About Us

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.

Making an Appointment

To make an appointment with a counselor please stop by Counseling & Psychological Services located in the H. Rajender Reddy Health Center on the second floor of the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation & Wellness Center. You can also contact Counseling & Psychological Services at 209-228-4266 to schedule an appointment. Counseling & Psychological Services is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding weekends and holidays.

24/7 Access to Assistance

Counseling & Psychological Services has partnered with ProtoCall, Inc.to provide after hours emergency clinical services. ProtoCall, Inc. provides 24-hour Intake and Assessment, Crisis Response and Triage Services to the UC Merced campus community. ProtoCall’s services enable students to speak in a timely fashion directly with a counselor who is able to provide immediate support regarding a variety of issues, including academic and environmental stressors, mental health issues, and alcohol and drug related concerns and can help students access services with their campus counseling office. You may access this service by calling (209) 228-4266, the Counseling & Psychological Services Center number. A UC Merced professional counselor will follow-up with you the following business day.

Eligibility for Services

All currently registered undergraduate and graduate students at the University of California, Merced are eligible to utilize on-campus counseling services free of charge. The service you receive is based upon a determination of your therapeutic goals and Counseling Services resources. If Counseling & Psychological Services is unable to meet your therapeutic needs, outside referral resources will be identified for you.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Information that you communicate to a Counseling & Psychological Services therapist is confidential. The fact that you are seeing a Counseling & Psychological Services therapist does not appear on any academic records. Your identity is kept confidential from anyone outside our agency. Please note, however, that in a professional counseling agency, confidentiality means that psychologists consult with each other as well as Health Center providers as needed regarding any of their clients. We are also required to keep data on who we see, their year in college, their ethnicity, etc. This statistical information is necessary for our yearly funding; aggregate data only is utilized, so that no one individual person is identifiable in the statistical analyses.

Your right to confidentiality is protected by law. However, there are certain circumstances regarding life-threatening situations in which confidentiality may need to be breached. Examples of these situations include potential danger to self or others (i.e, the possibility of suicide or homicide), child abuse, and cases involving individuals who are gravely disabled and unable to care for themselves. In such situations the Counseling & Psychological Services staff member may be legally required to contact other persons in order to keep the client safe or to report to other outside agencies (where appropriate) information obtained during a Counseling & Psychological Services counseling visit. Except in these situations, information communicated to Counseling & Psychological Services cannot be released without a student’s permission. If you would like further information on this subject, your Counseling & Psychological Services staff member will be glad to provide it for you.

FERPA Notice

If you are a UC Merced registered student, as defined by Section 130.00 of the University of California's Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students (PACAOS), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) and other applicable laws apply. The circumstances under which your personally identifiable information may be disclosed are listed in Section 130.00 of the PACAOS, available at PACAOS (PDF).

E-Mail Policy

Students are cautioned against email communication with their therapist because e-mail is NOT a confidential means of communication. Therefore, counseling staff at Counseling & Psychological Services will not respond to any e-mail communications from students with whom they work in a counseling capacity. E-mail is not the appropriate medium to communicate urgent or emergency information. The risks of e-mail are that it could fail to be received and that confidentiality could be breached. An e-mail could fail to be received if it is sent to the wrong e-mail address or if it just is not noticed by the recipient. Confidentiality could be breached in transit by hackers or Internet service providers and at either end by others who had access to the account or the computer. The alternatives to e-mail are, of course, writing a letter or a note, making a phone call, and meeting in person.

H. Rajender Reddy Health Center