How to Handle Crisis Fatigue for the Everyday College Student
By: EMMA CHEATHAM / PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR
Have you ever felt emotionally numb? Has your appetite been changing unexpectedly? Is your sleep schedule completely out of the ordinary? Are you feeling a wide range of negative emotions like hyperarousal, hyper anxiety, sadness, anger or fear? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these then you might be experiencing crisis fatigue.
Crisis fatigue is a burnout response to the prolonged exposure to unexpected and stressful events, according to Medical News Today.
Healthline gives an explanation as to why crisis fatigue occurs with a quote from Firdaus S. Dhabhar, PhD, professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said, “The fight-or-flight response, or short-term stress, is our friend. The biological stress response can protect us during challenging situations or crises. However, when stress becomes chronic and persists for weeks, months, or years, it can have harmful effects, and in particularly repetitive or severe conditions, could lead to crisis fatigue.”
Think about everything that has happened between 2020 and now such as the pandemic, the death of George Floyd which fueled months of protests and difficult conversations, as well as a large decline in our economy and an ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.
The outside world is changing frequently, and so are we, therefore putting focus on yourself, which is just as important as focusing your attention on things in the news.
It is so important to find a balance between the overarching stressors of our society and the smaller issues people are able to control, but the question is: how are college students managing?
Matthew Morrison, the Director of Psychological Services and Assistant Professor of Psychology at LIU Brooklyn, gave some insight into how to understand these issues and help to solve them.
“Whenever there are big, stressful events going on that are beyond any one individual’s control, it’s important for us to balance our attention to these overarching stressors with attention to smaller things where we can have an effect,” said Morrison.
Morrison highlighted the importance of connecting with friends, family, and one’s communities is so important during this time.
“Sometimes we’d rather hide when we feel bad, but ultimately we are social creatures and we need each other,” said Morrison. “It can be reassuring to be around and confide in others who care about us. Friends, family, religious leaders, teachers—-whomever we can find and whomever we trust.”
Even listening to others is a great way to feel less overwhelmed. Being a resource to someone else can sometimes help to take away from how you are feeling at the moment and lessen your own stress levels.
Due to the time we all spent alone with our thoughts during the quarantine in March of 2020, mental health awareness has grown tremendously. But you don’t have to do it alone!
College campuses have begun to take action with on-campus mental health clinics to help students during these trying times, just like the Psychology Services Clinic here at LIU Brooklyn.
Morrison laid out the Psychology Services Clinic process at LIU Brooklyn, which goes as follows: students first get scheduled for an initial appointment where a counselor will get to know them and figure out what aspects of their personal life they require the most help with. After this, you can start ongoing counseling appointments or get in contact with referrals to providers in the local community.
“We try to really listen carefully and understand each person’s situation. People who’ve never been to counseling before sometimes think it would be a good thing–for someone else! But everyone deserves to be heard and understood and counseling is one route to that,” said Morrison.
The PSC at LIU Brooklyn is here to help anyone and everyone. Students can get in contact with the clinic by email at PSC2021@LIUPSC.com or by visiting their website liupsc.com.