Services for Students

Drop-In/Crisis Screening

At CAPS, we offer tailored services to honor the unique needs of each student. As an enrolled MSU student registered for one or more credits, you are eligible for our services. In Fall Semester 2018, CAPS implemented a new screening process to enhance the student experience.

Best way to get started?

Just drop-in to the CAPS main location and check-in at the reception desk. We are located on the 3rd floor of Olin Health Center (463 E Circle Drive).

CAPS is closed University Holidays.


Same-Day Non-Crisis Screening Hours

  • Monday - Thursday: 10 am to 4:30 pm
  • Friday: 10 am to 3:30 pm

Students who are in crisis or extreme distress are given first priority and may drop-in during open business hours as listed below. Mornings are generally less busy.

Crisis Screening Hours

  • Monday – Thursday: 8 am to 6 pm
  • Friday:  8 am to 5 pm

Business Hours

  • Monday - Thursday: 8 am to 6 pm
  • Friday: 8 am to 5 pm

Upon arrival, you will be asked to complete a brief paper screening form. Based on your answers and preferences, you will be offered a tailored screening appointment with the most appropriate available clinician.

Types of Screening Appointments:

  • Screening for urgent/crisis needs
  • Screening for counseling and/or medication at CAPS
    • Students receiving screening for urgent/crisis needs OR for counseling and/or medication at CAPS will be asked to complete additional tailored forms to better understand you, your concerns, and preferences. Then the most appropriate available clinician will meet with you for about 30 minutes (with some flexibility, as needed, for urgent/crisis needs). During this collaborative dialogue, your clinician will gather pertinent information to assist in making the most appropriate clinical recommendation to best address your needs. This may include:
      • a referral for medication (students who already have a referral from their home psychiatrist, counselor or primary care provider, (go here)
      • a referral to off-campus and/or university services, or
      • ongoing counseling (e.g., individual, relationship/couple, and/or group) at CAPS or in the community.
  • Consultation (e.g., assistance with helping others; getting help through a one-time conversation if ongoing services are not desired). Students who receive consultation are not asked to complete any additional forms.
  • Assistance with referrals and connecting students with other resources, such as the MSU Center for Survivors, Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), Safe Place (domestic violence shelter and services), and Student Health Services (primary care/general medical services).
    • For students requesting consultation, referral services, and/or assistance in getting connected with other resources, a brief conversation with a clinician may be the most appropriate next step. Often, consultations do not require students to complete any additional forms and are designed to assist students quickly who are not interested in ongoing clinical services.

We hope that our new screening process accomplishes many goals, including:

  • Enhancing the student experience, including prioritizing safety, quality, and continuity of care.
  • Offering tailored services for every unique student through a streamlined and consistent process.
  • Assessing the unique needs of each student, and offering the most appropriate type of screening service with tailored screening tools and processes.
  • Matching students with the most appropriate clinician at CAPS at the time of the screening appointment based upon client preference, and the clinical expertise of the various staff.
  • Connecting students with the most appropriate clinician at CAPS as soon as possible, based on student preferences and clinical needs.
  • Providing a clinical recommendation following screening within one to two business days and, whenever possible, during the actual screening appointment.
  • Enhancing continuity of care (e.g., ensuring that, whenever possible, students receive services, referral notifications, and ongoing planning from the same clinician, as frequently as possible.
  • Same-day access for any issue or concern, including urgent needs.

CAPS, as part of Michigan State University, is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services, and activities. Accommodations needed to use our services may be requested by calling 517.355.8270.

Individual & Relationship/Couple’s Counseling

Individual Counseling

One-on-one counseling services are offered to help students address concerns in a number of areas including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, stress management, family or other relationships, career decision-making, cultural identity, lesbian/bi/gay/transgender issues, interpersonal concerns, sexual assault, and relationship/couples issues. Any student registered for one or more credits is eligible for an initial consultation. As resources permit, additional services and/or referrals may be provided.

Relationship/Couple's Counseling

A relationship system is a group of two or more people who are in an ongoing relationship.  Relationship counseling is designed to assist students with their relationship problems, and is an expansion of what was previously referred to as "couples therapy". It can be used to gain more insight into each other and to learn new and more effective ways of communicating. Any type of relationship system can seek counseling services at CAPS, including married, partnered, single, consensual non-monogamous/polyamorous, LGBTQ+, roommates and/or housemates. In order to receive relationship counseling, one member of the relationship system must be currently registered as a Michigan State University student.

