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The Wall Street Journal featured Pace Counseling Center Director Richard Shadick in "Colleges Brace for Potential Increased Need for Mental Health Services"

06/30/2020

The Wall Street Journal featured Pace Counseling Center Director Richard Shadick in "Colleges Brace for Potential Increased Need for Mental Health Services"

As colleges prepare for a school year unlike any other—will classes be in person or online? How can students stay safe in dorms?—their counseling centers are bracing for a wave of student mental health issues.

“Students are experiencing trauma, grief, losses as a result of Covid” and the events surrounding the killing of George Floyd and others, says Barry A. Schreier, director of the university counseling service at the University of Iowa. The losses range from canceled internships and study-abroad programs to the death of relatives from the disease. “We feel like we’re going to be overrun in the fall” with demand for treatment, Dr. Schreier says.

In response, some schools are training professors to spot trauma in students--even if their only interaction with them is via Zoom. Universities are beefing up their teletherapy services, adding online group treatment programs and workshops on everything from managing stress to staying motivated. Schools are pivoting their outreach efforts to the virtual world by unveiling videos, podcasts and self-help tips and amping up their social presence.

Even before the pandemic, mental-health issues were rising among college students: About 24% of college students were diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems in the prior year and 20% were diagnosed with or treated for depression, according to a spring 2019 survey of nearly 68,000 students by the American College Health Association, a research and advocacy group promoting student health. That is up from 10.5% for anxiety and 10.1% for depression in the spring 2009 survey.

In a survey taken in April by Active Minds, a young adult mental-health advocacy organization with chapters on more than 550 college campuses, about 80% of 2,086 college students reported that Covid-19 had “negatively impacted” their mental health.

“It’s hard to focus on your math class or English class when you’re thinking ‘does this even matter?’” says TJ Annerino, a 21-year-old beginning her senior year at Auburn University in Alabama in the fall. Ms. Annerino, who is the incoming president of her school’s Active Minds chapter, plans to be on campus, but fears that renewed outbreaks, inside or outside school, could send her home at any time. She wonders: “Are they going to rip us out of these classes and we’re going to have to go [again]?”

Rice University in Houston does plan to do a small amount of in-person therapy at its counseling center for students who aren’t a fit for teletherapy—with temperature checks, masks for students and therapists, and staggered appointment times to reduce traffic in hallways. Clinical director Elizabeth Plummer has divided her counseling staff into three teams that will not interact. “If one team gets infected, another team can come in,” says Ms. Plummer, a licensed clinical social worker.

Many schools like Pennsylvania State University plan to continue to conduct most of their appointments virtually for safety reasons, at least until infection levels are reduced. Covid-19 seems “primarily spread through breathing shared air. If you think of a counseling appointment, you’re basically breathing shared air for an hour,” says Ben Locke, senior director, counseling and psychological services at Penn State. Also, “communication depends heavily on nonverbal facial expressions. It’s really hard to read facial expressions through a mask,” he says.

One of the problems with teletherapy that cropped up over the spring is that some students don’t have a private place to talk to a therapist. So schools like Pace University in New York and the University of Iowa plan to set aside private space where students can come for their video sessions. The student will “probably be sitting in an office and their therapist will be sitting in their office,” says Iowa’s Dr. Schreier.

When schools shut down in the spring, most counseling centers went almost completely virtual. But the transition was difficult. To be able to serve students across state lines, schools had to deal with a patchwork of state licensing rules that changed quickly. Some students had to stop treatment. Among college students who were looking for mental-health care, 60% said the pandemic had made it more difficult to access such services, according to preliminary data from a survey of 18,700 students by the American College Health Association and the Healthy Minds Study, a research project based at the University of Michigan.

Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma is conducting trauma training for faculty and staff this summer and fall. “For some students, they may have lost a job, or maybe a parent has lost a job. We have students who were sheltering in place in family environments that might not have been the most positive place for them,” says Jessica Heavin, a licensed professional counselor and the college’s director of wellness services. In the training, faculty and staff are taught how to look for behaviors that may indicate trauma like “anger, irritability, a student that seems disengaged,” says Ms. Heavin.

