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Coping In A Crisis

Sadly, local, regional, national, and global critical incidents are too common. While seeking to understand these tragedies there is a psychological impact. Traumatic events leave individuals with varied emotional experiences. These can range from shock and disbelief to other painful emotions such as anger and sorrow. You may also notice that your daily routine may be affected as you notice changes in sleeping, appetite and concentration. Additionally, exposure to such events either in person or in media may change your perceptions about the world. Reactions vary, and so do student needs. There are resources that can be accessed to receive or to support individuals and groups.

Individual Resources
  • To discuss options for ongoing counseling or if you are not sure where to start, call the Counseling Center at 757-221-3620.
  • For urgent or time sensitive concerns, please come to the Counseling for a walk-in urgent appointment.
  • After-hours support is available by calling 757-221-3620 to be connected to a counselor in the evening, overnight, during the weekend, or holidays. 
  • If you have a concern that is urgent or an emergency, please seek immediate assistance by calling 911. 
  • For support managing academic requirements where your attention/concentration and ability to perform is compromised, contact the Dean of Students office, 757-221-2510.
Group Resources
  • Crisis or loss in your group, class, or organization? Please call the Counseling Center directly at 757-221-3620 and request a call back from the next available clinician and we can arrange to support your group.
  • Not in immediate crisis but would like support for your group, class, or organization? Fill out an outreach request form and let us know about how we can support your group.
We recommend these strategies to cope and recover after a crisis:

Note: Your way of coping may be different from how you see others cope and that is completely okay. We all have our own journey for coping and recovering in times of crisis, grief, and loss.

  • Reach out. Talk about your feelings with friends and family. Let them know what you are feeling. Don’t go through things alone!
  • Identify what’s good in the world. Make a list of things and people you are grateful for. This will help to create a counterbalance to what is awful and deeply disheartening.
  • Stay informed, but also step away. It’s important to have the facts and information to stay safe and informed. However, intense and constant reminders about a tragic event can reinforce the negative psychological impacts. Intentionally take a break and do something restorative and focused on creativity, wellness, connection, or rest.
  • Make space for your emotions. We cannot choose our emotions, but we can choose how to cope and move through them. Naming and accepting negative or painful emotions helps you to process your experience and move towards healing.  
  • Self-care, Self-care, Self-care. This is a time to focus on your routine. Make sleep and nutrition a priority. Take time off of school or work if needed and focus on you. It is not recommended to use substances such as alcohol or drugs as these only work to prolong suffering by suppressing your natural emotional reaction. Instead, increase physical activity and engage in creative or mindful strategies such as cooking or engaging in an artistic activity. Seek support from a helping professional. There are many of these professionals across campus (i.e. Health Promotion, Student Health Center, Center for Mindfulness & Authentic Excellence, Campus Ministry, Dean of Students, Campus Living, etc.).
  • Get involved (or stay involved). Connect with others and help make a difference by volunteering or joining a student organization.