As the westernmost institution in the UNC system, Western Carolina University provides
educational opportunities to residents of the state’s western region and attracts
students from around the globe to explore the area’s vast resources.
At Western Carolina University, we view our admissions process as our opportunity
to build the community that defines our institution. We look for people eager to explore
and ready to redefine success.
Programs and courses at Western Carolina are designed to provide hands-on, applied
experience. Students engage with communities across the region as they practice their
profession in real-world environments.
Western Carolina’s unique mountain location helps fuel a vibrant campus community
with more than 170 student clubs and organizations as well as a busy performing arts
calendar and the campus’s own adventure guide service.
Western Carolina is home to 16 Southern Conference athletic teams with more than 375
student athlete competitors. WCU strives to inspire student-athletes to compete like
champions on the field and in the classroom.
Western Carolina was founded to serve the region it calls home, and that has not changed.
WCU continues to focus on regional development initiatives, engaged service and community
programs. It also partners with alumni and donors to ensure access to higher education
for deserving students in the region and beyond.
In order to minimize the risk of spreading a potentially infectious illness, all clients
for WCU Counseling & Psychological Services must call and schedule either a telemental
health or in-person appointment.
To make an appointment, please contact the main office at 828.227.7469 during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm).
A Statement from CAPS
We are honored to play a role in each of your stories. Over the past year each of
you has shown us what true resilience and growth looks like, and for that we are forever
grateful. Thank you for allowing us to enter your spaces, peek into your lives and
experiences, and to support you through these unbelievably challenging times.
It is difficult to express the depth of grief, rage, fear, and confusion we all feel
at the loss of life, the pervasive racism and hatred. We know that you are already
emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted, and we encourage you to take time
to reflect and grieve in your own ways.Our greater world, and our individual worlds
are filled with so much fear and uncertainty right now. One thing is certain: we will
continue to fight for you and with you, support your growth, and challenge the systems
that seek to prevent or limit your success. Many of us haven’t experienced this level
of exhaustion and emotional emptiness before, and you may not know what to do with
all of what you’re feeling. Whether you’re not motivated, not enjoying life in the
ways you have before, feeling defeated, noticing the impact that loneliness has on
you, or perhaps you haven’t realized the ways all of this trauma has impacted you,
please know that we’re here to join with you and work toward helping you navigate
At CAPS, we’re committed to challenging harmful systems and working toward equity
for all, not only on our campus but in our larger communities as well. This year has
continued to show us how much work we have remaining. We know you’re exhausted. We
often feel that too, AND we promise that we’ll keep being here.
Please give us a call to make an appointment to assist and support you. Our phone
number is 828.227.7469.
CAPS' staff provide counseling within a goal-directed, short-term model. When you
first come into CAPS, a counselor will spend some time to understand your current
symptoms and struggles along with your goals for counseling. Your counselor will then
refer you to the appropriate service.
Some of the primary concerns that students have include:
Anxiety and depression, which includes symptoms of suicidality, loneliness, and low
Relationship issues, which could include friends, roommates, romantic partners, and
Issues related to experiences of trauma, sexual assault, or abuse
Identity concerns (that is, figuring out who they are)
Body image problems and/or eating concerns
Beginning or maintaining recovery from addictive substances or behaviors
While these are the primary reasons that students seek counseling, please know that
any concern or struggle you have can be addressed in counseling.
CAPS is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.
CAPS has a strong commitment to meeting the needs of our diverse students by providing
high quality, culturally sensitive services. We strive to create a welcoming environment
for all people.
COPE will help you quickly learn tools for managing emotional distress while also
developing a clearer goal of what you want to change in your life.
The CAPS staff all provide individual counseling that is aimed at helping you to remove
any barriers to your academic, social and/or personal life. Your individual counselor
will take some time to get to know you and your specific goals for counseling. You
will discuss how often you will meet, recognizing that the focus is on achieving these
goals within a brief time period.
CAPS' staff are available to assist students who are experiencing a mental health
crisis at any time of the day. During regular business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday), call the CAPS' main line (828.227.7469) or come in CAPS and you will be seen in a timely manner.
For after-hours emergencies, call the CAPS main line (828.227.7469) and follow the
prompts to be connected to a crisis clinician. You may also contact the community
crisis line through Appalachian Community Services (888.315.2880) or go to the nearest emergency room for assistance.
Research shows that group therapy is the most effective treatment for many of the
concerns college students face. Because of this, your counselor may refer you to one
of several groups offered by CAPS. Here is what students say about our groups:
"DO IT! Or at least try it because it is really helpful and really becomes a comfortable
space to talk about things you wouldn't talk about with people in your everyday life." "It is a great way to connect with people who understand what you are going through."
Join Your Group On Zoom
Living Emotionally Healthy: Mondays 2:00 to 3:30pm
A group to build skills for tolerating distress, regulating your emotions, and improving
Common Ground: Tuesdays 3:00 to 4:00pm
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans Identifying, Gender Questioning, Nonbinary, Genderqueer,
Genderfluid, and Gender nonconforming support group.
WHEE Black: Fridays: 3:00 to 4:30pm
A Black-Autonomous community space for Black WCU Students. This group was created
with the intention to address gaps in community, culture, and conversations regarding
Black student mental health.
Please call CAPS (828.227.7469) for an appointment to get started with your group.
Note: All groups will be held via Zoom.
TELEMENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
In line with current guidance from the University, State of NC, and CDC, we believe
it is safest for our students and our staff to do therapy via zoom. If you prefer
to meet in person, or your counselor believes it will be more beneficial for you,
the two of you will talk about meeting in person with appropriate safety measures.
