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Emory Counseling and Psychological Services expands after-hours support for students
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Students can call 24/7 for confidential assistance from a CAPS mental health professional. During the conversation, students can identify their needs and get support and help to develop a plan for next steps.

— Getty Images/petekarici

There are a variety of strategies for effectively tending to emotional well-being, and friends, family, mentors and other supports can play an important role in self-care strategies. Sometimes clinical mental health professionals are needed, too — and for that, Emory Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has students covered.

CAPS has expanded after-hours support to provide Emory students with confidential assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7), 365 days a year. Now, a student can call CAPS (404-727-7450) and immediately speak with a mental health professional to identify their needs, get support and develop a plan for next steps.

“Life happens, and we will continue to meet students where they are by expanding our support services so students can access immediate care,” says Tenille Gaines, executive director of CAPS. “By offering a robust range of options for mental health services to support our student community, we are providing an additional level of flexibility for students to seek assistance when they need it.”

Since Gaines joined Emory in October 2023, she and the CAPS team have worked to enhance operational practices and expand opportunities for connecting with students. Changes made since last summer include the addition of four new clinical positions and the elimination of session limits as a consideration for clinical care.

CAPS’ normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. when classes are in session. When students call or drop in during those hours, they are greeted by a team member who answers questions, schedules appointments or connects them with a mental health professional for immediate support.

When students call after business hours, on holidays or during school breaks, they first hear an automated message with three options:  

  • Speak immediately with a mental health professional who can offer risk assessment, discuss immediate needs and develop a plan to include follow-up care based on the presenting concern.  
  • Leave a message, which will be followed up on the next business day.  
  • Learn how to schedule an initial consultation online.  

CAPS phone line support focuses on brief, solution-focused interventions to assess the student’s current situation and arrange for appropriate levels of care, depending on the circumstances.

A mental health professional conducts a guided clinical assessment in which the presenting issue(s) are discussed, as well as an assessment of risk related to categories such as substance use or thoughts of suicide, self-harm, harming others, etc. The mental health professional then works with the student to create an immediate safety plan to implement after the call, as well as any contingency planning. This may include ongoing involvement with a mental health professional or, in more clinically complex situations, seeking medical attention. 

Emory offers a robust range of options for mental health services to support the student community:      

  • CAPS is available to provide in-person clinical, mental health assistance for undergraduates, graduate and professional students on the Atlanta campus Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., or phone-based support 24/7. CAPS provides multiculturally and trauma-informed care based on a goal-oriented model for individual, couples/relationship and group counseling; support and intervention for urgent needs; and assistance with referrals to campus partners and community-based providers.
  • TimelyCare is also available for Emory students. TimelyCare is an independent company that provides services through a network of contracted providers in all 50 states. TimelyCare offers free, 24/7 virtual telehealth visits for Emory students.
  • TalkNow, part of TimelyCare, is a free, on-demand resource for immediate access to a mental health professional. This service is available 24/7 for all enrolled Emory students.    

Please note these resources are not mutually exclusive; any student may find that a combination of support resources works best for them. 

Visit the CAPS website to learn more about Emory’s mental health resources for students on the Atlanta campus. Contact CAPS by calling 404-727-7450.

While a valuable resource, calling the CAPS phone line (404-727-7450) for immediate support is not a replacement for ongoing clinical mental health assistance. 

Students needing immediate assistance for an emergency should call the Emory Police Department at 404-727-6111 on the Atlanta campus. For emergency help off campus, but in the U.S., call 911. 

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