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Charlottesville Therapists Pledge Over 300 Hours of Free Counseling Sessions Following Aug. 12 Rally

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Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition Press Release:

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Over 50 private therapists have committed more than 300 hours of free counseling support in response to stress and trauma resulting from the attacks of August 12.  

Counseling services from these private, pro-bono therapists and local non-profit organizations are available to anyone in the community by calling the Help Happens Here information and referral line at 434-227-0641.

Research shows that psychological support after a traumatic event can help reduce painful feelings, and prevent or lessen the impact of trauma.

Exposure to traumatic events, whether direct or indirect can result in stress reactions which may include combinations of confusion, fear, hopelessness, helplessness, sleeplessness, physical pain, anxiety, anger, grief, shock, aggressiveness, mistrustfulness, guilt, shame, shaken religious faith, and loss of confidence in self or others.  It is critical to know and recognize signs of stress, and to take steps to manage that stress.  

Some recommendations for stress management resulting from community violence include:

• Know that you are not alone.  Reach out to friends and family members who are likely experiencing feelings similar to your own.

• If feelings of stress are severe or persist beyond 2-4 weeks, find mental health resources through the Help Happens Here referral line 434-227-0641 or website (www.helphappenshere.org).

• Seek support from places and people who help you feel safe, calm, connected, and hopeful, particularly if you are working to address challenging community issues.

• Use gentle exercise as a way to release stress hormones.

• Maintain healthy sleep and eating habits. Reduce consumption of caffeine and alcohol, that can increase stress.

• Take a break from media and social media when needed.  Listen to calming music instead.

• For parents, pay close attention to children and allow them to ask questions.  Model good self-care and find resources on helping them cope with a traumatic event.

As our residents begin to reckon with and integrate their many feelings about the impact of this summer’s events, it is more important than ever to work together to support our community’s mental health needs.  

According to Rebecca Kendall, Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition Director, “Charlottesville is blessed to have many mental health organizations, private providers, and faith-based organizations that are working to provide support to individuals who need it at this time.”

The following are just some of the resources available for managing trauma and stress from recent events.

Counseling Services 

Help Happens Here connects residents with organizations and private therapists offering free counseling support for stress and trauma by calling (434)-227-0641. The referral line is answered Monday-Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. www.helphappenshere.org

Brief, Pro-Bono Counseling is available through Counseling Alliance of Virginia.  Individual and group counseling sessions for residents impacted by the unrest in our community begin August 27. Call (434) 220-0333 to schedule an appointment.

The Women’s Initiative has walk-in appointments on Mondays from 10 a.m. – noon at the Westhaven Nursing Clinic, Tuesdays at the Jefferson School City Center from 9 AM – noon, and Wednesdays from 2-5 at their Main Office. Also check out their free groups and social offerings at www.thewomensinitiative.org.

Region Ten Adult Services has walk-in intake appointments M-F starting at 8:30 at 800 Preston Avenue. Intake appointment are on a first come first served basis. Crisis services are available 24-hours/ day for adults and children. Call 434-972-1800 to connect.

UVA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers emergency assessments and/or consultation to UVA students at no cost. CAPS offers in-person and phone emergency consultation services and can be reached at 434-243-5150. CAPS also provides ongoing psychotherapy for students experiencing trauma. 

On Our Own Charlottesville offers a safe space and free services for those are struggling with life challenges due to trauma, mental illness, addiction, or any interruption to your best well-being. www.onourowncville.org.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) at worksites may offer stress reduction group debriefing and workshops, as well as free, short-term individual counseling for the individuals and their members. If you work for a large employer, ask your supervisor or Human Resources Department about EAP services. 

Counseling Services for Children and Youth

Region Ten Children and Family Services has walk-in appointments Monday, Tuesday, and Friday 9:00 – noon at 500 Old Lynchburg Road or call for an appointment at 434-972-1800.

School Based Student Assistance through Region Ten is available at Charlottesville, Monticello, Albemarle, and Western high schools. Student and parents can self-refer for stress related to recent events through guidance.

Ready Kids Inside Out Counseling Program offers free ongoing counseling for children and teens who have experienced trauma. Families can access this service by calling Shannon Noe 434-296-4118, x230. They also offer free short-term crisis counseling. Teens can call the 24-hour hotline at 434-972-7233.

Wellness Services

Auricular Acupuncture is the insertion of 5 tiny needles in the ear, and has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. It is available for free at Region Ten at 800 Preston Avenue in Charlottesville each weekday at noon.

Common Ground offers a variety of free and affordable stress reduction and wellness services for those impacted by trauma and stress.