CAPS set to hire five new counselors for this academic year


File photo by Jeffrey Wang

Counseling and Psychological Services office. CAPS announced that they will hire five new counselors this academic year.

Austin Benavides, Campus Editor

Northwestern announced Monday it will hire five additional counselors this academic year, with three of the positions going toward staffing the Chicago office and two at the Evanston campus.

Counselors at the Chicago campus will primarily work to support clinical services and aid educational programming. The new positions at the Evanston Counseling and Psychological Services office will work as sports psychologists.

“These new counselors are going to be invaluable to supporting our students on both the Chicago and Evanston campuses,” CAPS executive director John Dunkle said in a University release, . “This is part of a plan to continue to increase services for our students.”

Dunkle called these additions a “win-win” for the Evanston office in the release. He said having more counselors designated as sports psychologists will help reduce the wait time for the general student population as sports psychologists could focus in on helping student-athletes.

This is due in part to a rising trend in student-athlete use of CAPS. Compared to the 19 percent of the overall student population that uses CAPS, 40 percent of student-athletes used CAPS.

The added focus on student-athlete mental health is also based on the guidelines of a 2016 NCAA Mental Health Best Practices report. The report detailed several ways universities should deal with athletes’ mental health.

Among the guidelines include provisions that suggest institutions should create clear procedures to refer athletes to qualified practitioners and emergency plans for an athlete experiencing suicidal thoughts. It also asked schools’ athletic programs to perform mental health screenings as a part of the program’s preparticipation exams and to educate athletes on ways to recognize symptoms of mental disorders.

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Julie Payne-Kirchmeier said in the release that these new positions are a part of a broader plan at Northwestern to advance mental health services.

The five new positions will be filled this academic year, the release said.

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