The Counseling Center at LaGrange College is now able to provide counseling and psychotherapy remotely on a weekly basis to enrolled students. To schedule a virtual/phone appointment, students may reach out to their respective counselors via email or text. (See contact information below). If you have not been working with one of our counselors but are interested in setting up a new appointment please contact one of our counselors below. The counselors will be checking their email during normal business hours. These sessions will be a 30 minute check in session if you need more extensive therapy our counselors can still assist you in finding counseling services in your local area.

Director of Counseling/Counselor
Pamela Tremblay: ptremblay@lagrange.edu or text 706-452-1140

Counselor/Learning Disabilities Coordinator
Brandi Cameron: bncameron@lagrange.edu or text 708-986-0187

Counselor/Academic Coach
Charolett Patterson: cpatter3@lagrange.edu or text 678-590-8210

Administrative Assistant to Counseling
Bobbi West-Stemple: bwestste@lagrange.edu or text 706-756-5321

However, if you are in a mental health emergency, please call 911 or text a crisis line (Text CONNECT to 741741) or call 800-273-TALK (8255).

Psychological Tips for Managing Coronavirus Concerns

RECOGNIZING DISTRESS – A SELF-CHECKLIST

  • Increased anxiety, worry, fear, and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify
  • Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased academic performance
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger and disruptive behaviors or noticeable changes in personality
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)

PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH TIPS

  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties of the future.
  • Stay virtually connected with others. Try using phone calls, text messages, video chat, and social media to access social support networks. If you are feeling sad or anxious, use these conversations as an opportunity to discuss your experience and associated emotions. Reach out to those you know who are in a similar situation.
  • Create and follow a daily routine. Maintaining a daily routine can help preserve a sense of order and purpose in one’s life despite the unfamiliarity of the situation. Try to include regular daily activities, such as learning, working, listening to music, spending time being creative, and other healthy pastimes.
  • Limit news consumption to reliable sources. It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19, but too much exposure to media coverage can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. Limit time spent on news and social media.
  • Pay attention to positive news instead of only focusing on negative and fear-producing reports.
  • Practice grounding techniques and breathing exercises. Remind yourself to breathe when you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and emotions. Try not to catastrophize and instead focus on what you can control. Consider keeping a daily gratitude journal or doing relaxation exercises like deep breathing, positive imagery, muscle relaxation, etc.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Prioritize getting a healthy amount of sleep, eating well, moving or exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol and other recreational drugs. Sleep, nutrition, and exercise greatly impact the body’s ability to regulate emotions.
  • Follow the protection and prevention tips found on the COVID-19 web page on the St. Olaf website and national medical authorities.

AVOID STIGMATIZING OR GENERALIZING

  • Be aware of your behavior or attitude change towards other from another country
  • Avoid generalizing anyone who is sick as potentially having the Coronavirus
  • Examine any irrational or rigid thoughts that can exist when there is uncertainty

Ways to Cope

  1. Pay attention to your reactions
    It is normal to experience anxiety and stress reacting to an infectious disease outbreak. Being aware of your reactions can help you decide what you need at the moment to cope with them. For example, when you recognize your anxiety is increasing and interfering with your daily life activities, you can take actions to allow yourself breaks from the worries and decrease the anxiety to a manageable level.
  2. Remember what has worked for you before
    Different coping strategies work for different people. Try to remember when you last experienced distress (i.e. anxiety, paranoia, depression, etc.), and what you did at that time turned out to be effective in managing the distress. For instance, some people find mindfulness meditation practice helpful in reducing worries and anxious thoughts, others find writing a journal as an effective way in processing the emotional reactions. You already have your own unique way of coping, it just takes some digging to identify them and use them!
  3. Remain objective
    It is easy to have our mood be swangyed by news and information on social media. And it is normal to have immediate reactions to these materials about the virus. During these times, it is important to remain calm and objective when digesting the information. Be mindful of potential bias from the person/platform/source who shares the information, and be aware of where to find official and fact-checked information (i.e.e.g., WHO website). You are the judge of what information you take in and what information you prefer to leave out.
  4. Limit the information
    Sometimes, too much information leads to overload and more stress. So try to limit your exposure (such as <1 hour/day) to news and information about the Coronavirus. You can also schedule your time to access the information during certain times of your day to avoid constant anxiety. Sometimes you may find the news about the virus all over the internet and you cannot escape, you can’t. Try to not click on the link to the news or spend your relax free time on things such as books and games rather than social media. Avoid reading information on the topic before going to bed — this can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  5. Pay attention to some positive news
    Despite this difficult time, there is often some positive information in daily news. Decide whether the degree of your worry is consistent with reliable information (i.e., incidence rate, death rate, current advancement of medicine, etc.)
  6. Connect with others
    When in distress, you may feel lonely and isolated in what you are going through. You can benefit from connection with others where you can provide and receive support from each other. You can share your anxiety, worries, and sadness with people you trust, and they may be going through similar feelings. Even when your loved ones don’t feel the same way, you can still spend time with them and distract yourself from the distress. It is the connection we have and build with others that will help us to get through this difficult time.
  7. Learn when to say “no”
    Although sharing can be helpful, sometimes it is can lead to more anxiety. So it is important to say “no” when you are not comfortable with sharing or engaging in conversations on the topic. Just make sure you set your boundaries respectfully or leave conversations in an appropriate way.
  8. Maintain a healthy routine
    It is important to maintain your regular schedule for sleep, eating, having fun, socializing, studying, and working etc. If this is difficult to achieve by yourself, work with a friend – you can encourage each other in self-care. If some of your routine involves exposing yourself to potential risk of virus infection, you can develop alternatives to your routine and find things you can do by yourself. For example, instead of going to the gym for exercising, you can find different workouts to do at home.
  9. Take a break and relax
    Engage in conversations and activities unrelated to the outbreak and allow yourself to have some fun. There is still life outside of the current crisis. Reading news and engaging in activities unrelated to the current outbreak is okay – it doesn’t mean that you don’t care or aren’t concerned. Make sure to plan some relaxation or activities you enjoy into your daily schedule, such as deep breathing, spending time with friends, coloring, listening to music, taking a shower, taking a walk, etc.

Resources

Center for Disease Control

World Health Organization

Sanvello - an app that can be downloaded for free for on-demand help with stress, anxiety, and depression. 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://adaa.org/finding-help/coronavirus-anxiety-helpful-resources

Georgia Department or Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Crisis and Access Line: 1-800-715-4225