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Welcome to the Curry College Counseling Center’s Self-Help resource page. Feel free to read through and/or download any of the materials you see here. Self-help materials are not meant to be a substitute for therapy but can be an excellent source of information to help individuals with mental health concerns or needs.  Some of the areas you will find here include information about:

It might be your friend, your roommate, or a dating partner. It could also be a classmate or peer in your residence hall or campus job.  Though some stress is normal for all of us, excessive stress can affect each person differently.  Offering empathy and help can help those you care about to feel better.

Signs of Distress:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Physical aches and pains and/or lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Depressed or lethargic mood
  • Lack of motivation
  • Excessive tension or worry
  • Restlessness, hyperactivity, pressured speech
  • Excessive alcohol use or substance use
  • Decline in academic performance, drop in class attendance
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Self-injury (cutting, scratching, burning, punching self, walls)
  • Destruction to property
  • Unusual or exaggerated response to events (overly suspicious, overly agitated, easily startled)


How to Help

Talk in a private setting and offer your undivided attention - A few minutes of listening might help your friend/peer make a positive decision about next steps.

Listen with an open mind - Listen to what your friend or peer says, and do not jump to a conclusion or decision about the situation.  Your friend may be worried about being rejected or criticized.

Be honest and direct, but nonjudgmental - Ask what's troubling your friend or peer, and share what you've observed and why it concerns you. For example: "I've noticed you've been missing class a lot lately and you aren't answering your phone or text messages like you used to. Or, “You have missed multiple study groups and I have been worried about you.  I am worried you might be dealing with some sort of stress.” Or simply, “I'm worried about you."

Distress often comes from conflicting feelings or demands - Acknowledge this and paraphrase what the other person is saying. For example: "It sounds like you want to please your family, but you aren't sure that what they want for you is what you really want to do."  Another option is to say something like, “It can be hard when you are asked to do certain things that may be different than what feels right for you.”

Make a referral - Direct and/or accompany the person to the Counseling Center to make an appointment.  Your friend/peer must schedule and consent to services themselves.

Follow up - Let the person know you'll be checking in to see how things turned out (e.g., if they connected with support(s) and how they are feeling). This is a way to show you care and that you are wanting to help them get connected to the resources than can help.

Crisis

A crisis is a highly unpleasant emotional state, during which a person's typical coping strategies are no longer working. The nature of a crisis can be personal and subjective and its severity can range from mild to life-threatening, depending on how that person defines it. A crisis should always be taken seriously and responded to quickly.

Possible Signs of Crisis:

When a Friend has Experienced...

  • Recent grief/loss after the death of a loved one
  • Sexual assault
  • A community disaster (e.g., fire, environmental disaster)
  • References to, or threats of suicide or other types of self-injury
  • Threats of assault, both verbal and physical
  • Highly disruptive behavior such as physical or verbal hostility, violence, destruction of property
  • Inability to communicate (slurred or garbled speech, disjointed thoughts)
  • Disorientation, confusion, loss of contact with reality


What You Can Do

Immediately call for help - Ask for help if the individual seems to be at imminent risk of harming themselves or someone else.

During business hours - Call or visit the Counseling Center at 617-333-2182 and ask to speak with the Clinician of the Day. A counselor is available to assist in crisis situations.


After business hours -
If it is after regular business hours and the individual is at risk of harming themselves or someone else, please contact the Curry College Public Safety Department at 617-333-2222. You may also call Public Safety and ask to speak with the Counselor on call.  

Do not take it upon yourself to approach someone who is highly agitated or who appears violent - For your safety as well as others and the person in distress, rely on the help of trained professionals.  In this instance, contact Public Safety at 617-333-2222, or 911 for an off campus emergency.

Recognize Your Limits

Your own safety and well-being are as important as that of the person in distress. Recognizing the limits of what you can and can't do to help is a crucial part of the process.

  • Be genuinely concerned and supportive
  • Be honest with yourself about how much time and effort you can afford to spend helping
  • Be aware of your own needs and seek support for yourself
  • Maintain and respect healthy boundaries
  • Realize you cannot control how the person is going to feel or respond
  • Understand you cannot decide for them whether or not the person wants help or wants to change


A Final Reminder

When responding to a person in need, you are not alone. When in doubt about how to handle a crisis situation, contact a responsible person with whom to share your concerns, such as a counselor, parent, coach, faculty member, police or staff person.

