To address concerns and help people cope with lifestyle changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Counseling Services plans to start a new virtual support group called Coping with COVID.
Ryan Staley, staff psychologist at Counseling Services and co-facilitator of Coping with COVID, said the group will tentatively start meeting weekly through Zoom at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
“It occurred to us, under the circumstances, that it may be helpful to have a group for students who obviously have been impacted by this pandemic that addresses the kind of unique impact of this pandemic on students,” Staley said.
Staley said the group is meant to allow participants to receive support and offer support by sharing strategies for coping that are working for them.
“The aim of the group is really to provide a safe space to both offer and receive support from each other,” Staley said. “[I want to] really provide a place to explore some of the emotions and thoughts that are connected to the impact of this pandemic.”
To comply with regulations, a student must live in Kansas to be in the group.
“The group will cap at 10, but it’s going to be an open group, meaning if some members leave, then there potentially is some opening for new members,” he said. “So, we won’t have anymore than 10 at one time, but there could be some cycling in admissions.”
Before becoming a part of the Coping with COVID group, someone from Counseling Services will need to speak with possible participants individually.
“Somebody would get in touch with them about scheduling kind of an additional appointment to meet with them, talk about what some of the concerns are, what was their interest in the group, make sure they’re a good fit for telehealth services in general, but also a good fit for the group,” Staley said. “And then as part of that, we would do a group screen where we would talk more about the group specifically.”
Overall, Staley said the group will help students connect with peers going through the same struggles they are.
“Hopefully [it’s] a helpful way that increases a sense of connectedness, but also offers opportunities to acquire knowledge and information, and even process some of the challenging feelings they may be facing during this difficult time,” he said.
If the group does well, Staley said they could form another.
“Depending on how this goes, if we get quite a bit of interest in the group and fill it up pretty quickly, there can be a potential for another COVID coping group to form,” he said. “It depends on the demand and how well it goes.”
To inquire about the group, call Counseling Services at 785-532-6927.