Home Health Tips WIU Counseling Center provides mental health tips – News – McDonough Voice

WIU Counseling Center provides mental health tips – News – McDonough Voice

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MACOMB — To encourage good mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a part of Friday’s virtual Purple and Gold Day the Western Illinois University Counseling Center staff provided the public with tips on resilience, mood and coping mechanisms via YouTube videos.

WIU Counseling Center Director Amy Buwick said in the resilience video that people were wondering what the counseling center is doing to help WIU students during the pandemic. She responded that the counselors are doing everything that they can for WIU students. 

“We moved from face to face counseling to tele-counseling,” Buwick said. “We screened all of our students to make it would be an appropriate level of care and then we are meeting with our students on a weekly or bi-weekly basis based on what they need.”

In addition to the tele-counseling sessions, Buwick said that the WIU counseling center website has been revamped with the addition of mental health apps and podcasts to provide WIU students tools that they will need for mental health. The apps and podcasts cover issues like anxiety, mindfulness, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health topics. The apps are available on both Google Play and Apple App Store. 

WIU counselor Marsha Dace shared her tips on resilience in the resilience video. She described resiliency as a way for people to bounce back and recover from their difficulties.

“Overcoming our obstacles is how we realize our potential or strength or willpower in our heart,” Dace said. “Resilient people adapt and thrive. They are flexible during times of stress and emotional discomfort and goodness know that this is a lot of stress and a lot of emotional discomfort.”

WIU counselors Cara Cerullo and Christie Reynolds talked about emotions in the mood video. Cerullo indicated in the video that because someone is experiencing depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic, it does not mean that the person has depression.

Reynolds said that some symptoms that people might experience during the pandemic include loss of motivation, low energy, sleeping too much or too little, along with experiencing emotions like grief, anger, anxiety.

“I think that one of the things that you might notice too is the variability of emotions,” Cerullo said. “So one minute, you might be feeling really frustrated and then the next minute, you might be feeling sad or lonely and that’s all very normal for stressful times like this.”

WIU Alcohol and Other Drugs Resource Center counseling specialists Sonja Schmidt LCSW and Vivian Coeur shared their tips on coping during the pandemic in the Good Cope, Bad Cope video. Coeur said that COVID-19 has brought some uncertainty in the world, which can cause people to cope with it in an unhealthy way.

Both Schmidt and Coeur shared healthy ways on how people can cope during the pandemic. Some of the tips they shared included staying in contact with friends and family through social media, having a family fun time, enjoying nature, reading, playing board games, and learning new skills to cope during the pandemic. 

In support of promoting Kinder Mondays at home, Buwick said that she wanted to make kindness contagious. She said that emotions can be picked up by other people and that can influence people’s moods.

“If someone in the house was in a bad mood and pretty soon, more than one person is in the bad mood in the house,” Buwick said. “The flip side is always true that if you are treated with kindness and compassion, that you’re more likely to pay that forward.”

Email editor@mcdonoughvoice.com with questions on this story.

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