Basketball’s Wilkins Spurs Mental Health Discussion

Late last week, ESPN took a story close to the hearts of Hoos and went public with it. Isaiah Wilkins, UVa Men’s Basketball Player #21, discussed his struggles with anxiety and depression as a student athlete. Wilkins was quoted saying: “I know [mental illness] is such a tough subject to speak on…but if I speak out and somebody sees my story, they can maybe do something with it.”

In the aftermath of the many articles explaining Wilkins’ struggles and commending the student athlete for his honesty, many may be looking to do, as he says, “something.”

When faced with mental illness during college, it may be difficult simply determining how to best seek help. CAPS Clinical Care Managers are lesser-known liaisons who can assist UVa students every step of the way.

CAPS, or Counseling and Psychological Services, is a department of the Elson Student Health Center at UVa. Very recently, Professional Counselor Karen Painter and Clinical Social Worker Sarah Cooper took on the added position of Clinical Care Manager. A Clinical Care Manager is a sort of coordinator who works with students to ensure they receive necessary treatment whether it be through therapy, group sessions, outside references or just talking to someone. The goal of the CCM is to make the discussion and action of seeking treatment for mental illness easier for fellow Hoos.

Many barriers, whether mental or physical, lie between students and proper care. Care Managers also aim to eliminate as many of these obstacles as possible.

If a student hesitates to seek help for financial issues, has trouble commuting to appointments, or fears the stigma surrounding mental health, Managers work with the student on an individual basis.

CCMs assist students with making phone calls, scheduling meetings, understanding health insurance benefits and even learning how to argue for what care is needed and deserved.

Isaiah Wilkins hopes he can motivate students to seek help, and Clinical Care Managers are there to make that search simple.

UVa’s Counseling and Psychological Services can be reached at (434) 924-5362. 


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