counseling center's response to covid-19

COVID-19 Counseling Center

On March 17, 2020, President Johnson informed the campus community that all in-person courses have been moved to online or alternative delivery starting Monday, March 23 and residence halls to be closed. This is an evolving situation, and students are encouraged to regularly monitor the Vincennes University Website and the Coronavirus update section.

If you have previously scheduled an appointment with the Counseling Center, your clinician and/or the Administrative Assistant will be in contact with you shortly to determine your needs and formulate a plan for your ongoing care. If you do not hear from us in a timely manner, please know that this is an oversight as we attempt to navigate everyone’s needs and various health statuses. Please call us 812-888-4374 any time you have a question or concern.

The mental health needs of our students continue to be of the upmost importance to the Counseling Center, Student Affairs, and the larger University. As such, we are attempting to balance the needs of our students with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Below is information about how the Counseling Center will be operating for the next few weeks.

Ongoing Clients (Students who have been seen at the Counseling Center within the last couple of months).

  • Students residing on-campus or off-campus in Indiana (local area)
    • Face-to-face appointments will no longer be offered as of March 23rd. However, tele-therapy will be started to minimize the potential of disease transmission.
  • Students residing off-campus in Indiana (outside driving range)
    • Telehealth counseling (either via phone or email) will soon be made available. However, we are happy to provide a referral to a counselor in your community if this is your preference.
  • Students residing off-campus in a different state (outside driving range).
    • Due to legal restrictions, telehealth counseling (either via phone or email) is not available due to limitations with our State licenses. You may remain in contact with your current counselor, but phone check-ins will be limited to just a few minutes. Should you like a referral to a provider in your community, please let us know.

New Clients

  • Definitions
    • New Client = No previous contact with the Counseling Center.
  • To establish counseling, the initial appointment must occur in-person on campus. Due to face-to-face sessions ending after March 22, 2020; we will assist you with a referral to a provider in your community. At this time these restrictions are temporary and if desired, we can contact you once services can be provided face-to-face again to start the process.

What Do I Do If I am in Crisis?

As always, the Counseling Center remains available to all students during a crisis (even if a student has already been referred to community resources).

Tips & Resources

Tips for Managing Coronavirus Concerns

Recognizing Distress: A Self-Check List

  • 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 a paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger and disruptive behaviors or noticeable changes in personality
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive Crying
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors, etc.)
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.
  • Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and stay focused on what the situation actually is, rather than the worst-case scenario. It can be helpful to shift your focus to things within your control rather than things outside your control.
  • Balance your need for normal day-to-day activities and social outlets with the need for “social distance” (The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends maintaining a distance of 6 feet from other people). Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself from the support and caring that others can provide. Consider virtual ways to connect with your social network when it is not possible to connect in person.
  • Seek accurate information from “The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention” and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information.
  • Pay attention to positive news instead of only focusing on negative and fear-producing reports.
  • Follow the protection and prevention tips given by medical professionals such as the University Health Center, national medical authorities, and your own medical provider.
  • Practice calming rituals: Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
  • Seek supports & use campus resources. Reach out to friends and family and learn about available campus resources. If you or someone you know has high distress, which does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others or call the Counseling Center (812-464-1867). Your campus community is here to help!
  • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. Remember to keep in mind the kindness and empathy with which we strive to treat one another as we address this challenge together. Be aware of your behavior and attitudes towards those from other countries, and avoid stigmatizing anyone who is sick as potentially having COVID-19. Often when there is uncertainty, our thoughts can become less compassionate and more fear based.

*Adapted from the University of Indianapolis & Amherst College

Additional Resources

24-hour Crisis Hotlines and other Local Resources

Suicide Prevention Life Line 1-800-273-TALK ( 8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
Good Samaritan Hospital: 812-882-5220
Or Call 911/ VUPD 812-888-5555

*Department of Mental Health is recommending that individuals feeling distress or anxiety related to the pandemic call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline 800-985-5990. This hotline provides live crisis counseling and it is toll-free, multi-lingual and confidential. A text option is also available: Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

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