Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > "This institution is not good for mental health:" Queer Students Understanding UNC’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) as an Authoritarian Structure

This paper explores the ways that nine (ten, including the researcher) queer-identified UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate students characterize their relationships to university-provided mental health resources, known as CAPS. I analyzed data from these nine interviews and conclude that the way interviewees speak about their experiences reveals their perceptions of CAPS as an authoritarian structure, and as largely ill-equipped to respond to queer students’ mental health needs. I begin with a brief review of existing literature, followed by descriptions of how students understood the concept of “mental health,” which is at odds with their experiences at CAPS and their meanings, which are laid out in the next section. I end with preliminary recommendations for the improvement of CAPS as a mental health resource for queer students, which include, but are not limited to: further research about the relationship between CAPS and queer students, increased transparency about what queer competent or queer specific services CAPS is able to provide, educational and cultural sensitivity training for CAPS providers regarding queer student experiences and appropriate language, and increased accommodation of queer and mentally ill students in the university at large.