CSG Candidate Shub Argha on Mental Health

Disclaimer: Mentality Magazine is a non-political organization aimed at de-stigmatizing and opening the conversation surrounding mental health. We do not formally endorse the candidate below. However, one of our goals as an organization is to inform others about mental health news at the University of Michigan, and this CSG election platform supports positive changes to mental health resources on campus.

CAPS, (counseling and psychological services) is yet another acronym amidst an alphabet soup used in the everyday vernacular of the Michigan student. Many first heard of this acronym either during a campus tour or their freshmen orientation. However, most students likely filed away the cliff notes version of services CAPS provides under a list of resources that students have, but believe they will probably never use during their time at Michigan.

It’s likely, however, that those same students will feel moments of loneliness, stress, conflict, anxiety or any other host of feelings during their time at Michigan. For the first time since that campus tour or orientation, CAPS came back to mind.

If  such a student decided they wanted to seek help through a CAPS counselor today, there are a few things they will have to do beforehand. First, they will need to set aside the time to go to the CAPS building on Tappan St. to complete CAPS’s intake survey. This is done on CAPS’s secure server, and must be completed prior to seeing a counselor in order to familiarize the  counselor with the student’s case. Once this survey is complete, the student may now schedule their initial consultation or IC. The current wait time is 6 business days, assuming your schedule can accommodate the first available appointment. Once the student is able to come in for their IC, they will spend 30 minutes with a counselor discussing the best course of action for the problems they are facing. If the student decides they want to talk further about their issues with a counselor, they may schedule their first counseling appointment, for which, CAPS notes on their website, wait times  fluctuate throughout the semester. They do not offer an estimate for how long this may take.

However, I do not mean to paint CAPS in a negative light. CAPS is an invaluable resource on campus that has already helped so many and made Michigan a better place. I also commend Michigan's push towards destigmatizing mental health. The effects of these campaigns have proved increasingly successful as more and more students feel comfortable using  CAPS as a resource. But with the increase in demand among students, CAPS needs to adapt to provide the best quality care for all students.

When Shub Argha first decided he wanted to run for CSG president, mental health was one of the policies he kept coming back to, and one of his main motivators for running in the election. To Shub, CAPS is already a good resource, but there is always room for improvement.  Through further research and dialogue, both with his team and CAPS itself, Shub has developed policies that will amplify and expand the good that CAPS does for University of Michigan students.

First, Shub will continue advocating for and implementing a CAPS location on North Campus with professional counselors and psychologists. The current North Campus Wellness Zone was a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to make mental health resources equally available to the students on North Campus. To implement this program, Shub will work with the Engineering Student Government to ensure this site will best suite the needs of the students on North.

Second, Shub will create an online platform through which students may be onboarded with CAPS in an effort to make scheduling appointments quicker and easier. Security and privacy is of the utmost importance, and these elements will be retained through the online system. But, by allowing students to schedule appointment online, more students will have access to CAPS, as not all students may have the time or may be too intimidated to physically go to the CAPS building  to schedule an appointment.

Shub also recognizes that academic pressure can exacerbate mental health issues, and thus wants to introduce a resolution that would limit the number of exams a student can have in a day. Currently, if a student has four exams in one day, they may petition to rearrange one of the exams. Shub wants to reduce this to a maximum of two exams per day, ensure that school is not a detriment to the overall health of the student.

CAPS has made strides in making the University of Michigan a supportive and welcoming community, unafraid of discussing and dealing with mental health concerns. CAPS has developed a system that has worked for many student, and Shub will make sure it continues to work for all students. As CSG president, Shub will continue working with CAPS and fellow students to ensure every student is not only a leader, but also the best they can be. More information on the rest of Shub’s policies can be found at shub4csg.com