educator Marisa Patel shares the outcome of her outreach project this year. Read on to learn more about the Relaxation Station launch last month!


By Marisa Patel

CAPS Associate Director Dorje Jennette, instructs peer educator Marisa Patel on a computer used at a new relaxation station for students to use to reduce stress through biofeedback. (Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

CAPS Associate Director Dorje Jennette, instructs peer educator Marisa Patel on a computer used at a new relaxation station for students to use to reduce stress through biofeedback. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

In case you haven’t heard, the Relaxation Station Launched! What is the Relaxation Station, you ask? It is one of CAPS’s many resources to improve your self-care habits. The Relaxation Station, located in the CAPS waiting room, has a state of the line massage chair that you are welcome to use for 15-minute intervals, free of charge! Along with the massage chair, the Relaxation Station has an iPad from which you can access audio-guided relaxation exercises while getting your massage. Some of the apps included on the iPad are MindShift, CBT-I Coach, and PsychMeUp. Feel free to check out these apps and download them on your mobile phone, too! While waiting your turn to use the Relaxation Station, you can use the laptop in the waiting room that provides biofeedback programs and games. The biofeedback programs and games measure your stress levels and give you feedback so that you can learn to exercise some control over your stress levels.

The Relaxation Station launched just a few weeks ago on April 25th, and the Santa Cruz Sentinel covered the event—check out hyperlink! The launch was successful and I’m very proud of how everything turned out.

I’d like to give a big shout out and Thank You to everyone in the Peer Educator Program, and Dorje Jennette. Dorje is a licensed psychologist and the Associate Director for Clinical Services at CAPS. He was the lead developer of this project and he contributed an immense amount of time and work to the development and launch of the Relaxation Station. Thank you, Dorje, for guiding me and allowing me to help you officially launch this project.

I hope you all take advantage of this great resource that CAPS has to offer. Don’t forget to grab a gift bag on your way out!

Advice for Embodying Positivity + Upcoming Workshop on Tuesday, May 19th!

As the weather gets warmer, social media becomes deluged with advertisements for weight-loss, showing thin, smiling people claiming that a specific type of diet or exercise changed their life for the better. Although there is nothing wrong with eating healthily and exercising regularly, it is no secret that our society often equates a low weight to health and beauty. Common sense tells us that this is absolutely ridiculous. A person can be healthy and attractive at any weight, and we all come in different sizes and shapes.

When it comes to my experience, I know that I’m not alone in the fact that I often felt self-conscious of my appearance and my body while I was growing up. As a biracial woman, I never saw anyone in the media that resembled me – I felt like an alien. Additionally, in high school I was often teased for being shaped “like a boy.” Words hurt, and our society’s narrow perceptions of what makes someone attractive can have long-lasting effects on our confidence and how we view ourselves.

11245495_883089511751413_7127699274112337244_n That’s why I think it’s especially great that CAPS will be hosting a workshop next week called, “Embodying Positivity.” This workshop will take place on Tuesday, 5/19/2015 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm in College Nine’s Namaste Lounge. Participants will engage in a body-positive activity and discussion to promote compassion and love for oneself and body esteem. CAPS counselors Susan Gulbe-Walsh, PhD, and Kristin Sergeant, PhD, will facilitate the workshop. This workshop is open to everybody, and you should definitely stop by! In the meantime, I encourage you to check out this list for advice on improving your body image! I found these steps on the National Eating Disorder Association’s website and I think it’s a really great read:

  1. Appreciate all that your body can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.
  2. Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.
  3. Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
  4. Look at yourself as a whole person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you–as a whole person.
  5. Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.
  6. Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
  7. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. Work with your body, not against it.
  8. Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages: write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message
  9. Do something nice for yourself–something that lets your body know you appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, find a peaceful place outside to relax.
  10. Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others. Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.

I hope you have a wonderful day and stay positive!

Upcoming “Stress Less” Workshops this Spring!


Hello Slugs!

We hope that Spring Quarter is treating you well… However, we also know that this time of the quarter is also a time when many students feel the most stressed. That’s why CAPS Peer Educators will be leading three Stress Less Workshops right in time for midterms! These workshops will teach you tried and true techniques for stress management, including ideas for increasing your resiliency to stress. Additionally, we will guide you through a great breathing exercise. If that’s not enough for you, we also have cool goodies like stress balls, pencils, and more!

