Dear Duke Families,
It is a pleasure to meet you! I am the new director for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), a unit on campus that supports your student on a path toward academic success. I am excited to be here given the commitment Duke has made to student wellness. Many institutions across the country are working to address mental health issues based on the fact that mental health is the number one factor in lowering retention and is a better predictor of college grade point average than ACT or SAT scores. The 97% four-year retention rate to graduation at Duke demonstrates that retention is not a significant issue on this campus; highlighting that Duke’s focus is supporting mental health services because student wellness is valued.
In January 2017, CAPS will be co-located with all of our health and wellness units, which will enhance the delivery of mental health, physical health, and wellness services in a collaborative model. My vision for the comprehensive delivery of mental health services is based on a “No wrong door” policy, believing that all faculty, staff, students, and families at Duke have the opportunity to impact the development of student lifelong wellness habits and change the trajectory of students’ lives. We will work in partnership to move beyond the walls of CAPS to engage the entire campus community in how to recognize, respond, and refer students in distress to appropriate resources and engage in strategic learning initiatives on campus that promote wellness. From a social justice perspective we will involve the community in conversations about racism and prejudice, climate issues that negatively impact mental health, and factors that deter academic success.
We hope that you will partner with us to encourage your student to seek out our services when needed. Each year CAPS serves a significant portion of the student body for issues such as anxiety/stress, depression, and relationship concerns.
Danielle R. Oakley, PhD
Director, Counseling and Psychological Services