Cal Lutheran Counseling and Psychological Services works to ease students’ pandemic-related anxiety


Safe Spaces: Ginny Maril P.h.D. in her office. Photo by Clara Berks – Staff Photographer

Kaeleah Isaac, Reporter

Therapists and psychological services are stepping up in an attempt to help individuals ease negative feelings and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic, including California Lutheran University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, which is dedicated to providing ongoing support for students.  

One positive effect of self-quarantine addressed by Cal Lutheran psychologists is that it may offer more free time for individuals to practice self-care. 

Salma Loo, campus awareness, referral and education case manager at Cal Lutheran said that self-care is important during this time of quarantine. She added that a few things people can do to practice self-care are creating routines to keep some structure throughout your day, scheduling in breaks, making sure you are balancing responsibilities and work demands with some relaxation, limiting screen time and starting a new hobby or finishing some projects you’ve started but haven’t had time to complete. 

In a statement, Vice President of Student Affairs, Melinda Roper said that CAPS will now strictly operate online and over the phone, following COVID-19 precautions. 

According to the statement, CAPS will maintain regular hours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, and 1-5 p.m. Appointments can be made using the front desk line at (805) 493-3727. CAPS will also continue to provide crisis support for psychological emergencies, Monday through Friday, 9-10:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.

The CARE team on the Cal Lutheran campus will remain open, communicating through their online webpage for any students concerned about the well-being of themselves or their peers. 

“In this uncertain time, please know that we at CAPS care about you. We are happy to help and support you as we navigate these unchartered territories,” Roper said. 

Many are feeling the same pressure and anxieties surrounding the unknown of COVID-19. 

“Have grace with yourself and with others,” Loo said. “Emotions are running high and so much of what we are living with is unknown at this time. Do your best to take good care of yourself, maintain your connection with others (while adhering to best practices in social distancing).”

Loo recommends scheduling something fun or uplifting to do each day and reaching out to friends and family for support, and if nothing else CAPS is always available for additional support.

“The CARE Team is also still functioning during this time. If you feel you or a friend could be in need of additional support, you can email us at [email protected]. You can also request to remain anonymous when sharing a concern about a friend,” Loo said. 

If you or someone you know doesn’t want to receive help through Cal Lutheran services, but would still like to and would benefit from a mental health resource service, sites like offer free online services. Better Help offers free trials for those seeking help from licensed mental health professionals, and is completely online. 

Exercise and meditation have been scientifically proven to alleviate stress and produce endorphins. Working out from home is a great option for those who are struggling with mental health.

“All of this can be very difficult. I would say to try and take things day by day and, again, to have patience and grace with yourself and others,” Loo said. “Reach out to your professors and request a phone call to check in if there’s something you need further clarification on, lean on your friends/family/community for support and resources (while maintaining physical distance), remember to do things that bring you happiness and joy and do something nice for someone else.”