Mental Health Tools

As your Merrill advisors, we know that many of you are dealing with mental health challenges, including anxiety and depression. If you can relate to this, you are NOT ALONE. For most people, taking care of mental health is not a one-day journey, but rather a series of many small steps. We encourage you to take the first step today! Here are some of the ways you can do that.

    Free Online Resources

  • TAO and OPM

    Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) and One Perfect Meditation (OPM)* are two free, anonymous online tools for the UCSC community. The Merrill Peer Advisors tried these tools and wrote about their experiences. We’ll let their words speak for themselves:

    "With the stress of college coupled with the stress of a global pandemic, it is important to prioritize your mental health. One Perfect Meditation is a great resource to use to help take care of your mental wellbeing and it is free to UCSC students. It offers a variety of meditation activities on a range of topics. These include, but are not limited to: changing your mood, managing stress, and helping regulate your sleep cycle. I found this app really helped me manage my stress during midterms and it has been really nice to set aside intentional time to focus on my mental health. I recommend trying out this app and setting aside time to take care of yourself -- even a quick 5 minute meditation can have an incredibly positive impact on your day."

    "These apps couldn’t have come at a better time than now! I feel so centered, so together, I feel at peace now. When I first tried the TAO app, it was kinda confusing to navigate. The app had a few glitches so I switched to my laptop and I liked the check-in quiz questions to gauge your mood. After taking the quiz it does get confusing so you have to play around with it to understand, but I think the overall message and idea behind the app is amazing. I also love the One Perfect Meditation app. It’s so soothing and helps you become more present which is definitely something I needed. I am honestly going to keep these apps because I love the easy access to mental help and de-stressing. I think every student will love these apps, and I feel like more students need to know more about them! It’s so beneficial and it’s like you’ll feel like you’ve been missing out on something after you complete just ONE SESSION! These apps are perfectly splendid! They provide easy access to mental help and are geared towards students who are anxious, stressed, and uneasy about multiple things in life on top of school!"

    "TAO and One Perfect Meditation are user-friendly websites, free to UCSC students, that are committed to providing support and reducing mental health disparities. I engaged with the "Observing Thoughts Exercise" as well as the "Deep Breathing" videos, provided by TAO. I enjoyed both of these mindfulness sessions as they reminded me of my monkey mind and recentered my thinking. As for One Perfect Meditation, I engaged with the "Obliterate Anxiety" which was a guided meditation and allowed for personal, recorded insights. I appreciate the option for recorded insights as it allows you to not only participate in the meditation session, but also to listen to other participants’ recorded insights, if you want to. I find that when in stressful and overwhelming situations, such as around exam times, it is difficult for me to recenter my mind on my own. Mindfulness exercises, such as the ones provided by TAO and One Perfect Meditation, are useful tools to regain a sense of agency over your own mind and body."

    "The app that I decided to try was One Perfect Meditation, as it’s available to Iphone users like myself. Most of the meditation apps that I have used give you the option to choose any video without limitations, but I actually liked OPM’s style as it’s basically a guide, and different meditations get unlocked one at a time. The application wants to help you through the process of meditation according to your needs. I think both styles of app can be helpful. I think that OPM’s style would help people that are new to meditation follow a specific path, versus other apps that allow you to play around or see if there are other meditations that suit you. The process of having a path with steps could be better for students who feel indecisive or don’t know where to start, so overall, I would say the app is pretty strong and straightforward."

    "One Perfect Meditation is the perfect app to help those who want to start getting into meditating but don’t know where to start. There are endless guided meditations in different categories, my favorite being the Sleep ones. What I liked the most about the app, is the ability to record “insights” at the end of a meditation session. This is a time to clear up whatever is on your mind or to record whatever revelation you may have had while in such a deep state of focus. With the insights you can set them to private or make them public for others to hear it. I enjoyed browsing through public insights because of how short and inspiring they are. There are insights recorded by spiritual guides, motivational speakers, and just ordinary folk. Because this app is free through the school, you’re able to receive all the premium features, and they are all worth it."


    *At this time, OPM is only available on iOS, but they are hoping to expand to Android.

  • Workshops and Drop-In

  • CAPS Events

    The UCSC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office has a calendar of events that we would encourage you to check out. These workshops, events, and drop-in counseling options vary each week and each quarter. Some are open to all students, while others are meant specifically for students of certain identities or those dealing with particular challenges. Pick one and try it out!

  • Counseling Appointments

  • Meet with a CAPS Therapist

    The opportunity to meet with a licensed counselor through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is open and free to all UCSC students. To schedule an appointment, call CAPS at (831) 459-2628. Appointments are generally held between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, but you are welcome to call after-hours if you have an urgent concern.