‘We will be here to support you’: DC psychologists offer assurance

The coronavirus has increased fear, isolation and grief and is leading to a decline in mental health and an increase in substance abuse.

Nonetheless, D.C.-area psychologists want you to feel supported and empowered and said they’re committed to helping you cope better and build resilience and strength.

“We will be here to support you and help you during these times,” said Samira Paul, co-chair of the District of Columbia Psychological Association’s COVID-19 Task Force.

A poll released this week provided insight into how badly some people are struggling.

“We have the Kaiser Foundation poll saying 45% of adults report that the pandemic has affected their mental health. Nineteen percent say it’s had a major impact on their mental health,” Jones said.

DCPA is offering free counseling, tips and advice to anyone in the region who registers to participate.

On Saturday, a webinar between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. will focus on parenting, relationships, and anxiety and stress.

“We’re trying to build resilience and empower our community at this time,” Jones said.

Upcoming free, virtual support group counseling events will occur using Zoom. Groups of six guests will be accompanied by two psychologists. People can choose whether to continue support group meetings after the initial visit.

The goal of the April 30 Self-Care Support Group is “to provide a healing environment to revitalize and restore hope, prospective and emotional well-being.”

The Parent Support Group session May 2 “will provide a safe and supportive space for parents to express concerns, and assist in managing the unique adjustments and challenges related to the pandemic.”

In coming weeks, the DCPA intends to host support group events specific to veterans, news reporters and couples. Further in the future, support group events might be offered for mental health professionals, clergy and first responders.

“We’re trying to target every single group,” Paul said. “And, we’re also going to adopt mind-body techniques to help people cope with the challenges that they are facing.”

Paul welcomes ideas for support group event topics specific to different situations. You can offer suggestions via Samira.F.Paul@gmail.com.

Keep track of virtual support group events as new opportunities are offered by checking the DC Psychological Association’s website.

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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