By Naniyah McClain
With everything that is happening in the world, many students are struggling with adapting to the new normal. Starting this semester, FDU students will have access to virtual mental health resources, in lieu of limited in-person options.
Dealing with multiple events at the same time can be stressful and frustrating as a college student. For this reason and more, FDU offers free counseling services to all of its students under the program Student Counseling and Psychological Services (affectionately known as S-CAPS).
Before the pandemic, students were allowed to contact S-CAPS by phone and attend in-person counseling sessions on campus.
New Jersey is currently still under Stage 2 of Gov. Phil Murphy’s Road Back Plan which prohibits indoor gatherings and meetings. Due to this, students are not able to attend in-person counseling sessions this fall. This poses the concern of how S-CAPS would adapt to these challenges.
However, FDU students still have access to individual counseling, group counseling and referrals to other professionals or agencies through Zoom. Through an automatic email reply Dr. David Mednick confirms, “Our Psychological Counselors will not be at the office but are working remotely.”
Group seminars and workshops were another service S-CAPS offered in the past. To help students build essential communication skills and relaxing techniques, these year-round workshops covered topics concerning anger management, anxiety, substance abuse education, values clarification, time management, assertiveness and personal growth.
According to S-CAPS’s documents attached in an email sent to Metro students and staff on Wednesday, there are fall virtual personal development Zoom workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays that will cover topics such as:
- Let’s Talk About It: (Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. and Sept. 24 at 12 p.m.)
- Mindfulness and Self-Care: (Sept. 29 at 4 p.m. and Oct. 1 at 12 p.m.)
- Resilience: (Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. and Oct. 8 at 12 p.m.)
- Cognitive Strategies for Stress, Anxiety, Depression & COVID Angst: (Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. and Oct. 15 at 12 p.m.)
- Making Changes Last: (Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. and Oct. 22 at 12 p.m.)
- Stress Busters: (Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 12 p.m.)
- Physical Methods of Stress Reduction: (Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. and Nov. 5 at 12 p.m.)
- Dealing with Loss and Grief: (Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 12 p.m.)
Metro Meditation and Mindfulness groups are held on Wednesdays from 4-4:45 p.m from Sept. 16 to Nov. 18 to help FDU students, staff and faculty members reduce stress and improve their concentration and performance. Students are allowed to make an appointment by phone or email. The Zoom link can be accessed here.
As for one-on-one sessions, S-CAPS made the executive decision to go virtual starting the fall semester until further notice.
Students are allowed to connect with S-CAPS via email in order to find options of how to take care of themselves during these trying times. Counseling sessions will be made via phone call or Zoom.
Appointments can be made from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling 201-692-2174. Students should leave a message at this number with their full name and phone number to be reached promptly. Students who leave a message should expect to come across a blocked or private number.
Email is another method of contact. After sending an email to an S-CAPS counselor, students will receive an automatic reply before a response from an available counselor. Counselors respond to their emails during the above business hours as well.
S-CAPS follows the guidelines of the American Psychological Association, meaning that a student’s contacts and information given to S-CAPS is confidential and cannot be shared without permission.
A self-help library is also available to students who want to read popular books concerning mental health.
The Equinox reached out to Dr. David Mednick, co-director and psychological counselor of S-CAPS, but referred to the above documents for this subject.
September: National Suicide Prevention Month
The month of September is dedicated to survivors, mental health advocates, prevention organizers, allies and others who work to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
People are talking about mental health and suicide prevention now more than ever. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered many traumatic experiences for people around the world. It is important to provide each other with coping tips that can help both us and our loved ones get through the pandemic.
There are many professional resources available:
24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline
24/7 Healing Space, Sexual Violence Resource Center Hotline
Trevor Project, 24/7 Lifeline for LGBTQ+ concerns
Links for Managing CoronaVirus Anxiety
Virus Anxiety: This website provides guidance for students who may be suffering from coronavirus anxiety. They offer different tool kits to help manage anxiety.
The CDC: The CDC provides information for students who want to manage their stress and anxiety amid the pandemic and offer different resources to help individuals.
Therapy Assistance Online: This website provides mindfulness exercises for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The website also offers membership programs for individuals who need more help.
Find a quarantine buddy: This website can help students to find a friend who they can relate to during this difficult time.
For this year’s National Suicide Prevention Month, make sure to check on friends and family members. We may never know what battles they are fighting. One friendly text message, phone or Facetime call can go a long way.
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