By Scarlett Birge, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), the CU-Well Counseling Center is offering free online therapy to Campbellsville University students, faculty, staff, coaches and the public. The counseling center is developing a plan to offer three, one-hour group sessions every day in the morning, evening and afternoon that anyone in Kentucky can access through Zoom.
“We know that uncertain times increase stress and anxiety, so we see this as an opportunity to minister to our faculty, staff, coaches and students as well as the public,” Dr. Kenneth Hollis, associate professor and director of marriage and family therapy, said.
From worries over bills, lockdowns, and the disease itself, multiple fears can be impacting individuals’ mental health at this time.
“I think that ultimately all of these individual fears are rooted in one overarching fear, and that’s the fear of the unknown. There’s simply so much about this that we simply don’t know, and then that fear is exacerbated by the amount of misinformation that people are being exposed to,” Hollis said.
Recent government action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has recommended social distancing and self-quarantining.
“Long periods of isolation will result in increased levels of anxiety and depression,” Hollis said. “What’s worse is that long periods of isolation increase the likelihood of suicide, partner violence and child abuse,” he said.
To combat these issues, Hollis said self-care needs to be a priority. “Eating well, adequate sleep, exercise, doing things they enjoy, maintaining contact with friends (even if that’s by phone or Skype),” are self-care needs, Hollis said.
“We encourage people to not live on their screens; while we’re not suggesting that people need to stick their head in the sand, we know that constant exposure to the 24-hour news cycle will actually increase anxiety or depression,” he said.
The CU-Well Counseling Center in Louisville, Ky. is operated by Campbellsville University’s Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program at the Louisville Education Center.
“We intentionally located the CU-Well Counseling Center in an underserved area because we wanted to be able to make a difference in the lives of those who don’t always have access to the resources they need,” Hollis said.
Staffed by licensed therapists, faculty and practicum students, the counseling center can provide online counseling to any faculty or staff member, as well as any student, dealing with anxiety during the coronavirus epidemic.
“We have had people already contact the counseling center with increased levels of anxiety and depression. A number of people are experiencing financial stressors and can’t afford counseling, so we’re seeing those people for free,” Hollis said.
“We’ve already heard people say that it’s been days since they’ve spoken to anyone. Our plan is to staff these group sessions with a faculty member and a practicum student simply to give people an opportunity to connect.” Hollis said.
Individual sessions have already begun and group sessions are to begin by the end of the week.
To schedule an online appointment call Tony Watkins, the CU-Well Counseling Center clinic director, at (502) 694-1444. If Watkins is not available, leave a message and he will return your call within 24 hours.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 11,900 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has Kentucky based off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. Out-of-state centers include two in California at Los Angeles and Lathrop, located in the San Francisco Bay region. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.
Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Campbellsville University.