Since TMH may not be as complete as in-person services, your counselor may determine
that TMH is not an appropriate treatment option or stop TMH at any time if your condition
changes. In such cases we will ethically manage transferring care as necessary.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND TELEMENTAL HEALTH
We encourage students to schedule appointments at times when they can have a private
space and use a secure internet connection. Each of our clinicians will also ensure
privacy on their end, often in their office at CAPS, and at other times in private
rooms in their home. Your clinician may use a headset to help ensure privacy and we
encourage you to do the same.
CAPS uses a HIPAA compliant version of Zoom for all of our video TMH appointments.
CAPS will provide you a unique Zoom link for each session. Do not share this link
If you get disconnected from a TMH health session, end and restart the session. If
you are unable to reconnect within five minutes, your counselor will call you at the
phone number on file.
SERVICES OUTSIDE OF NORTH CAROLINA
All students must be in North Carolina in order to receive counseling services from
CAPS. If you are out of state temporarily, we encourage you to reschedule your appointment
until you return to NC. If you are living outside of NC, our counselors are happy
to talk with you about resources in your area.
Your CAPS counselor may refer you for a medication evaluation at Health Services.
Counseling services for Biltmore Park students are offered by CAPS staff via a telemental
health session or through an in-person session at the CAPS office in Cullowhee. For
an appointment , call 828.227.7469.
CAPS provides services to currently enrolled WCU students.
To talk to a counselor, please call our office (828.227.7469). The office is open
Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
To begin counseling at CAPS, the first step is to meet briefly with a counselor to
discuss what concerns brought you to CAPS and to arrive at a mutually agreeable course
of action to address your concerns. The first meeting usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes.
Based on this meeting, your counselor will make recommendations about the best treatment
to address your concerns. This may be another campus resource, our self-help resources,
a short-term group, an ongoing group or individual counseling at CAPS or in the community.
Please note that when you arrive for your first meeting, there may be a wait. Know
that we prioritize appointments based on urgency and counselor availaibility. We appreciate
your patience and understanding.
Frequently Asked Questions
You and your counselor will discuss your treatment and how frequently you will have
sessions. You will likely meet with your counselor every other week or even once a
month. If your concerns are such that need very long-term treatment or you need to
be seen more than once a week, you may be referred to a therapist in the community.
Please call the front desk (828.227.7469) as soon as you know you are unable to make
your appointment. We do ask for at least 24 hours notice to change an appointment,
but we know that this is not always possible. Typically, students are not able to
be rescheduled within the next 5 business days and during times of high demand for
CAPS’ services, you may have to wait longer for the next appointment.
Enrolled students who have paid the Health Fee are eligible for services at CAPS. Faculty
and staff who are interested in counseling have access to services through the WCU
Employee Assistance Program. For additional information, please contact Human Resources
(828.227.7218) or CAPS (828.227.7469).
CAPS does not charge for their services for enrolled students who have paid the student
CAPS provides consultation to concerned parents, students, or faculty/staff. CAPS
will typically not reach out to a student based on this type of consultation, however
CAPS staff will guide you in managing the situation. Additionally, you may choose
to complete a Student Concern Response Team (SCRT) report. The SCRT team is charged
with ensuring, to the extent possible, coordinated efforts to provide services of
University Departments are made available to the involved student(s). The report template
is available at scrt.wcu.edu.
We understand that not all counselors are a fit for you. If you find that you are
a not a good fit with your counselor, we ask that you bring this up in your session.
Usually, this will help you and your counselor better understand each other and enhance
your work together. However, if that conversation does not resolve your concern, you
can contact the CAPS office and leave a message about switching counselors. At this
point, a CAPS Administrator will reach out to you to resolve the situation.
We ask that students trust that CAPS' clinicians are making the best recommendation
for you and your current concerns. Even if the option seems uncomfortable, we ask
that you give it a try, knowing that discomfort often brings about change. If you
choose not to follow through with the recommendation to engage at CAPS, we can provide
outside referrals for you.
CAPS does provide limited psychological assessment for ongoing clients to inform and
enhance treatment. CAPS does not provide any ADHD testing or other testing necessary
for determining accommodations. CAPS can refer you to a local agency that provides
testing for these purposes. Addtionally, you can seek these services without a CAPS
referral through the McKee Psychology Clinic (828.227.2473).
With your permission, CAPS will provide information to the Office of Accessibility
Resources (828.227.3886) for ongoing clients regarding their diagnosis and impact
of their symptoms on their daily functioning.
CAPS does not provide letters of support for emotional support animals.
If you are experiencing a mental health emergency during business hours, come to CAPS
(225 Bird Building).
If you are experiencing a mental health emergency after business hours, call the CAPS
main line (828.227.7469) and follow the prompts.
Other emergency resources:
Appalachian Community Resources - 888.315.2880
REACH (Sexual Violence Resources) - 828.369.5544
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800.273.8255
After hours and weekend: 828.227.7469 and follow the prompts.
Western NC 24 hour crisis line: 888.315.2880
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.8255
Are you wondering about your symptoms? Use the link below to access anonymous questionnaires
to assess if your depression, anxiety, substance use, eating patterns or other behavioral
health issues require assistance from a mental health professional.
Enrolled students who have paid the student health fee are eligible to receive services.
All students are eligible to participate in groups, workshops, biofeedback and emergency
services. Students enrolled for fall but not summer who seek services in the summer
may pay a nominal fee for services.