If you are a loyal reader of The Stallion Student newspaper, then you have probably noticed a common thread in the past several print issues: coping with stress, coping with the pandemic, coping with anxiety…coping, coping, coping. Coping is all we seem to be talking about these days, well that and this seemingly never-ending pandemic!
Make no mistake though, coping is Good! Coping is necessary for survival and quality of life. It is a skill that takes time and practice to master, and the work is never finished. The topic we don’t tend to cover in newspaper articles, conversations, or social media posts, is what to do when we can’t cope.
If you often feel like you are being smothered by your responsibilities, school-work, or any other commitment in your life; if you are consumed by fear, anxiety, loneliness, or depression, there is hope. If you feel as though you’re sitting on the sidelines as your life passes you by, dread waking up in the morning, feel as though you’re sinking deeper and deeper, find yourself angry that a new day has dawned, feel as though every day is a burden, actively seek out new ways to numb/distance yourself, or feel alone despite who all is around… you are NOT alone.
I won’t bother boring you with feel good pleasantries, extraneous statistics, or mildly effective inspirational quotes from the most recently famous Hollywood star, Instagram influencer, or YouTube sensation. What I will do, is share, with you, information that may just save your life mentally and emotionally if not physically.
Pain, stress, nervousness, and mild but temporary discomfort are often a part of life, that much we all know; No one has to tell us that (not that parents and teachers have any problem reaffirming that sentiment on the regular) but when those feelings are strong, significant, and long lasting we can run into trouble. Many substance abuse, spiritual wellness, and mental health recovery organizations utilize something called the “Serenity Prayer” which goes as follows “…grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, the courage, to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”, this is a solid outline for living an emotionally healthy life. While it is simple, it’s almost never as easy as it sounds.
So, what do we do? What can we do? We can reach out for help. It can be frightening, intimidating, and overwhelming but there is a way out, with the help of others. Knowing what is available to you, what others have to offer, and knowing where to find it is often the last thing we think about when overstimulated and overwhelmed by our circumstances.
Here is a quick break down of resources for people just like me and you! First and foremost, I feel that it is important to mention the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This service is a 24/7/365 phone service for individuals in distress, who are considering or planning suicide. To some, suicide may seem irresponsible, selfish, or ludicrous but to the person who feels alone, helpless, hopeless and out of options, it can seem like the only option left. Please if you or someone you love maybe considering suicide, call this hotline.
The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network offers a 24/7/365 phone service free of charge. They call it “The Peer 2 Peer” Warm line. The Peer 2 Peer Warm line is a free service managed by Certified Peer Specialists. These are people who have faced significant challenges with substance abuse, mental health challenges, domestic violence or trauma. You name it and someone in that office has seen it, survived, and wants to help others like you and me make it through to the other side. It is confidential, and as I mentioned, free of charge. No name, insurance information, address, phone number, or any other personal information is needed. Whether, you’re overwhelmed as a student, financially insecure, recently lost a loved one, struggling with anxiety, depression, COVID, or just need someone who will lend a non-judgmental listening ear; try giving them a call. They’ve been there!
The Georgia Access Crisis Line (GCAL), is another free 24/7/365 service available to anyone in need. This service team provides a variety of services in aiding individuals who are in a crisis situation. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health emergency, feel as though you or a loved one is a danger to yourself or others, or are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, the GCAL line can connect you with the appropriate services. Sometimes this simply means over-the-phone crisis intervention/de-escalation and warm-transfer to local 911 operatives (in this case the GCAL operator stays on the phone till first responders are onsite) They may even provide assistance in finding an open bed at a crisis or detox unit. Again, this service is free of charge and available to anyone.
Next, we have ABAC’S finest, the Office of Counseling and Accommodation Services (CAS) located on ABAC’S Tifton campus inside the newly renovated Carlton building. The CAS offers a variety of services for students. In person counseling can be made by appointment. Informal drop-in counseling sessions are available in 15 minute intervals at different times throughout the week (visit their website: https://www.abac.edu/campus-life/cas/) The newly available “LetsChat@ABAC”, is a 24/7/365 mental health support service provider for students.
The above-mentioned organizations and services are but a drop in the bucket of what it available to you at the national, state, and local levels, but with their help, additional resources and services can be referred with a simple request from you for more options. It’s never too late to reach out for help and start your journey to a happier and healthier life; one that at times may seem out of reach.
For more information please visit or call:
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
• (GMHCN) Peer 2 Peer Warm Line: 888-945-1414
• Georgia Crisis Access Line (GCAL): 1-800-715-4225
• ABAC (CAS): https://www.abac.edu/campus-life/cas/
o Call to schedule an appointment 229-391-5135
Drop-In: Mon: 3:00pm-4:00pm & 5:30pm-7:00pm
Wed: 3:00pm-4:00pm Thurs: 5:30pm-7:00pm