Updated: Nov 24, 2020
With of the end of the semester approaching, the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election, one can find themselves experiencing increasing mental deficits. The cumulation of stressors that are occurring can cause any college student to find themselves lost in the mix, but Salisbury University is still here to provide a variety of mental health services.
The biggest question surrounding the mental health services on campus is the execution of therapy sessions; with the occurrence of COVID-19 and social distancing standards in place, face-to-face therapy sessions seem improbable. However, the counselors at Salisbury University's Student Counseling Services have implemented a multitude of new services to help navigate students through this unknown terrain.
Training Coordinator and Counselor within the University Student Counseling Services Dawn Harner discussed the changes within the organization: “We are using telehealth services for our therapy sessions, in which the student has the option to do the sessions by phone call or Zoom video conferencing.”
Due to COVID-19, the regular sessions of group therapy are not accessible; however, the Counseling Center has formulated a variety of group sessions. These weekly sessions range from support groups such as Coping with COVID to the Resiliency Group.
Through participation within the Resiliency Group, you have the ability to participate in support groups that implement meditation practices that are aimed to improve mood, decrease anxiety, enhance focus and give a variety of mental and physical benefits.
These Zoom programs consist of six hour-long weekly group sessions starting with the Serenity Group on Mondays at 1 p.m. and the Resiliency Group, which is targeted to support people of color, occurring on Tuesdays at 10 a.m.
On Wednesdays at 11 a.m., mindfulness meditation practices hold sessions of Consciousness Group, Thursdays at 2 p.m. consist of a Compassion Group and end your week through group sessions of the Calm Group on Fridays at 2 p.m.
The Counseling Center has additionally implemented Therapy Assistance Online which provides personalized online mobile tools to conquer struggles ranging from general stressors resulting from anxiety to addiction assistance.
“This online tool can be self-help guided or alongside therapy to provide additional ways to complement the therapy sessions that they (students) are doing with a counselor. There is a lot of online tools within TAO, and students can register using their Salisbury email address through the link on our homepage,” Harner boasted regarding the new-age system.
If you are one of the many students who does not want to incorporate therapy sessions within their lives, TAO provides an outlet for implementing mental health provisions within your daily life and on your own terms.
Another new addition to the multitude of services provided by the counseling center, is the staff addition of a psychiatrist, Dr. Sonia Tyutyulkova. In addition to working at the Johns Hopkins University counseling center, Tyutyulkova has the ability to provide students with psychiatric therapy sessions, a service that is new to Salisbury University.
If you are seeking additional mental health services, the Student Affairs Center has partnered with Atlantic Physiological Practice. With supplementation of a student’s insurance, the Student Affairs Center will pay up to $50 a month in co-pay charges if students wish to participate in more long-term treatment.
If you would like to participate in sessions of this nature, but do not want to go on the traditional route of therapy sessions, the Mindfulness Club is the route for you.
Caitlyn Edman and the Salisbury University volleyball team formed the Mindfulness Club to promote mindfulness through management strategies for decreasing stress or anxiety through everyday tasks, implementing techniques such as mediation and yoga.
“I can’t even describe how helpful it has been for me in my life, especially with quarantine, meditating and doing deep the breathing almost every day has helped so much with handling stress,” Edman commented on the club’s attributes.
The Mindfulness Club meets every other week on Zoom and participates in a variety of resilience-building activities aiming to reframe a student’s point of view, and how one comprehends daily life situations. The club aims to promote a positive mindset to be applicable in any life situation, ultimately leading to the accomplishment of self-growth, mentally and physically.
“It helps with being aware of your emotions and your physical feelings … it’s one of the ways you can be kind to yourself and to your body through giving yourself a chance to breathe and focus on yourself because we all can get so caught up in life,” Edman stated.
Our educational, social and political environment is full of uncertainty and multitudes of stressors. Although we can get lost in the mix, it is more important than ever to keep up with your mental health.
Taking as little as five minutes out of your day to implement activities such as meditation, breathing exercises, going for a walk or journaling can have the ability to keep you in touch with your mental and physical emotional state.
“This is a unique time with so many unexpected stresses affecting people’s employment and finances, combined with the incidents of violence that have occurred and disparities of racial injustice related to COVID-19 … you might not know what’s going on in someone else’s life and how things are affecting them, so just be empathetic and compassionate to everyone,” Harner stated.
It is more important now than ever to exercise compassion and empathy toward yourself and toward members of your surrounding community. We must unify as an entity and work together to strive for equity and justice throughout all factions of our society.
We as individuals must work on our own mental affinities and strengthen ourselves as individuals to have the ability to codify a stand against the systemic injustices occurring throughout our country and our world. Take care of yourself so you’ll be able to better take care of others.
The Counseling Center staff wants the student body to know that they are looking for student feedback and want to hear individuals’ thoughts and ideas regarding the mental health services throughout campus. For more information on how to utilize the mental health services on campus, or to give feedback on the Counseling Center, email email@example.com or call (410)-543-6070.
To become a member of the Mindfulness Club, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
By STEPHANIE RIVERA
Gull Life Editor
Photo credit: Summer Shaper.