In the wake of the killing of Mr. Floyd and others, “young people of color feel particularly vulnerable,” says Annelle Primm, senior medical director at the Steve Fund, an organization that supports the mental health of this group. In addition, she notes, Americans of color have been more likely to die from Covid-19 and have suffered more job losses than other groups.

At Howard University, a historically Black institution in Washington, D.C., counseling center executive director Michael Barnes is planning an online program for first-year students tentatively titled, “Dreams Deferred: A Modified Freshman Experience,” a nod to a Langston Hughes poem. The program will help students deal with the potential disappointment of a freshman year without in-person group celebrations and traditions.

Before the pandemic, Ohio State University’s counseling center ran around 30 in-person therapy groups. The school also ran a twice-weekly program called “Let’s Talk,” where students could drop in to talk to a clinician without an appointment. After a several-month hiatus because of the pandemic, the school began running a few groups via Zoom in June. More virtual groups will be added in the fall, says Micky Sharma, director of the office of student life counseling and consultation service. The Let’s Talk program has also moved online and has been expanded to five days a week. “It’s an immediate option for students to get support,” says Dr. Sharma, a clinical psychologist.

Pace has launched several online workshops including ones on managing alcohol use, dealing with loss and racial injustice. “We anticipate there will be a fair amount of issues around stalled identity development and around loss of many milestones,” says Richard Shadick, director of the counseling center at Pace’s New York City campus. Penn State rolled out a series of YouTube videos with titles like “Tolerating Distress During Covid-19” and the “The Four Basics of Self-Care.” Howard’s counseling center launched a podcast series on Black male wellness and ramped up its social media presence, posting inspirational messages and tips to handle stress on Instagram and Twitter.

Last spring, Ryan Houston-Dial, a student at the University of Texas at San Antonio, was in the middle of a terrific junior year. “For the first time in a long time, I was really organized,” he says. He was seeing a mental health counselor on campus that he liked. Then the pandemic hit, his school closed and he moved back home with his family in Austin. He struggled with the transition to remote learning and the “cabin fever” of being stuck at home. “The pandemic forced me to just stop. Stop everything,” says Mr. Houston-Dial, now 21 and beginning his senior year in the fall.

Mr. Floyd’s death “was a gut punch,” says Mr. Houston-Dial, who is Black. “I could see myself. I could be not resisting arrest… and could still be murdered in cold blood.” He wrote an opinion piece for his student newspaper and is working with the Steve Fund as a student representative on its Covid-19 task force. “I feel more focused, determined,” he says, but uncertainty weighs on him. Will he be able to see his teachers and his counselor and have his own, in-person graduation? Nobody knows, and “that is stressing me out,” he says.

Read the Wall Street Journal article.

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"The Chronicle of Higher Education" featured Richard Shadick, Director of Pace University’s Counseling Center in "Overburdened mental health counselors look after students"

09/19/2019

"The Chronicle of Higher Education" featured Richard Shadick, Director of Pace University’s Counseling Center in "Overburdened mental health counselors look after students"

...Expectations of counseling services, on the part of universities, students, parents, courts, and the public, are unrealistic, said Richard Shadick, director of Pace University’s Counseling Center. The centers are expected to shoulder the wave of illness, trauma, and unfortunate circumstances that come to their doors when it should be the shared responsibility of faculty, administration, families, and — most of all — the students themselves. “College is a place,” he said by phone, “where young adults should face challenges and learn from these challenges. A university can be helpful in supporting that education, but it’s a partnership.”

Read the full article.

 

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"CGTN America" featured Richard Shadick, director of the Pace University Counseling Center, in "World Suicide Prevention Day: 47000 lives lost each year to suicide in the US"

09/11/2019

"CGTN America" featured Richard Shadick, director of the Pace University Counseling Center, in "World Suicide Prevention Day: 47000 lives lost each year to suicide in the US"

...Suicide prevention specialist Richard Shadick, who heads the Counseling Center at New York City’s Pace University, said it is always important to seek professional help.

