While the most immediate impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are on those afflicted with the virus, there can also be effects to the mental health of anyone during this stressful time. In times of crisis, caring for others is often emphasized, but that starts with taking care of yourself.

To ensure you’re able to do so, UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is still open to help students at no cost. While the office is not seeing anyone in person at this time, there are still resources available that align with social distancing. These include:

  • TeleMental Health Services: Phone or video-conference counseling appointments with licensed professionals. To schedule an appointment, call 407-823-2811. If you want to engage in video conferencing, you will need to speak to a counselor to discuss options and process.
  • TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) Self-Help: A self-guided interactive, web-based program that provides assistance to help overcome anxiety, depression and other concerns.
  • TAO Treatment: Through this web-based program clients will watch videos, complete exercises and meet with a therapist via videoconferencing for a 10 to 15 minute appointment, weekly.
  • TAO Mindfulness Library: Online exercises and videos are available to everyone.

Starting April 13, every Monday and Thursday UCF RESTORES will also host Facebook Live sessions for people in need about sleep hygiene, stress management, problem solving, peer support and more.

Extended Summer Service Program

From May 11 through Aug. 7, CAPS is extending its services to Knights who are not currently enrolled on a low fee for service basis. This includes the following groups, only if the individual is currently living in state due to Florida licensing restrictions:

  • UCF students who are not enrolled for Summer 2020 but were enrolled in Spring 2020 and will be enrolled in Fall 2020.
  • Students who graduated Spring 2020
  • Incoming UCF student who plan to begin in Fall 2020 and have completed orientation and course registration.

CAPS clinicians will provide single session therapy, initial assessments, individual counseling, group counseling and TAO treatment (Therapist Assisted Online) through telemental health for a fee ($30 for individual sessions; $15 for each group session; $5 for TAO Treatment session).  Call CAPS at 407-823-2811 to see if you are eligible for CAPS Extended Summer Services program.

Expert Tips

Karen Hofmann, a licensed psychologist and director of UCF’s CAPS, also suggests a few actions to practice as you navigate the current realities.

  • Allow yourself to feel: There is so much change and loss of what was predictable. Every person had set plans of some sort for the near future, such as vacations, visits with friends and celebrations. Quarantining is extremely necessary at this time, but that does not mean you shouldn’t feel the grief and loss of the things we once early anticipated. Allow yourself to feel those things and move forward.
  • Stay present: Although there are a lot of unknowns at this time it’s important you don’t allow fears about things that are out of your control to consume you. Focus on the things you can control and are grateful for now. Worrying means you’re too focused on the future, so mindfulness and meditation can help you stay present. On April 6, a specialist from CAPS will be leading a live guided meditation at noon as a part of a new weekly Mindfulness Monday series on UCF’s Instagram account (@ucf.edu).
  • Establish a routine: Having a routine can help you gain a sense of control and develop your “new normal.” It can also help you to stay motivated in your classes. Try starting your days by doing things that are productive, such as studying or yoga, take time to get some fresh air throughout the day and save fun, relaxing activities for later. Ultimately each person is different and you have to find the right schedule for you.
  • Set boundaries: For some, staying home may be difficult due to a toxic environment, but setting boundaries and saying “No” when you can may be helpful. Keeping yourself busy and getting outside for a break are some other practices.
  • Stay connected: Social distancing does not mean social isolation. You can still stay connected to friends, family and a network of support through phone calls, texting, video chatting and social platforms. When you are experiencing stress, sadness, worry or anything else, talking to someone can always help you work through whatever you’re dealing with.

Additional tips for coping during COVID-19 can be found here. For more information on CAPS and its available services, visit caps.sdes.ucf.edu