The mission of Student Health and Counseling Services is to optimize the physical and mental health of students in order to help them achieve academic success, personal development and lifelong wellness.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all students and community members affected by the California wildfires.
To assist you – we offer the following guidance:
If you have asthma or are experiencing exacerbation of respiratory illnesses and Student Health and Counseling is closed you can access LiveHealth Online, an online provider visit for urgent care needs. Going outdoors and traveling to an urgent care center may not be your best first step. For more information on LiveHealth Online and for other urgent care options go to:studenthealth.ucsf.edu/emergencies-after-hours-care/urgent-care-options.
Many students’ allergy symptoms have been exacerbated as well. Nasal saline flushes (NetiPot – see your local drug store), flushing eyes with saline solution (e.g. contact solution), taking antihistamine, and staying indoors are your best bets for managing symptoms.
If you choose to wear a particulate respirator, please review these guidelines set forth by the California Department of Public Health.
If you are experiencing emotional distress as a result of the fires or smoke and you want support and Student Health and Counseling is closed, you can get support anytime from the 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Line. Call SHCS (415-476-1281) and choose option 7. You will be connected to a service staffed by non-SHCS counselors who can assist you.
If you feel your situation is urgent (thoughts of harming yourself or others for example) go to the closest emergency room.
Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of Tragedy and in the Midst of Hate-Motivated Crimes
You may be struggling following recent incidents of violence in our communities, country, and around the globe. You may be overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings, or feeling numb to any feelings.
Following such traumatic events, it is typical for people to experience a variety of emotions. These feelings can include shock, sorrow, numbness, fear, anger, disillusionment, grief and others. You may find that you have trouble sleeping, concentrating, eating or remembering even simple tasks. This is common and should pass after a while. Over time, the caring support of others can help to lessen the emotional impact and ultimately make the changes brought about by the tragedy more manageable. You may feel that the world is a more dangerous place today than you did yesterday. It may take some time to recover your sense of equilibrium.
Meanwhile, you may wonder how to go on living your daily life. You can strengthen your resilience — the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity — in the days and weeks ahead.
Here are some tips:
- Talk about it. Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen to your concerns. Receiving support and care can be comforting and reassuring. It often helps to speak with others who have shared your experience so you do not feel so different or alone.
- Strive for balance. When a tragedy occurs, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and have a negative or pessimistic outlook. Balance that viewpoint by reminding yourself of people and events which are meaningful and comforting, even encouraging. Striving for balance empowers you and allows for a healthier perspective on yourself and the world around you.
- Turn it off and take a break. You may want to keep informed or need to know about the well-being of friends or others, but try to limit the amount of news you take in whether it’s from the Internet, television, newspapers or magazines. While getting the news informs you, being overexposed to it can actually increase your stress. The images can be very powerful in reawakening your feeling of distress. Also, schedule some breaks to distract yourself from thinking about the incident and focus instead on something you enjoy. Try to do something that will lift your spirits.
- Honor your feelings. Remember that it is common to have a range of emotions after a traumatic incident or a hate-motivated crime. You may experience intense stress similar to the effects of a physical injury. For example, you may feel exhausted, sore or off balance.
- Take care of yourself. Engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of rest and build physical activity into your day. Avoid alcohol and drugs because they can suppress your feelings rather than help you to manage and lessen your distress. In addition, alcohol and drugs may intensify your emotional or physical pain. Establish or re-establish routines such as eating meals at regular times and following an exercise program. If you are having trouble sleeping, try some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga.
- Help others or do something productive. Locate resources in your community on ways that you can help people who have been affected by this incident, or have other needs. Helping someone else often has the benefit of making you feel better, too.
- If you have lost friends or family in this or other tragedies. Remember that grief is a long process. Give yourself time to experience your feelings and to recover. For some, this might involve staying at home; for others it may mean getting back to your daily routine. Dealing with the shock and trauma of such an event will take time. It is typical to expect many ups and downs, including "survivor guilt" — feeling bad that you escaped the tragedy while others did not.
For many people, using the tips and strategies mentioned above may be sufficient to get through the current crisis. At times, however an individual can get stuck or have difficulty managing intense reactions. A licensed mental health professional can assist you in developing an appropriate strategy for moving forward. It is important to get professional help if you feel like you are unable to function or perform basic activities of daily living.
SHCS Response to the White House Anti-Trans Memo
In response to troubling recent national events, Student Health and Counseling Service would like to affirm our support of all impacted communities. We want our transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive students to know that we are here for you and support you. The Trans Lifeline is a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to speak with another member of the trans* community for support (877-565-8860). They also put out a powerful statement that we wanted to share: www.translifeline.org/blog/post/we-won-t-back-down. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Student Health and Counseling Services or to the LGBT Resource Center for support
Episode 1: Do I Need a Vitamin D Supplement
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Use the Spruce mobile app to communicate with SHCS.
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SHCS is piloting this new technology – student feedback is critical!
Ways to use Spruce:
- Schedule a psychiatry appointment
- Ask to have a referral re-sent to a specialty clinic
- Check on a med refill request
- OUT of TOWN? Do a video visit with your provider!