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When Staying Home Isn’t Safe — Plus: Virtual Counseling Sessions Now Available

This material was written by a DCCCD licensed counselor. All views expressed in this piece are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of DCCCD.

“Safe at home.”

What a wonderful phrase! Home is a place where you can relax, be comfortable and forget about watching your back or being on the lookout. Where you know nothing bad is going to happen to you. For most of us, that’s what home means.

But unfortunately, that’s not what it means for everyone. For some, home is where the safety stops. Maybe you have to be on guard because the wrong word, facial expression or innocent action could lead to emotional or physical harm. At least before, there were hours a day you could spend on campus, at work or somewhere other than home.

Now, there is often no relief. You may be stuck with the person (or people) who make you uncomfortable, afraid or hurt. Living in constant worry of doing something wrong or dealing with someone’s bad mood creates a stress that is difficult to describe or explain but is all too real.

Here are some strategies that might help get you through this especially tough time:

  • As much as possible (without getting in trouble), try to stay away from that person, whether it’s in your room, in another room, outside, at a relative’s house, etc. When possible, try not to be alone with them so there will at least be someone to witness what happens.
  • Try to stay in touch with people outside your home, by text or video chat. See if you can develop some group chats where you can have a sense of “family” and support outside your house or apartment.
  • As much as possible, if you can have your visits or chats at the same time each day, that can serve as a check-in for someone to know you’re OK — or for someone to know if you’re not OK and they need to reach out to you.
  • Keep some numbers on speed dial, including friends or relatives as well as 911 and the local police. It would be good to have a plan for getting to safety quickly if you need to.

No matter your circumstances, our team of professionally licensed counselors want you to know it’s “okay to say.” We’re proud to announce that a new online counseling system is in place so our team can safely talk with you about your mental health and well-being. You may feel alone during these challenging times, but we’re eager to let you know that our team is here for you.

Keep reading to learn how to use our new virtual counseling program. We’ve also listed community resources you can turn to for further support.

DCCCD Online Counseling for Students

Safe and secure mental health counseling sessions are now available for currently enrolled students through a virtual meeting platform called Webex. Please watch a Webex introduction video to learn more.

To schedule an online counseling appointment, contact your campus Counseling Center at the email address listed below. From there, a member of your campus Counseling Center team will send you a link to complete and submit your intake and consent forms. Please allow yourself about 30 minutes to complete them online. After submitting the forms, you will be able to schedule an appointment.

When you schedule your appointment, a member of the Counseling Center team will email you a Webex calendar invite with the time and date for your session. Please click on the unique link in the calendar invite to join by video, or call the number provided to speak with the counselor by phone at the scheduled time.

Brookhaven Counseling Center:

Cedar Valley Counseling Center:

Eastfield Counseling Center:

El Centro Counseling Center:

Mountain View Counseling Center:

North Lake Counseling Center:

Richland Counseling Center:

Important note: If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911 or visit the nearest hospital emergency room instead of requesting an online counseling session.

Community Mental Health Resources

If you feel the need to speak to someone outside the district, please explore the many community mental health resources available in our area:

  • COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line — call 833-986-1919.
  • The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority can help pay for community psychiatric, mental health and substance abuse services — call 214-366-9407.
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas — call 214-828-1000.
  • National Veterans Crisis Line — call 800-273-8255 and press 1.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline — call 800-799-7233.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline — call 800-656-4673.
  • National Crisis Text Line — text “HOME” to 741741 from anywhere in the United States to message with a trained crisis counselor. Heads up: Standard messaging rates may apply.

Remember, it’s okay to say. If you see something here that could be helpful to someone else, spread the word and share this information. Even if you’re not dealing with a specific mental health issue, chances are you know someone who is.

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