Concerns we address
"The Retreat" Newsletter
Loyola Counseling Center Statement Loss of Molly Fredette
The Counseling Center joins our campus community in mourning the death of Molly Fredette, Director of The Study. Molly was a cherished mentor, colleague, and friend. She was truly dedicated to supporting student growth and success, not only in their academic pursuits, but in all areas of their lives. Whether you had the good fortune of knowing Molly personally, or if you are just learning about her now, her passing may bring up many emotions and questions. Sudden or unexpected death can leave us feeling shaken, unsure, and vulnerable. News of this loss may also bring rise to emotions about previous losses in one’s life. The Counseling Center is available to support students during this time. Call the Center at 410-617-2273 or view our Online Scheduling page to make an appointment. After-hours support is available through the Crisis Line at 410-617-5530. Learn more about coping with grief and loss.
Loyola Counseling Center Statement on Vicarious Trauma
It is with heart wrenching sadness and anger that we are all watching the news about the murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee at the hands of police. Our hearts go out to the family and community who’ve suffered this violence and loss, as well as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color everywhere who are relentlessly retraumatized by these killings. This murder is not an isolated incident – in the past few weeks alone, our country has experienced a number of mass shootings targeting communities of color and in our own city of Baltimore and surrounding areas, there have been too many individuals killed by gun violence. As former President Obama once stated, “it is clear that these fatal shootings are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system and our communities. As a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce racial bias.”
Systemic racism is not new to the fabric of American life. Neither are acts of violence targeting BIPOC communities Over recent years we’ve been continuously exposed to images, videos and first-hand accounts of this brutality and violence. Exposure to this violent media, and witnessing others’ suffering can cause a traumatic response, known as secondary trauma. Secondary trauma frequently presents with the same physiological and psychological symptoms we expect from primary trauma. Individuals who’ve personally witnessed or been the victim of discrimination or violence are more vulnerable to secondary trauma, as are those who hold identities that make them more likely to be targets of this violence.
Community members who provide emotional support to others in the wake of racist violence can be affected as well. This includes more than helping professionals. Vicarious Trauma can occur in friends, family, and community members who are the “rocks” and listening ears of their communities. Vicarious trauma, just like secondary or primary, can mirror symptoms of PTSD.
Signs of Secondary or Vicarious Trauma:
- Difficulty concentrating or persisting in tasks.
- Feelings of numbness, hopelessness, anger, or overwhelm.
- Experiencing trauma imagery- not just media or memories, but visualizations of described events.
- Physical and emotional hypervigilance for threats or danger.
- Physically or emotionally withdrawing from others- particularly salient for vicarious trauma amongst community/family/friend “rocks” or helpers and may be harder to detect.
- Spiritual doubt and worry.
- Fundamental shifts in beliefs about the world, people, and the future.
To help manage the impact of this types of trauma, please consider the following.
- Take a break from the news: Information overload can be upsetting and constantly being exposed to trauma can be triggering and negatively impact your mood. Make an effort to switch off your screens.
- Show yourself compassion: The wide, varying, and ever-changing feelings you are experiencing are valid. Allow yourself to feel and acknowledge emotions without judgment and without being consumed by them. Instead, allow yourself to come out on the other end of emotions with love and care, knowing that many experiences are accessible and likely during these tough times.
- Make time to unwind: Make time each day to do something you enjoy and that makes you feel rejuvenated. Make sure to take care of your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.
- Connect with others: Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling. Collective spaces for healing and care can be powerful forms of resistance, provide safe holding spaces, and benefit your health by showing you that you aren’t alone in your experience and others can help you meet your needs
- Take care of your body: Meditate, eat well-balanced meals, take deep breaths, create a safe and comforting sleep routine. Resistance requires rest and rest can be radical when existing within systems of oppression.
It’s important to take care of yourself and make space for emotions and healing.
General Tips for Faculty and Staff in Supporting Students
- Check in on how they are doing
- Do not assume that trauma only exists in individuals directly involved with distressing events
- Let students know about Counseling Center resources
° Individual Counseling – Brief Individual Counseling and one-time Let’s Talk conversations
° Affinity Spaces – Empower Support Group, Time and Space Support Group
° Emergency Services (410-617-2273 during business hours; 410-617-5530 after-hours)
- Recognize that different students may have different needs and emphasize a willingness to meet students where they are. Whenever possible, be flexible with your expectations.
- Promote and practice self-care
- When individuals of color discuss or disclose experiences of racism, believe them. Do not minimize what happened. Listen and respond with validation. You can respond by using a phrase like:
° “I appreciate you trusting me with that. You have every right to be hurt by that behavior.”
° “I’m here to support you. If you want additional support, we can talk about resources together.”
Resources for Coping with Racial Trauma:
As always, support is available for students who may feel the need to process their reactions with someone. Confidential, free counseling is available at the Counseling Center in Humanities 150 (one flight up via the turret entrance down the ramp outside Starbucks); 410-617-2273. After hours emergency support is available whenever the counseling center is closed at 4100-617-5530. At busy times it may take a few minutes for someone to answer, but someone will always answer.
For faculty and staff, the Employee Assistance Program is available to provide support. You can arrange an appointment by calling 1-800-765-0770.
Meanwhile, take care of you and let’s support one another.
Loyola Counseling Center Land Acknowledgement
The staff at the Counseling Center humbly acknowledges and honors the Indigenous communities whose ancestral homelands and resources were stolen and colonized in the creation of this nation, state and campus. We recognize the Piscataway, Nanticoke and Lumbee as past, present, and future caretakers of this land.
A land acknowledgement is a small and insufficient step towards correcting the narrative and injustice of colonialism both past and present. While this small act will never erase the atrocities that have been endured by Indigenous peoples both locally and around the world, it is a part of our ongoing commitment to uplifting the sovereignty of Indigenous communities. We are therefore committed to resisting the oppression that takes many forms, including the attack on mental health, threat to the environment, and continued violence caused by systems of racism.