Health & Wellness

I received accommodations and/or special education services in high school. How can I continue getting related support at Northwestern?

To be considered for reasonable accommodations and services, you'll need to register with AccessibleNU (ANU). We recommend that you initiate the registration process before starting classes to help ensure a smooth transition to college and in case ANU needs more information from your doctor, therapist, evaluator, and/or school to be of assistance. Even if you don't want to request accommodations initially, registering early puts us in a better position to assist in case you become concerned that you are not demonstrating your knowledge in one or more of your classes.

I'm wondering if I have attention-deficit disorder or a learning disability. How could I find out?

It's important to find an experienced evaluator, which may include neuropsychologists, clinical/school psychologists, psychoeducational or learning specialists, and psychiatrists. A thorough evaluation for learning and attention concerns typically takes at least 6 hours (see our documentation guidelines for learning disabilities and for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, for example), sometimes spaced over multiple days, during which you would be interviewed about your academic and related history and administered a variety of tests. A detailed report should be provided to you afterward. Because of how involved the evaluation process is, you should be prepared for the fact that it may take a few months to schedule an evaluation as well as a few months after you're tested to receive your report (although some evaluators can provide you with a test score summary to help AccessibleNU make initial determinations about reasonable accommodations). If you email AccessibleNU, we can provide you with recommendations for reputable, reasonably priced (sometimes even free) evaluators. You can also ask for recommendations through your health insurance provider.

I've heard it can be expensive to get evaluated for a learning or attention problem. Is that true?

Many students are unfortunately deterred from being evaluated for these conditions since evaluations tend to be expensive. Thorough testing also requires at least a full day's worth of time. However, AccessibleNU (ANU) works with reputable local evaluators, including one on-site evaluation resource (the Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning) to establish discounts for NU students, especially if you have Northwestern's student health insurance. In addition, ANU can work with Student Financial Services to try to procure additional grant aid to cover any costs that would be incurred if you choose to be evaluated. 

I'm concerned there will be costs associated with getting documentation from my provider to see if I'm eligible to register with AccessibleNU.

If you have a medical condition, it's possible you can procure documentation from Health Service, who can, in turn, fill out AccessibleNU's Medical Disability Verification Form on your behalf. If you have a psychological condition and are connected with Counseling and Psychological Services, the Women's Center, the Family Institute, a therapist there may be able to fill out AccessibleNU's Diagnosed Psychological Conditions Verification Form on your behalf. Most private mental health and medical providers will also fill out these forms at no cost. If you are having difficulty procuring documentation of your condition, please contact AccessibleNU, and we'll work with you, Student Assistance & Support Services, Student Financial Services, and other campus partners to try to assist.

What Services does Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provide?

CAPS offers a variety of services including counseling, consultation, and developmental programming/outreach. You can through our website for more information or please feel free to contact the CAPS office at (847) 491-2151.

How much does CAPS cost?

There is no charge for CAPS services.

Will my parents, faculty, and/or others be informed that I am going to CAPS?

No. Unless you have signed a written release of information for CAPS.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

Both a psychiatrist and psychologist work in the mental health field. A psychiatrist possesses a Medical Degree (MD) and can prescribe medication, whereas a psychologist earned a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology and provides talk therapy. At CAPS psychologists and psychiatrists work collaboratively to provide mental health treatment for NU students as part of a treatment team.

How do I know whether I should utilize CAPS services?

While just about anyone could benefit from taking the time to reflect on his or her life to gain insight or to increase self-awareness, there are many people for whom participating in therapy or other CAPS services would improve their quality of life. We recommend that a student contact CAPS if your distress in life has recently increased or if your overall life satisfaction is not where you want it to be.

I’d like to learn how to manage my alcohol or drug use better. How can I do that?

Health Promotion and Wellness offers BASICS, an opportunity to explore your substance use in a non-judgmental, confidential atmosphere with a trained facilitator. It consists of two, 50-minute sessions and is designed for students who drink and are at risk for or have experienced negative consequences as a result of their own drinking (e.g., injuries, blackouts, poor academic performance, legal problems).

The goal of BASICS is to reduce negative consequences of drinking by helping students make better alcohol-use decisions. To schedule a confidential and free BASICS session, contact HPaW at 847.491.2146 or HPaW also offers free online assessments for alcohol and marijuana called eCheckUp to Go. These free and anonymous assessments provide you with brief, personalized feedback on your use in under 15 minutes. Students are always welcome to schedule a BASICS appointment if they have a concern about their results.

I had to deal with a really drunk friend the other night and I wasn’t really sure how to help them. Is there a place I can learn what to do?

Yes, there is. Red Watch Band bystander intervention training offers the knowledge and skills necessary to help an intoxicated friend. You’ll learn how to differentiate between someone who is severely intoxicated and in need of medical care and someone who is heavily intoxicated but can be helped by a friend. It’s free and only two hours long! 25+ trainings are scheduled throughout the academic year though advance registration is required through the Red Watch Band web page.

I’m in a student group that has a pretty unhealthy culture when it comes to alcohol/marijuana. I want to be active in the group, but this is getting in the way. Is there anyone who can help us sort through that?

Health Promotion and Wellness offers a program called Drinking/Drugging Culture Close-Up which can help your group safely identify and discuss positive and negative perspectives, attitudes, and impacts of drinking or other drug use. The focus is on promoting peer conversation about whether – and if so, how – to make adjustments in your group’s culture for the benefit of all. 

A friend told me they were sexually assaulted last weekend. How can I help?

CARE can serve as a confidential resource for both you and your friend. If your friend would like to come talk to us, they can set up an appointment with an advocate online at the CARE website. An advocate can talk with your friend about their options for reporting and self-care. For you, it is important you let your friend guide the process and decide whether or not they want to report, what they want to talk about, and how they are feeling. It is important to remember to emphasize that you believe them and that, if they are interested, they have options for referrals and reporting. 

I want to get involved in promoting a culture of healthy sexuality on campus. How do I get involved?

We would love to have you join us! There are a number of ways to be involved in CARE’s work. Most student involvement is through three student groups that CARE advises: 

Where can I get free condoms and safer sex supplies?

CARE has condoms, lube, and dental dams available outside our offices on the third floor of Searle. SHAPE also makes available safer sex six packs that include four types of condoms, lube, a mint, and safer sex information. These can be found in CARE, the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, Multicultural Student Affairs, and at SHAPE programming and events.