Spring Semester Mental Health + COVID-19
Starting a new semester amidst the Omicron wave can bring up some feelings. When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed. This very reaction, while there to protect us, can cause all sorts of havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us.
But we aren’t helpless. We can choose our response. If you are struggling, here are some things you can do:
What’s coming up for you right now? Name it to tame it. What feelings are arising in you?
Consider how you’re processing. How are you holding on or letting go of your feelings?
Take Care of Yourself
What helps you stay balanced? Consider spending time outside, talking with people you love, staying in the present through meditation or mindfulness practices. Eat food that nourishes you. Do things that bring you joy. Take a step to move you closer to a goal.
Control what’s within your control
We can’t force the people around us to do exactly what we want. What can you control about your own situation that might bring you relief? Consider:
- Get boosted / vaccinated. The vaccines are extremely effective at preventing death and hospitalization from COVID-19, including the new variant.
- Upgrade your mask strategy. Add a filter to your cloth mask. Layer a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask. Order some KN95s and fit them to your face. Remember – you MUST WEAR A MASK in all public, indoor settings on campus.
- Avoid crowds and give people extra space.
- Be diligent in washing your hands.
- Have conversations with the people closest to you. Talk with your roommates about COVID-19 expectations and hold each other accountable to agreements.
Have a Plan
While none of us want to plan for getting COVID-19, having a plan can help you feel more in control. Know what you’ll do if you start having symptoms or find out you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive.
If you’re having symptoms
- Isolate. Stay home except for food and medical care and wear a medical-grade mask when you can’t avoid being around other people.
- Consider getting tested.
- Symptomatic testing without an appointment is available at Campus Health Monday – Friday from noon – 4 pm.
- You can schedule an appointment for a full medical visit to address your symptoms at Campus Health by scheduling online or calling 919-966-2281.
If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 but aren’t having symptoms, quarantine.
CDC guidance is copied below or available online.
If you test positive – isolate.
Students who test positive must isolate until they meet the criteria for ending isolation: 5 days from onset of symptoms or day of the positive test, as well as no fever or symptoms for 24 hours.
After isolation ends, you can resume activities such as returning to campus but must still wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
You cannot test out of isolation. A negative result does not override the positive result. A positive result after 5 days does not mean you need to continue to isolate – unless you’re still having symptoms. Please avoid retesting (particularly due to limited test supplies!).
Reach out for help if you need it.
If you’re feeling stuck – reach. Connect with trusted advisors, loved ones, or a mental health care provider. We are in this together and there are places to get help if you need it.
CAPS is available 24/7 – by coming for services during business hours or calling after hours 919-966-3658.
You can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.