Contact the Counseling Center directly to seek advice about how to handle the situation. If after hours, call Public Safety at 617-333-2222. For off campus emergencies, call 911.

Campus & Community Crisis Resources

Crisis Hotlines:

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call one of the 24-hour crisis hotline numbers below right away:

Many people have heard of Kübler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). It used to be thought that once someone would go through these “stages” they would be through with the process of grief.

We have now learned that grief is not a process to “get over”, rather a unique journey with a mixture of emotions and reactions. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, however, there are some healthy and unhealthy coping strategies. Please continue reading for some suggestions on healthy ways to continue your grief journey. 

Below are some tips to review if you, or someone you know is grieving a loss:

Grief is unique to each person - Grieving is unique to each person.  There is no “right” way to grieve. How you grieve will differ from that of your friends and loved ones.

Talk about it - Talk about your loved one who died with friends, family and/or a professional counselor, clergy member or other support person.

Grief often has many feelings intertwined, and involves intense emotions and memories - It may take time to process all of these feelings, which can be tiring and emotional. Allow yourself plenty of time to do normal everyday activities. Try not to over-schedule yourself, you don’t need the added stress. Rest when you can and need it. Self-care is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Grief for a loved one who has died by suicide is often unique and complex - Each person who dies by suicide typically leaves behind multiple “suicide survivors,” people who have been impacted by the loss. Often survivors are left grieving and struggling to understand why their loved one died by suicide. As a result, grieving can be especially complex and traumatic. People coping with this kind of loss often need more support than others, but may get less. Why? Survivors may be reluctant to confide that the death was self-inflicted. And when others know the circumstances of the death, they may feel uncertain about how to offer help. For this reason, it is especially important to seek support for yourself, or offer to help a loved one access support resources.

Take care of yourself - Give yourself time and space to begin your grief journey. Get enough rest. Eat healthy food. Give yourself a break.  Try to resist the temptation to “throw yourself” into work, school or other diversions. This leaves too little time for the grief work you need to do for yourself.

Resist the temptation to use alcohol or drugs - These can interfere with the grieving process or cover it up by numbing out painful feelings.

Seek out support & community - If you are religious, contact your place of worship and consider taking advantage of the support and services offered.  Talk to others who “get it”, and/or have experienced the death of a loved one. People who have been through grief can empathize with and help support you, and vice versa. The grief process is an individual experience. Some people like to talk about things while others prefer to grieve by “doing” something. Do what feels right for you.

There are many ways to express your grief - The best way to work with your grief is to let it out. So how do you let out your emotions? Do you: cry, scream, and yell? Do you: express your feelings through music, art, poetry, or journaling? Some people express themselves with only one or a few trusted people, while others chose to make a display of expression. Do what feels right for you.

Focus on your health - Grief can be a great stress on your body and mind. It can upset sleep patterns, lead to depression, weaken your immune system, and highlight medical problems. See your doctor if you are worried about your symptoms. Stay healthy by drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet and following your doctor’s recommendations.  If you typically take prescribed medications, follow your doctor’s recommendations and check-in with them when you are thinking about changing your health or medication routines.

Exercise - Being physically active is known stress reducer, so engaging in exercise is an important tool for overall stress management, but can be particularly useful when you are grieving.  Please be advised, that over-exercising is not a healthy way to deal with stress – there is a happy medium for everything.

***Consider getting professional help if you feel overwhelmed, hopeless, or helpless. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP IF YOU HAVE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.***

Grief therapy doesn’t have to be long-term. Even if you don’t see yourself as someone who would go to therapy, it may be beneficial.  Grief tends to go at its own rate, so allow yourself time to grieve. There is no right way and no time limit!

Be patient - There may be days where you feel great, but there may also be setbacks. Don’t expect to “Get over it” or have a deadline in mind. Reminders can trigger emotions – both physical and emotional. This is not a sign of weakness. Instead, your mind and body are telling you that your grief journey isn’t done.

Create your own ways of remembering your loved one - Celebrate their life in whatever way feels right to you. Try supporting a cause they believed in, start a scholarship, plant a garden, make a donation in their name, etc.

Have a little fun -Do something to make you laugh and/or smile. Many may find this difficult to do at first, but it is wonderful medicine for the grieving soul.

