Skip to Main Content

Common Issues and Resources

Common Issues and Resources

Whether you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty at home or at school, we can help you overcome it. Here you can find information on common issues as well as helpful resources.

  • Anxiety

    Do you worry a lot? Is your worrying excessive? Does it interfere with your schoolwork or daily activities? If so, you may suffer from an anxiety disorder. You are not alone.

    Anxiety Statistics

    • Close to 7% of college students report having symptoms.
    • More than 40 million people are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder each year.
    • Anxiety disorders can develop at any age, but are likely to begin to show themselves during teenage years and young adulthood (20s).
    • Women are twice as likely than men to experience anxiety.
    • 30% of all women will suffer from some kind of anxiety at some point in their lives. 

    What is anxiety?

    Anxiety is related to stress. Like stress, it is part of our bodies’ fight or flight response, which helps us to prepare for dangerous situations. Everyone experiences some anxiety during their life; it is natural.

    However, some people experience more intense anxiety than others. If you experience persistent anxiety in everyday life, you may want to seek help or more information.

    Signs of an Anxiety Disorder

    • Constant, chronic and unsubstantiated worry that causes significant distress, disturbs your social life and interferes with classes and work
    • Avoidance of common social situations for fear of being judged, embarrassed or humiliated
    • Repeated, random panic attacks or persistent worry/anticipation of another panic attack and feelings of terror or impending doom
    • Irrational fear or avoidance of an object, place or situation that poses little or no threat of danger
    • Performing uncontrollable, repetitive actions, such as washing your hands repeatedly or checking things over and over
    • Ongoing and recurring nightmares flashbacks or emotional numbing relating to a traumatic event in your life that occurred several months or years ago
     

    If you think you or someone you know suffers from an anxiety disorder, please get help. Contact Counseling Health & Services: Bold Hall, Rooms 261 and 259 or 412-847-2506.

    More Information 

    To help make mental health information accessible, inclusive and easy to understand visit Anxiety.org.

  • Bullying

    Bullying is a serious problem that can affect people of any age. Bullying can include cyberbullying, hazing, harassment, stalking and physical aggression. Experiencing bullying in college can be particularly isolating as students are away from friends and family.

    Individuals who experience bullying are at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, academic problems, substance abuse and suicide. La Roche Counseling & Health Services provides support and resources for any student experiencing bullying, and is committed to working with students to end all bullying.

    Statistics on bullying (PACER National Bullying Prevention Center):

    • One out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year
    • 64% of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36% reported the bullying
    • More than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied
    • School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%
    • The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%) and race (16%)

    Facts about bullying (PACER National Bullying Prevention Center):

    • Bullying directly affects students’ ability to learn
    • Students who are bullied are more likely to experience low self-esteem, isolation, perform poorly in school, experience physical symptoms (headaches, stomachaches, or problems sleeping), and experience mental health issues (depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety)
    • Bystanders can be powerful allies: 57% of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes
    • Bullying is not a “rite of passage” but a serious threat to student safety and well-being
    • Bullying affects many aspects of the individual’s life:
      • Education – School avoidance, loss of academic achievement and increase in dropout rates
      • Health – Physical and emotional issues including stomachaches, headaches, sleeping issues, depression, fear and anxiety
      • Safety – Harm to self and others, including self-isolation, increased aggression, alienation and retaliation
    • Anyone can bully, and anyone can be bullied
    • Bullying is a behavior, not an identity
    • Bullying is about power and control

    How Young Adults Can Get Help: Talk to someone you trust

    • Determine if the behavior violates campus policies or laws. Review La Roche student Code of Conduct, Pennsylvania state laws and Pennsylvania civil rights laws
    • Report criminal acts to campus or community law enforcement

    Additional Resources

    Reach out to Counseling & Health Services in Bold Hall, Rooms 261 and 259. Schedule an appointment with a counselor at 412-847-2506.
  • COVID-19

    Navigating a public health crisis like COVID-19 is stressful and upsetting for all of us, and it is normal to have a wide range of emotions during this time. The following resources are available to help you manage your mental health, especially if you feel anxious, depressed or overwhelmed.

    Helplines

    PA Support & Referral Helpline
    1-855-284-2494, toll-free
    For TTY, dial 724-631-5600
    This free resource is staffed by skilled and compassionate caseworkers available to counsel Pennsylvanians. The hotline can be reached 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

    Disaster Distress Helpline
    1-800-985-5990
    This 24/7 line is available to anyone affected by any disaster.

