During this time of uncertainty, things are constantly changing. Something that can take its toll on anyone’s mental health being stuck in quarantine and limited social interactions. Given that this exists on top of heightened anxiety regarding a fear of contracting COVID-19, there are more ways than one that COVID-19 impacts mental health.
Returning to campus in the midst of the pandemic, Albion College Counseling Services recognizes that students might need additional support this year to stabilize their mental health.
What Counseling Services Offers
Albion College Counseling Services provides free counseling, including individual counseling as well as couples counseling and group therapy sessions, to current students on campus. Counseling Services offers multiple counselors for individuals to work with so they find the right match. if they don’t find the right match on campus. Counseling services can offer individuals referrals to therapists or counselors who might be better suited for them. They offer 24/7 emergency services and always have someone on call available to students.
Albion’s Counseling Services has the resources for psychiatric consultations, evaluation and treatment for specific disorders and mental health issues. One of the specific services Counseling Services provides is aid to students who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.
Counseling Services also offers opportunities for education. It not only has programs and workshops for campus groups but structured psycho-educational groups as well.
Adjustments to Accommodate COVID-19
Counseling Services is still open and here for individuals to use during these uncertain times. To accommodate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-5, which limits the size of gathering and groups in light of COVID-19COVID-19, Counseling Services has made some changes to how it will run this semester.
Following social distancing guidelines, Counseling Services has moved online this semester. The structure of the Counseling Services building makes it difficult for individuals to be socially distant inside.
“We have the ability to meet in person, when clinically necessary, but have to be creative outdoors or in our group room in order to minimize risk to all parties involved,” said Michelle Croce Psy.D., associate director and training director at Counseling Services.
Even though there isn’t one specific training for psychologists and therapists to undergo to combat the effects of COVID-19, every counselor at Counseling Services underwent multiple training sessions prior to the commencement of the semester in order to know how to help students with the mental impacts of COVID-19.
What Would Happen if Students Were to be Sent Home Again?
Just like last semester and over the summer, Counseling Services plans to stay open no matter how this semester ends up.
“Counseling will, indeed, stay open virtually throughout the semester,” said Croce. “We were open all last spring and over the summer and saw many students through the transition, providing ongoing counseling, brief, solution-focused therapies, and providing consultation and referral when appropriate.”
Coping with COVID
Counseling Services planned to hold an event called Coping with COVID on Thursday, Aug. 27, but due to many student conflicts, the event was postponed to Tuesday. Coping with COVID will now be held 5:30-6:30 p.m. in order to accommodate student schedules and ensure that this workshop is accessible to as many students as possible.
“We are holding weekly Coping with COVID workshops. An emotion regulation group will start next week,” said Croce. “Our anxiety toolbox and a mindfulness group should start the week after. we plan to keep all of these going throughout this and next module.”
Tips for those Struggling with the Effects of COVID-19
Students who aren’t able to attend Coping with COVID can use some tips provided by the American Psychological Association, including practicing self-care, finding ways to focus attention away from COVID-19, seeking out social support, helping others cope, finding ways to manage disappointment, limiting media consumption and focusing on controllable things rather than the uncontrollable.