Related: Huffington Post - These Illustrations Totally Nail How Difficult The Grief Process Is

Apps and Self-Help

There are many smartphone Apps that can be useful to help you practice mindfulness, meditation, and breathing. In addition, many exist that can be used to track symptoms and manage stress. The apps listed below should be available on various smartphone platforms and app stores for personal use. 

Before using any of these or other apps, please read the developer’s privacy notices before sharing your personal information. If you share personal/identifying information with the app, this information may not be private. Some apps may require initial or in-all purchase. Be sure to read terms before download to avoid unintended fees.

General Mental Health Help Apps:


Anxiety and Stress Reduction Apps:


Apps for Depression:


Sleep Apps:

  • Apps coming soon


Time Management/Procrastination Apps:

  • Apps coming soon


Therapy Help (Depression and Anxiety) Apps:

  • Apps coming soon


Sexual Assault Prevention


Suicide Prevention/Crisis Support:

Because the Counseling Center is geared towards short-term general clinical services, there may be times when students are referred off campus to providers in the community, or may wish to use these from the outset.  Doing so allows students the ability to engage with providers who offer specific clinical specialties, long-term treatment availability, and/or to be seen with greater frequency/intensity when additional support is necessary.  Such providers may be individual, clinic and/or group practice providers.  If you are interested in finding a provider in the community, there are different options for you to explore and consider.  One of the quickest means of doing so is to do an online provider search (see below). Alternately, students may wish to contact their insurance carrier directly for community based therapy and/or medication provider referrals. 

Students may also request referrals from the Counseling Center, though it is helpful to indicate this at the time of scheduling your consultation appointment. 

**Please note: The Counseling Center does not endorse any specific community provider.

If You Plan to Pay for Services Using Health Insurance, Learn What is Covered by Your Insurance Plan

Every health insurance policy is different. Policies differ in terms of what providers you can see or how often, whether a referral is required, the amount they will cover, etc. Good ways to find out about your insurance policy include: Calling your insurance company on the phone (you can do this by calling the 800 number on the back of your card), looking them up on their website (creating an account may give you more specific information about your plan), or reviewing your policy brochure. If you are on your parents’ plan, it may be helpful to consult with them. If you feel unsure about how to discuss the possibility of off campus services, a Counseling Center clinician can help you think through how to have a conversation with your parents.

Where to Look for Referrals:

  • Find a Therapist
  • Community Referral Form
  • Your health insurance carrier (contact their customer service number on the back of your card)
  • Primary Care Physician (PCP) office
  • The Counseling Center

Questions You Can Ask a Therapist

When you call, we recommend that you talk to the therapist personally. Indicate that you are looking at possible therapists and gathering information to make a decision. Be ready to leave your phone number and a time you can be reached in case the therapist is unavailable when you call. It is important that you choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and at ease, since your treatment will involve working together as a team.

When contacting a therapist, there are several questions you will most likely want to ask:

  • What days and times are you currently available?
  • Where is your office located?
  • Could you describe your helping approach? Or, can you describe how you help clients?
  • What are your fees? ($80 - $150+ per session is not uncommon if you do not use health insurance). Some counselors and agencies have sliding scales that are available if you cannot afford their hourly rate. Some do not accept insurance but will provide documentation to request reimbursement from your health insurance carrier.
  • If you plan to use your health insurance, have your card/plan information in front of you when you call. This will help the therapist to answer your questions, especially those below.
  • Will you accept my health insurance coverage? Will you directly bill my insurance company? Do you have a sliding fee scale or will you set up a payment plan?
  • Do I have to pay “up front” for services?

Some Other Considerations:

  • Check with your insurance carrier’s website (or telephone customer service line) to determine what your copayments may be in advance of any appointments you attend. That way, the therapist can request approval to have the cost covered, which can help prevent you from being billed for the full cost of the session.
  • Check your health insurance card/carrier to determine if you have any copay fees associated with mental health care services (often referred to as behavioral health).

The Curry College Counseling Center hopes this information will assist you in selecting a suitable therapist and/or accessing community based resources. Please be aware the therapists and/or resources we offer are not affiliated with, or endorsed by the College. If you need additional information or assistance, please contact the Counseling Center at 617-333-2182.