Relationship counseling that is focused on intimate relationships will give you the opportunity to examine and improve your relationship with your spouse or partner(s) in a non-threatening and compassionate environment. We are not only committed to your personal well-being, but we also want to help you make your intimate relationship(s) work.

Counseling services are generally available by appointment. Call CAPS regarding relationship counseling services at 517.355.8270.

What should I do until I speak to a counselor? Find out here! 

Group Counseling

Counseling Services offers a variety of counseling, support, and educational groups each semester. Participants in groups benefit from the mutual support and learning that occurs from interaction with others who have similar concerns. Unless otherwise noted, all groups will require a pre-group screening. For more information about our groups or to schedule your pre-group interview, please call 517.355.8270 or visit the Group Counseling page. 

Psychiatry Services

Primary care and psychiatry work together to provide medical services for a wide range of mental health concerns including mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, alcohol/substance abuse, and psychosis. These services include evaluation and treatment, including the prescribing of medication, ordering of labs, and referral to other professionals such as counselors, dieticians, other medical specialists, or more intensive programs.

To access these services students first fill out background paperwork at CAPS, then meet with a CAPS counselor. The counselor will help determine if medical services are indicated and what specialty of medical provider is best for the student to start with. For example, a student presenting with a first episode of depression may be assigned to work with a primary care provider. A student with a more complex or chronic illness may start with a psychiatric provider. Over time, a student’s medical services may transition from psychiatry to primary care as they regain stability or from primary care to psychiatry when specialty care is indicated.

Referral and past treatment information from off-campus providers are greatly appreciated and can be faxed to Olin Medical Records at 517.353.5582

The first three Psychiatry appointments are prepaid by the University for enrolled MSU students. This does not apply to MSU Law or Lifelong Ed students. After the three covered visits, charges are billed to insurance. Any remaining balance is billed to the student. Please check with your insurance company to confirm your mental health coverage. We do not want any student to go without service because of concerns about cost. If this is a concern, an appointment with a social worker can be made to discuss solutions.

To speak with a Psychiatry Clinic staff member, please call 517.355.8270.

24-hour notice is requested for all cancellations. Following the initial consultation, there is a fee if an appointment is missed without advance notification. To cancel, please call 517.355.8270.


Intensive Clinical Services Unit (ICSU)

Intensive Clinical Services Unit (ICSU) exists due to a commitment from the University and Counseling & Psychiatric Services administration to support the provision of intensive clinical services to students in need of a higher level of care than traditional outpatient therapy or psychiatric services. Many MSU students have difficulty with severe and persistent mental illness(es), multiple needs for additional resources, chronic suicidal, homicidal, or self-harm risk factors; and/or multiple diagnoses that may cause significant impairment in academic and relationship functioning. We offer higher frequency and variety of integrated mental health services through DBT-informed and multicultural treatment; the collaborative team environment allows your providers to coordinate your care efficiently and support you in achieving your goals. CAPS is dedicated to students and student success at MSU. 

The ICSU offers individualized short-term mental health treatment services, lasting approximately 8 to 16 weeks, and is designed to assist students in coordinating ongoing treatment at program completion. The ICSU team members work with students and providers to minimize disruption in any current treatment. Find out more here.

Psychological Testing 

MSU CAPS offers a limited number of reduced cost testing and assessment services to eligible students with learning, attention or other concerns that may be impacting academic performance. We also commonly provide resources/referrals to students for local area providers who can provide similar services. Please call 517.355.8270 or come to CAPS (3rd floor of Olin Health Center) for a drop-in screening.

Substance Use

CAPS staff are available to identify problems relating to students’ use of alcohol or other drugs. Individualized assessment, counseling, and referrals are available by calling 517.355.8270For further information, please refer to the MSU Health Promotion AOD Program website or call 517.884.6598. For students in recovery, please visit the MSU Collegiate Recovery Community website.


The college years are a time when many students begin to sort out their values and figure out who they are. It is not uncommon for students to question their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and explore how to integrate these with the rest of their life. Wondering if CAPS is for you? Our LBGT page may be helpful, and the MSU LBGT Resource Center is also a helpful resource for students.


CAPS Online Self-Assessments