The CAPS mission statement outlines a Commitment to Diversity. Specifically, it states that we strive to identify and meet the needs of a diverse student population. What that really means is that, while we are aware that UNL is a predominantly white campus, we recognize that under-represented students and international students have specific needs that must be filled so that they can be successful. The success of every student is our goal and to meet that goal we attend to racial/ethnic, gender, sexual orientation/identity, religious, and socio-economic differences. We are aware of transition issues. We are aware of cultural biases. We are also aware of racial identity issues. And more than being aware of all these issues, we seek to provide students with services that will allow them to seek the success that every student deserves.
At CAPS we seek to think "outside the box" to provide therapy and outreach opportunities for our diverse UNL students. In fact, CAPS staff members provide satellite services through the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center and TRIO Programs office. Students are given the opportunity to visit with staff in a less clinical setting and receive information/assessment that will ensure that proper treatment is attained. This opportunity seeks to fight against the cultural stigma and fear that prevents many students of color from seeking mental health services in a medical setting. Moreover, CAPS staff members consult and plan programming with other university staff in these offices to ensure that we meet the diverse needs of our students.
It is important to note that CAPS has sought to hire staff members that represent a wide range of backgrounds and mental health interests. With that in mind, we have clinicians who research and provide instruction on diversity issues. This is quite important, as not only do we provide mental health services to UNL students, but we also serve as a training facility for mental health graduate students. Our interns and field placement students have the opportunity to learn about treating diverse clients and to participate in outreach to diverse populations. These experiences prepare the students to be culturally competent professionals of whom we can be proud to say practiced at CAPS.
CAPS also gives thought to the ongoing training of our staff. To ensure that our focus on diversity remains fresh and updated, our staff participates in cultural competency training. Whereas the training is often focused on the needs of the clinical staff of CAPS, we often provide training to other University Health Center staff as well. The focus of our training is typically on issues that are salient to students and to the Lincoln community. We believe that on-going training allows us to maintain good practice, as we seek to learn about ourselves and others.
In essence, CAPS seeks to be a safe place for students of color. Thought has been given to the type of issues that multicultural students might face at UNL. Thought has also been given to the type of outreach that is needed on our campus. Finally, CAPS has sought to provide adequate cultural competency training to trainees. CAPS seeks to consider the needs of all students.
For more information regarding diversity initiatives at CAPS please contact:
Belinda Hinojos, Ph.D.