Hannah Michelle Bussa
Students at UNO have access to services and programs that can help them find the support they need.
Katherine Keiser is a Mental Health Therapist with Counseling and Psychological Services, known as CAPS. She also serves as the Interim Associate Director of the CAPS UNMC location.
“Enrolled students have access to brief, personal counseling; relationship counseling; substance use counseling and evaluation; crisis support; support groups and referrals to psychiatry as well as other campus and community resources,” she said.
Students need to be enrolled in one or more credit hours to qualify for CAPS, and services are free and confidential. CAPS is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students needing professional crisis support after-hours can call the main number and choose ‘2’ from the menu.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to mental health services,” Keiser said. “The best place to start is to make an intake appointment by calling 402-554-2409.”
During the initial assessment, CAPS counselors help students determine their best path forward. This may include follow-up sessions with CAPS, a support group, or a referral to other resources, or all of the above.
“Life is full of transitions, and CAPS is here for students needing support,” Keiser said.
Keiser said CAPS also partners on campus with the Office of Military and Veteran Services (OMVS), the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC), the Accessibility Services Center (ASC), and other groups on campus to provide support for students.
The GSRC also houses Queer and Trans Services, known as QTS. They provide support groups, programming and resources to all students, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
The ACS is where students needing disability accommodations can access those accommodations for academic programs, student involvement and residence life.
UNO also has a Collegiate Recovery Community for students in recovery, those seeking more information about recovery and those wanting to be allies for people in recovery.
Outside of CAPS, Keiser helped start the Maverick Food Pantry in 2013, which is now run by the UNO Collaborative Office.
“The feedback we’ve received from students utilizing the pantry has been very clear: the pantry’s confidential, stigma-free service helped them meet their nutritional needs when they otherwise would have struggled,” Keiser said. “By helping to alleviate food insecurity and financial anxiety, the Maverick Food Pantry helps students maintain mental wellness and pursue their academic goals.”
Students can request a package from the Maverick Food Pantry by completing a request form online, using a UNO or UNMC email address.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs (MCA) is another resource for students. Taricka Burton is the director.
“The MCA is a hub and campus resource that serves all students, staff, and faculty utilizing a community and cultural-competency based model,” Burton said.
The MCA provides a network of support services and programs to support and advance the personal, cultural, intellectual and social development of UNO’s diverse student population. They lead diversity-related programs and initiatives.
“Throughout the year, this office also hosts cultural programming events for UNO students to attend and celebrates cultural months, including Black History Month, Latino Heritage Month, Native Heritage Month, and Diversity Month,” Burton said. “MCA offers academic support to students, too, in order to equip students with the academic skills necessary to successfully graduate from the university.”
Along with workshops on academic skills, the MCA provides a space where students can create communities and network with peers, faculty and career professionals. Burton said the MCA supports everyone from all cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities.
“This year has been a trying one for all of us,” Keiser said. “It will take some time, but recovery means prioritizing our mental health and getting help when we need it.”
Find more information and connect with the services UNO provides at unomaha.edu.