U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

We acknowledge and offer our support and condolences to all those that have been impacted either directly or indirectly by the recent terrorist attack and hate crime in Orlando, Florida. We mourn the loss of innocent people who have been taken from the LGBTQ communities in Orlando, and recognize this is a loss for all LGBTQ communities and allies throughout our nation. June is identified as a month for celebration of LGBTQ pride, making it even more poignant that we must now reflect with sympathy and compassion on the lives lost to targeted violence.

We also want to acknowledge the multiple and intersecting identities (both visible and invisible) that all people hold, and extend our heartfelt condolences to the additional communities that are irreversibly altered. In this moment of senseless violence, we are aware of the fact that it was Latinx night at Pulse and most of the lives lost were members of those communities as well.  We are also thinking about our Muslim community as they experience fear of retaliation and Islamophobia.  Although we cannot fully grasp the suffering of those touched by the tragedy in Orlando, any violent act of hate, discrimination, and prejudice is something that deeply affects us as a campus community that strives for inclusion of all people. 

We often face national tragedies with unanswered questions, anxiety, feelings of anger and profound sadness, concerns for our safety and the safety of others, and marked psychological distress. At CAPS, we encourage one another to reach out to loved ones and do what is comfortable and safe to support each other.  Love and support, for individuals and communities, is always the antidote to hate and the ingredients that will begin to foster healing.

We at CAPS encourage you to be aware that such intense feelings can and often do cause additional physical and mental strain. As you go through the next few days or several weeks, you may feel more fatigued and be having difficulty concentrating, sleeping, and eating normally. Many of you may find yourselves crying or getting angry more easily. In fact, you may direct irritation or aggression at people or things that usually would not bother you.

Just remember, that stressful times require us to be easier on ourselves. It is very important to be extra caring of ourselves at this time. Some effective ways of coping with stress and related emotions might include:

MANAGING OUR INFORMATION INTAKE

Recognize what you can and cannot control. One way people try to gain a sense of control is by gathering information and being knowledgeable about the issue. Unfortunately, sometimes having more information can increase stress. It is wise to monitor whether news and excessive social media exposure has a positive or negative impact on you and how much is right for you.

CREATE AND CONNECT WITH A CARING COMMUNITY

  • Pay attention to specific needs of yourself and others around social identity group membership -- i.e., sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender. The Orlando massacre may result in a heightened sense of awareness of your identities.
  • Talking over your concerns with other people in a safe, comfortable environment could be very helpful.
  • Actively find ways to not be alone: Spending time with friends, family, colleagues, or social groups who are willing/able to listen to you can be extremely helpful. Even if you do not feel like talking, being with others who are experiencing the same feelings and talking about them can be comforting.
  • Participate in counseling and other support services: Many support services are available to provide you with a safe space to share concerns, worries, fears, and/or anxieties. See resources elsewhere in this page. 
  • Turn to your spiritual and religious faiths: If you belong to a spiritual or religious  community, gathering together for worship, prayer, discussion, a meal or other forms of religious or spiritual expression, can strengthen the bonds of human connections and be a force of comfort in your life.

ASKING FOR HELP

At a stressful time, asking for help can be very difficult for some people. Sometimes, it is not an easy step. People often do not like to ask others for help or to involve outsiders with these kinds of difficulties unless there is considerable distress and unhappiness and until after they have tried everything else. It takes sound judgment to know when additional help is needed and courage to ask for it.

So don't be afraid to ask for help. If it is hard for you, learn how to ask comfortably, knowing that you have the need, the right, and the inborn ability to do it. Much more often than you think, other people (friends, family and professionals) are more than willing to help provide you with a listening ear.

As the significance and scope of this tragedy continue to unfold, please know that support is available. If you are on campus, you can reach out to CAPS (734-764-8312) by scheduling an appointment, utilizing our counselor-on-duty service, or calling CAPS After Hours.  If you are away from Ann Arbor you can also use the CAPS After Hours line or the national Trevor Project crisis line (1-866-488-7386).

The UM Spectrum Center will be hosting a drop-in space this Friday from noon-4 pm. Director Will Sherry has written a message that can be found HERE.

A community concert of Mozart's Requiem will be performed at Hill Auditorium to honor the victims on Tuesday night (6/14). More information can be found HERE.

National and International gatherings can be found HERE.

A collection of UM Campus and National Responses and Resources can be found HERE.

 

Article published in June 2016