By Phoebe Doscher, News Editor
The Office of Counseling Services at Gettysburg College has cancelled all therapy appointments for the remainder of the semester in compliance with the College’s transition to remote learning. The Office will continue to offer students with mental support despite the inability to move to remote sessions or teletherapy “given ethical and legal restrictions on practice,” according to an email from Director of Counseling Services Kathy Bradley.
The Counseling Office curated a list of mental health tips to deal with the emotional response to the COVID-19 pandemic and separation from friends and the Gettysburg College community. Here are five key takeaways:
1.Limit exposure to COVID-19 misinformation and regulate overload.
Counseling Services recommends considering limiting the consumption of COVID-19-related news if you are feeling overwhelmed. Try checking in once a day; use reliable sources like state and local government sites, the World Health Organization, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay up to date. Read The Gettysburgian and the college website for the latest on Gettysburg College’s COVID-19 response.
2. Take care of your mind and body.
Use this time to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and healthy food habits with regular, nutritious meals and limited alcohol and caffeine intake, Counseling Services suggests. Get some exercise as well and try to spend time outside to reap the health benefits of nature. Counseling advises practicing deep breathing, taking up an emotionally-relieving activity like knitting or playing an instrument, or keeping a journal to document your experiences and lift your spirits with positive reflection.
3. Connect with others while remaining socially distant.
Keep in touch with friends during this time by sending texts, letters, or making a call. Offer support towards friends and do kind things for others.
4. Maintain a schedule
Keep a consistent routine similar to your schedule at school to return to a sense of normalcy. Plan out time for meals, relaxation, and course work. Counseling Services advises this practice as a way to help feel a sense of control and contain emotions.
5. Consider utilizing Counseling Services’ educational resources or mental health apps.
Applications with relaxing music and sounds; breathing, meditation, and yoga; and trackers to monitor mental health are available for free and for pay to help you decompress and self-regulate. Counseling Services recommends this link to find apps; their website also provides resources for mental health-related education.
Counseling Services emphasizes the College’s commitment to students’ continual growth, academic endeavors and campus connections. The Counseling Office offers to either provide ongoing appointments for students remaining on campus or support in finding a local therapist or psychiatrist. They will also provide brief consultations either via the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant version of Zoom or non-HIPAA-compliant phone calls, which cannot be assured are confidential. Students experiencing a mental health crisis are encouraged to go to their local hospital emergency department, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or message the crisis text line at 741741.