JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As we talk about COVID-19 and changing routines, this also has an impact on mental health including anxiety. As a result, counselors and students from the University of North Florida developed a virtual therapy to help folks cope.
“What role can we play as counselors in helping our community,” Dr. Robert Zeglin, Assistant Professor and Clinical Mental Health Clinic Program Director at the University of North Florida said.
That question – "how can we help?" -- was brought to Zeglin and a UNF colleague by a pair of clinical mental health students.
National studies on stress, anxiety and depression amid the COVID-19 pandemic point to more cases. While there’s no perfect solution – there are options to help, such as group therapy.
“The unique benefit of group therapy is that it’s the one modality of therapy that allows the client to be helpful to others,” Zeglin said.
Being able to interact in a time of social distancing, as well as getting people talking about relationships, loss and fear among other topics can help, he said.
Sessions are called Florida Calm: open to any Florida resident over the age of 18 who isn’t a student of a state college. He explained a Zoom call may not be a therapist’s first choice, navigating the challenges of COVID-19 require a bit of ingenuity.
“This kind of interface, it does change things a little bit but thankfully technology has gotten significantly better than it was 15 years ago," Zeglin said, "We are able to be with the person in terms of non-verbals and hearing their voice and their tone.”
Florida Calm’s Zoom sessions are on Monday’s and you will need to sign-up beforehand. See the group's page for more information and directions for joining.