Counseling still available for stress caused from national tragedy

Counseling centers realize individuals around the country may be in fear due to recent attacks on the United States -- not only fearing war, but also anthrax. The Ball State Counseling Center wants people to know that there are ways to overcome these fears and continue on with life.

Patsy Donn, Psychological Director of Counseling and Health Services, suggested individuals quit watching videos taken on Sept. 11.

"Watching the traumatic videos over and over only helps stamp the trauma over and over again in your head," said Donn.

This can lead to having problems concentrating in everyday activities. If concentration problems continue, it could be something more serious such as acute stress disorder which, according to Donn, usually takes place four weeks after concentration problems begin.

"If it is still interfering after a month, the best solution is to see someone," Donn said.

June Payne, associate director for clinical services, also works as a psychologist. Payne knows students are feeling uncertain, because of what is happening in the United States.

"There is a lot of uncertainty," Payne said. "We are here to keep our finger on the pulse, so we can address students' needs.

"It is all right to take things more seriously and to be cautious, but don't let it stop you from living life," Payne said.

An advantage of this is that everybody is going trough this experience together; no one is going through it alone.

"We will get through this as a nation," Payne said, "and that is comforting for many people."

The Counseling Center has not had an overwhelming amount of students come in, but that may be because students are talking to family and friends instead according to Donn and Payne.

"It is a good idea to be with other people, use family as a resource and reassure each other " Donn said.

Attending support groups can also help people express their feelings. Donn and Payne both think that it was a great idea to have campus events that dealt with the tragedy of Sept. 11.

"We both feel that the campus events that were held after Sept. 11 really helped not only the student body but also the faculty," they said.

Another way to help cope with the tragedy is to get involved with organizations that are part of the relief effort.

"Volunteering for an organization can help a person through this time because they feel as if they are doing something. They don't feel powerless anymore," Donn said. "It is great to see children as young as five volunteering to help."

It is all right and normal to feel many emotions during this time.

"I would be more concerned about a person who did not feel any type of emotion after watching the tragic events take place," Donn said.

Donn said everyone deals with their emotions in different ways, whether it be talking with a large group of people, or talking one on one with someone. Donn and Payne want everyone to know that many are sharing the same feelings. Donn and Payne also stress a professional Counseling Center is available for those students who need to talk.


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