O’Barr said CAPS has seen an increase in brief therapy appointments and medication needs this academic semester.
“I think that we're trying to emphasize the fact that good mental health is a daily practice,” he said. “It's not something that you wait until you're crashing to address. Daily practice can be almost anything, certainly we're offering meditation and mindfulness through CAPS, but people also find daily practices through yoga and through martial arts, and through spirituality and those types of things.”
CAPS continues to offer teletherapy and virtual group services, such as meditation and support, on their website.
O’Barr also recommends students employ a consistent schedule to adapt to the challenges that online school poses.
“Not having a schedule for a prolonged period of time really begins to disorient individuals and make it hard to separate work from play, especially if you are always in the same place,” O’Barr said. “So we're recommending that individuals just set up their own schedule and include things that are healthy for them, like exercise and good meals and talking to friends and family.”
Leighann Vinesett, a UNC sophomore majoring in media and journalism, said she lives off campus, which has been advantageous because she can better organize her life and set routines than she would be able to at home.
She said she also has access to social support by being in Chapel Hill with other young adults and having a strong relationship with her mother at home.
“I also call my mom every day, for at least a half hour,” Vinesett said. “She has always been a constant throughout my life, and hearing her voice always manages to calm me down and makes me feel like any problem I’m having is something I can easily solve.”
Joshua Eisner, a UNC sophomore majoring in biology, said he feels isolated because he had to move back home and away from his peers at UNC.
He said he manages by staying productive throughout the day by completing assignments early and doing chores, like chopping firewood in the forest that surrounds his home. He said he also enjoys hiking to get out of his house.
“I have always been the type of person that finds a lot of peace in nature,” he said. “The idea that even though everything has stopped with the pandemic, nature is still carrying on. It is a nice thought.”
O'Barr said even though students are dealing with a lot, he's impressed by how well they've adapted.
"I find the students to be quite resilient," he said.