CAPS Says Note Your Secret

Alexandria Smith, Web Master

The Counseling and Psychological Services Center (CAPS) is offering a way for community members to relieve their secrets with the NOTE-A-SECRET event.

Very similar to the popular com- munity art project called PostSe- cret “where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.”

According to the website NOTE- A-SECRET also involves the sharing of secrets on blank cards that can be found around campus along with boxes to put them in.

However, instead of placing the secrets online as PostSecret requires, the on-campus event will be an exhibit of the anony- mous secrets which, depending on submissions, will be sorted by category.

According to the targeted announcement on e-MU, this kind of display is intended to promote “healing, acceptance, freedom and connection” through the sharing of experiences that may disconnect a person from their family, friends, or peers.

Courtney Burgess-Michak, MS, LPC, who has been responsible for other CAPS Center events, feels that an exhibit may be what certain community members need to “let go” of whatever shame they may be feeling.

“The purpose of the exhibit is to have all of these secrets displayed so that people who might be sitting in shame in their dorm rooms, or their houses if they’re commuters, can sort of come to the exhibit and say, ‘Hey, I’m not alone. I’m connected. There are all these people who have the same secret as me, or secrets like me.’ That’s where we can make that conversion happen between shame and ‘Okay, I’m connected. I’m not alone in this,’” Burgess- Michak said.

She felt that it was important for CAPS Day 2014 to focus on some element of mental health as opposed to just health or wellness as in years past. This may have to do with the prevalence of serious mental health issues among college students.

Burgess-Michak said CAPS wanted to find a way for people to eliminate shame from their lives.

“So our students aren’t walking around in that mode and maybe, by doing that, this would lead to better functioning, better health, you know, just that process of letting go so that they could move forward and do what they needed to do,” said Burgess-Michak

Though the event is focused on the physical, mental and emotional health of its anonymous submitters, it is also a way to promote counseling services that

the CAPS Center offers, according to Dr. Cindy March.

“Each year, we plan for CAPS Day, you know, our annual open house that we do, and we always try to think of a particular bent or theme or something like that we can focus on. So, each year we try to think of something that might, first of all, capture people’s attention because we definitely want people to come in and see our Open House.”

March said the Open Houses always seem to be eye-opening to people who have never visited before.

“For our Open Houses, we get people who have never set foot in here and they’re like, ‘It’s so nice in here. I didn’t realize how nice it is,’ and this is why we do it. To show that it’s not a scary place, that it’s a nice place to come in,” she said.

March said that the anonymous NOTE-A-SECRET event isn’t scary, either.

“What we’re hoping is people realize that we’re honoring the human spirit in a very reverent kind of respectful way.” said March

CAPS Day 2014 will be held April 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the CAPS Center. The display is open to the public and refreshments will be provided.

smitha1[email protected]