Our Mission

Mission Statement:

The mission of UC Merced Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is to support the mental health and well-being of our students. It is the intention of all CAPS staff to provide a safe, confidential atmosphere of acceptance and accessibility to professionals in the field of psychology. Services specialize in the unique needs of UC Merced students in an effort to promote their academic, personal and social development.

Diversity Statement:

The University of California, Merced (UCM) is one of the most diverse college campuses in the United States with the highest percentage of first-generation college freshman amongst all of the UC campuses. UCM Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) focuses on meeting the unique needs of this population as well as striving to maintain an environment that is supportive and affirming of all cultural diversity statuses, including but not limited to:

• Ethnicity
• Race
• National Origin
• Age
• Socioeconomic Status
• Gender Identity and Expression
• Sexual Orientation
• First Language
• Ability Status
• Religion or Spiritual Beliefs/Affiliation
• Immigration Status
• Military Status
• Class
• First Generation (college student and/or American)

We acknowledge that the pursuit of multicultural awareness is a lifelong learning process. At CAPS, we believe part of that evolution involves increasing self-awareness by recognizing our own cultural limitations through our clients, community, colleagues and other educational resources. We welcome dialogue of varying perspectives as we continue to expand our knowledge base and understanding of the influences of diversity, marginalization and discrimination on the health and wellness of our students. Our aim is to integrate this learning process by celebrating differences, affirming diversity, and promoting equity and inclusion for all of our students. Our ultimate goal is to provide a safe, supportive, inclusive, and affirming environment for each and every UC Merced student.

Counselor's Corner
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    Welcome to our new students, and to those returning, welcome back and happy new academic year! September 28th, 2015

    As we reflect on what we’re doing well and how we’d like to improve and grow, many of us use the new year as an opportunity to set goals and resolutions for where we’d like to be by year’s end. For some of us, it may be fitness or financial goals, improving our GPA or finding that stellar internship.

    Regardless of your goal, we’d like to help you achieve it. Often, the more we want to achieve a goal, the higher we set the bar and sometimes goals can seem daunting. Proper goal selection is critical!

    To help you select goals that push you just the right amount, try making your goal a SMART goal.

    Specific – It’s easier to stay on track when the goal is clearly defined. To help make your goal specific, try asking Who, What, Where, When, Which and Why.

    Measurable —Part of setting a goal is knowing when you’ve met it! Make your goal concrete so you know how far you are from it and what still needs to be done. Being able to see progress helps us stay motivated.

    Actionable —What needs to happen in order for this goal to be met, and what are steps you can take to overcome barriers that might stand in your way?

    Realistic —Goals that balance a challenge with good odds for success are ideal. Are you both willing and able to do the work necessary? Have you accomplished anything similar in the past? Sometimes splitting a large goal into multiple smaller goals helps make this happen.

    Timely —Having a deadline helps keep us accountable. With no time-frame, there is no urgency to meet our goals.

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    Summer is for relaxing, or is it? July 2nd, 2015

    Everyone hopes that summertime will bring opportunities for fun, relaxation, and a break from our usual routines. But oftentimes our summer schedules get jam-packed with summer events, travel, and intensive summer school programs and trainings that leave us feeling anything but rested. Make sure that during these long summer days you take time to find the life balance you need to stay energized and enthusiastic about life. Everyone has different needs in terms of what makes for a balanced and satisfying life, but some of the components that most people find they need include:

    · Sleep—8 hours or so is the number that most people find optimal. Make it a priority because your physical and emotional health depend on sufficient sleep every day.

    · Exercise—A healthy body and mind require regular exercise. It’s your choice how you want to move your body, but make it a priority to do cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises on a regular basis.

    · Nutrition—The research is clear that the Standard American Diet of high fat, sugar, salt, and refined carbohydrates undermines our psychological and physical well-being. Prioritize healthy proteins and plant foods to feel your best psychologically and physically.

    · Recreation—There are many ways to take a break from work and school. Whether you do something active like rock climbing or something quiet like knitting or reading, find some pleasurable ways to unwind and de-stress. Make sure you incorporate these fun things into your life regularly.

    · Socializing—It doesn’t matter whether you thrive on being with lots of people all of the time or prefer solitude as your way to re-charge, everyone needs some people in their life. Try to have at least one meaningful conversation with another person each day.

    · Positive Psychology—The attitude you have about things often determines how stressed you feel by events. One way that many people find to bring more joy and contentment into their lives is to keep a gratitude journal. Every day write down at least 3 things that you are grateful for that day or that went well for you. You will begin to see that you have been taking for granted many things about yourself and others; let other people know how much you appreciate them and how they contribute to your well-being.

    May you have a fun, relaxing, and rejuvenating summer!

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    December 4th, 2014 Don’t Forget to Breathe

    As we all know, the last few weeks of the semester can be very stressful. You can find temporary relief and a brief sense of relaxation, however, by simply paying attention to something you do thousands of times each day without ever noticing it—breathing.

    All you need to do is momentarily shift your attention away from your thoughts and onto your breath as you take three mindful breaths. This means that you breathe in deeply and slowly through the nose such that your chest raises. Pause briefly, then exhale out of your mouth, making a soft “O” shape with your lips as you empty out your lungs and your chest falls. Repeat this process two more times. This can take perhaps 35-40 seconds to do, depending upon how deeply and slowly you inhale and exhale.

    You will find--if you pay close attention—that you feel a mild sense of calm and well-being afterward. This is a simple but significant relaxation tool you have access to any time you need it.

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    October 10th, 2014

    Welcome to the new, updated website for Counseling and Psychological Services. We hope that you find useful information on our site to help you or someone you are concerned about get the mental health support needed. We also have some new features in our Counseling Center, including the use of iPads to check in and a monitor with mental health wellness messaging. The Just In Case app is available on smartphones, so please upload it onto your phone where you will have it anytime you need it. This fall we are promoting the Each Mind Matters campaign, which is a California-wide initiative regarding mental health awareness and the importance of sharing our stories with others. The campaign features a lime green ribbon and we invite you to get a ribbon from us and wear it to support the 1 in 4 Americans who have mental health concerns, as all of us are touched by this issue. October is Mental Health Awareness month—a perfect time for you to join in. We will have all kinds of materials available around campus reminding you that “Each Mind Matters”!

Just in Case App
If you or someone else are in crisis, click below to learn more about the Just In Case app, available for downloading onto your smartphone.
Each Mind Matters
Click below to learn more about Each Mind Matters, California’s initiative promoting awareness of mental health issues.