So, when and where will these workshops take place? Come to the CAPS main office (located on the 2nd floor of the East Wing of the Health Center) to attend a Stress Less Workshop during any of these following dates and times:

  • Thursday, April 30th, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
  • Monday, May 11th, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Thursday, May 28th, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

We look forward to seeing you at these workshops, and we encourage you to stop by and use us as a resource. Remember, CAPS is here for you! Be sure to call 831-459-2628 or stop by CAPS if you have questions.

National Depression Screening Day! January 21st, 11 AM – 1 PM


By Camara Chea

NDSD Flyer Silver Lining - UCSC


With winter quarter in full swing, you may feel that things are racing by and you can’t catch up. The cold weather, combined with growing piles of homework, unrealistic expectations,  and everything else going on in your life, may be putting you in a funk. Is it the winter blues? …Or is it something more? If you are tired, sad, anxious, having difficulty concentrating in class, or just don’t have interest in the same things you used to, depression may be the culprit. Depression is something that can affect anyone. Half of all college students feel depressed at some point during their time in school. According to a 2011 survey, 60% of college students reported feeling very sad in the past year. However, you shouldn’t let depression dictate your college experience.

Thankfully, UCSC Counseling and Psychological Services is offering students a mental health check-up on Wednesday, January 21st at the Cowell Student Health Center from 11 AM to 1 PM as part of National Depression Screening Day®. Students will have an opportunity to take a brief, anonymous screening and meet one-on-one with a mental health professional. The screening provides students with insight into symptoms they might be experiencing and offers helpful treatment and referral information, if necessary. This event is free of charge and totally anonymous. And if you love free stuff as much as I do, you’ll be psyched to hear that there will be COMPLIMENTARY DONUTS!

TLDR: You have 99 problems but don’t let depression be one of them. You’re not alone. It’s okay to ask for help. Take this next step.

Upcoming Workshop: Making Friends With Your Body

Hopefully, you’ve started noticing some of the flyers around campus for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week this week. This year’s theme is: “I Had No Idea…”

In my role as a CAPS counselor, I talk to many students who feel like they have “no idea” how to balance their desire for a healthy body image (as well as a healthy body!) with the many competing and mixed messages they get from media, peers, family, and other sources. If that sounds like you, or if you’d just like to get a better perspective on your body image issues in general, CAPS would like to invite you to a fun and interactive workshop this Friday. From the facilitator:

“Making Friends with your Body:  Developing a Healthy Appetite and Image at UCSC”

Facilitated by Susan J. Gulbe Walsh, Ph.D. and Diana Elwyn, MFT

When:  Friday, 2/28, from 12 – 1:30 p.m.
Where: Mural Room at the Health Center
Come join us for a psycho-educational and experiential workshop focused on helping students gain perspective on body image issues.  Expressive arts activities, visualizations, journaling, and lost of handouts will assist us in exploring eating and body image issues, as well as develop an understanding of how these issues relate to the culture at UCSC.

All are welcome. For more information or to request disability related accommodations, please call (831) 459-2628.

Too much to handle?

College offers new experiences and challenges. This can be exciting; it can also be stressful and make you, or someone you know, feel overwhelmed. If these feelings last for more than a few weeks, or interfere with academic or social functioning, it may be a sign of depression. Take a free screening at the Student Health Center, tomorrow Thursday October 10th from 12:00-2:00pm. Take an anonymous, 5-minute assessment and get a FREE DONUT. Now there’s some real excitement for you, baby!

October is ADHD Awareness Month

by Christina Aranda, Ph.D.

ADHD is a neurological condition that impacts 15 million people in the US and involves difficulty with focusing attention. Common symptoms include: forgetfulness in daily activities, difficulty completing tasks, getting easily distracted, and procrastination. It affects people of every age, gender, IQ, spiritual background, and socioeconomic status. Although there is no cure for ADHD, there are various treatments that can reduce its impact on emotional, academic, work, and social functioning. In addition to medication, behavioral skills can be learned that increase the ability to organize, focus, and accomplish goals.

There is a CAPS weekly therapy and skills group on campus called “Finding Focus” being held Thursdays from 2-3:30pm that is for any student experiencing ADHD-related challenges. A formal ADHD diagnosis is not required. The group is designed to foster academic and personal success by increasing peer support and connection, and learning strategies for increased focus. Topics and activities include: 1) Mindfulness activities 2) Psychoeducation on ADHD and Self-care 3) Identifying and utilizing strengths 4) Goal setting 5) Overcoming procrastination techniques and 6) Processing emotions and experiences. Students can call Dr. Christina Aranda at 831-459-2269 to schedule an in-person meeting to determine whether the group is a good fit with their needs. Hurry- spaces are limited!