“Treatment works. Our problem is not the treatment is not effective. When individuals do seek out treatment, there’s an 80-90 percent improvement rate and a huge drop in the number of suicide deaths when someone is in treatment,” said Shadick. “What tend to be more problematic is individuals who don’t seek treatment and the majority of individuals that kill themselves are not in treatment at the time.”

Experts said someone at risk of suicide can also be helped by others simply reaching out to start a conversation.

Additional strategies include cutting back on cellphone use in favor of social interactions, removing or restricting potential means to suicide, and anticipating potential crises because this can be a constant struggle.

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"VICE" featured Richard Shadick, a professor of psychology and director of the counseling center at Pace University in "Is '13 Reasons Why' Really as Dangerous as People Say? It's Complicated"

05/06/2019

"VICE" featured Richard Shadick, a professor of psychology and director of the counseling center at Pace University in "Is '13 Reasons Why' Really as Dangerous as People Say? It's Complicated"

...So what’s going on here—is one of these studies wildly off-base? Nope. Both studies are accurate (though each has its limitations), and both bring up important points about 13 Reasons Why and television’s portrayal of suicide, said Richard Shadick, a professor of psychology and director of the counseling center at Pace University. Shadick wasn’t involved with either study. 

The important distinction, he said, is the season each team studied. The content and framing is pretty different in seasons one and two—and the latter ends on a more upbeat note than season one did. In the final episode of season one, we watch Hannah take her life. In the final episode of season two, Hannah’s parents hold a memorial service for their daughter and Clay, who’d been haunted by Hannah’s “ghost” all season, moves on. “I love you and I let you go,” he tells her.

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"The Guam Daily Post" featured Richard Shadick, director of the counseling center and adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University in "Think about the best treatment for depression"

10/10/2018

"The Guam Daily Post" featured Richard Shadick, director of the counseling center and adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University in "Think about the best treatment for depression"

The Food and Drug Administration had the following black box warning in 2005.

"Antidepressants increased the risk compare to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder and other psychiatric disorders. Carefully weigh the risks and benefits before starting treatment."

The black box warning was for all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, etc.

This essay was catalyzed by the unexpected suicide of and revelations of chronic depression in Robin Williams, an extremely talented and animated actor and comedian. He was open about his history of treatment for cocaine addiction and alcoholism for the past 25 years or so.

I would like to enlighten readers to the dysfunctional and greed-oriented relationship between the FDA and large pharmaceutical companies known as Big Pharma, specifically Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline. I also would like to discuss how depression is being mistreated by the medical community.

The new edition of the black box warning states: “WARNINGS: Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk.” It also refers to adults. It warns about “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akithisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania,” in regards to the SSRIs.

To get an idea of how the FDA is so eager to protect drug companies, it failed to require them to mention the proven lack of efficacy of these drugs – SSRIs – in treating depression.

In the book “Talking Back to Prozac,” Dr. Peter Breggin pointed out that Prozac was approved under the first Bush administration. He wrote, "George Bush had been a member of the board of directors of Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac.” Breggin noted, “Vice President Dan Quayle was from Indiana, the home state and international headquarters for Eli Lilly. At the time the FDA was approving Prozac, Quayle employed former Eli Lilly personnel on his own staff." The doctor also noted that Quayle had leverage over the FDA as the chair of a special committee that was investigating Eli Lilly’s operations.

Do your own research with this question in mind: How does the medical community, psychiatry specifically, and the neuro-psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex deal with the mounting evidence that antidepressants are not only dangerous but also useless for adults and children?

Do your homework to discover the following most efficient treatments of depression. After anxiety and stress, depression is the most common mental health disorder.

Talking is the best treatment for depression. It includes various psychological talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, group and psychodynamic therapy, and psychotherapy.

According to Richard Shadick, director of the counseling center and adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University in New York City, states the research overwhelmingly asserts, “Psychotherapy, with or without medication, is the best way to treat depression.” Shadick added, "Exercise, if done correctly, is one of the most promising natural treatments for depression. It elevates mood quickly and reliably."

Read the full article.