CAPS team gets grant

Published 10:31 am Saturday, December 10, 2022

The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office at Longwood has been awarded a grant totaling $135,625 through the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) in partnership with the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF). Longwood is one of only six universities in the Commonwealth to receive this grant.

The Higher Education Mental Health Workforce Pilot grant covers the salary and benefits of a future Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) candidate for two years. Longwood University will host the candidate onsite for the entirety of the two-year period to assist and gain clinical experience within CAPS.

According to Dr. Maureen Walls-McKay, the Dean of Wellness and Director of CAPS, the grant has two purposes–to further support college students through mental health counseling, and to ensure that master’s level pre-licensees can focus on acquiring hours needed for licensure.

“It’s a logical next step for CAPS to have this resident in counseling because we intentionally invest in our counselors-in-training and give them a great experience here,” Walls-McKay stated. “This added position will allow the senior clinicians to get out on campus more, to have increased visibility, to do additional preventive work with the campus community and to further cultivate a culture of well-being here at Longwood,”

Walls-McKay added that she is excited to be part of helping a newly-graduated master’s level professional gain supervised hours needed for licensure. She hopes that the professional hired under this grant will join the CAPS team and be in place for the spring semester starting in January.

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Cameron Patterson noted that the award from SCHEV dovetails with Longwood’s three-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention program that supports having a trauma specialist on staff, as well as key student resources like the WellTrack app.

“This is the latest example of the CAPS team’s commitment to supporting the needs of Longwood students,” Patterson said. “It’s hard work to go after external funding, but it provides such huge benefits for our students.”

“The General Assembly’s creation of the Higher Education Mental Health Workforce Pilot is an important and creative approach to resolving the shortage of licensed mental-health therapists,” said VHCF Director Debbie Oswalt.