    Keystone Disaster Spiritual Care Network COVID-19 Helpline
    1-888-255-6520
    A trained volunteer is available 24/7 to provide spiritual and emotional support to anyone seeking guidance or needing to talk to someone during this time of uncertainty.

    In-person Support

    Re:solve Crisis Network
    1-888-796-8226
    1-888-7-YOU-CAN
    Mobile crisis teams provide round-the-clock, mental health crisis intervention and stabilization services for residents of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.

    More Resources

    These videos can help you cope with anxiety, depression, lack of motivation or any variety of struggles or hurdles you may be facing.

  • Depression

    Clinical depression is more than feeling blue or sad for a few hours or days. It is a mood disorder that has a much stronger and longer-lasting impact on daily life.

    Depression is the most common mood disorder experienced in the United States, and college students are at risk because of the stressful college environment. If depression goes untreated, it can interfere with school, work, relationships and all other aspects of life.

    Symptoms of Depression

    Here are some symptoms of depression that can vary in intensity:
    • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
    • Frequent crying
    • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
    • Loss of sexual desire
    • Thoughts of suicide
    • Persistent sadness, anxiety or “empty” mood
    • Pessimism and feelings of hopelessness
    • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
    • Change in sleep (e.g. difficulty sleeping, oversleeping, early-morning awakening)
    • Appetite change such as overeating, under eating, weight loss or weight gain
    • Decrease in energy. Feeling fatigued/ being “slowed down”
    • Irritability/restlessness
    • Lack of concentration, inability to concentrate, remember or make decisions
    • Physical symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, digestive problems that do not respond to medical treatment

    Types of Depression

    Mild depression

    Mild depression usually does not require treatment. It is brief and the symptoms are mild and are usually lifted with the passing of time. People may experience mild depression during transitions, holidays, stressful times, etc.

    Moderate depression

    Symptoms of moderate depression are more intense and have a longer duration. However, those suffering from moderate depression are usually able to manage and cope with life. Suicide may be a threat if there is an intense feeling of hopelessness. Professional help may be necessary. Moderate depression can be brought on by major life events such as death, rape or career setback.

    Severe depression

    Severe depression requires professional treatment that often includes medication. A person suffering from severe depression often suffers from intense symptoms, behavior change and social withdrawal. Severe depression can persist for a long period of time ranging from two weeks to many years.

    Causes of Depression

    Depression can develop due to a variety of circumstances and is usually due to a combination of reasons:

    • Personality type
    • Environmental influences
    • Biochemical factors
    • Genetic patterns
    • Negative attitudes
    • Seasonal change

    For an online depression screening and/or more information about depression, visit:

    The National Institute of Mental Health

    The National Mental Health Association

    Pittsburgh’s Crisis and Suicide Hotline: 412-820-4357

    Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-796-8226

    La Roche Counseling & Health Services: Bold Hall Rooms 261 and 259 or 412-847-2506

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse

    Drug abuse and addiction affects millions of Americans. Abuse and addiction not only affect users but also the people surrounding them. College is a time when binge drinking occurs most often, which has potentially dangerous outcomes. Students also may begin to experiment with other substances.

    Drugs and alcohol are dangerous toxins that poison the body and can lead a person into a life of agony and disappointment. Substance abuse not only leads to physical problems, but psychological problems as well.

    What is addiction?

    Addiction has many different definitions and is a controversial term. People can suffer from both physical and psychological addiction.

    Generally, addiction includes:

    • Drug craving and drug seeking 
    • An inability to stop using, due to physical and psychological consequences or withdrawal
    • Feeling that you need the substance to function 
    • Continuing to use substances despite negative consequences such as legal problems, academic problems and relationship conflicts

    Addicts often try to limit their use following negative consequences but tend to fail in doing so. They also feel guilty for their use but are unable to stop.

    What is Substance Abuse?

    Substance abuse involves using drugs or alcohol to change the way you feel about yourself. Abusers may experience some negative consequences of their use, but are able to begin to limit their use to prevent further consequences.

    Usually substance abusers will keep those limits. Substance abusers may receive complaints about their use from others but accept them as concern. It is not unlikely for a substance abuser to develop into an addict.

    Warning Signs of Addiction

    Addiction to any drug may include these general characteristics:

    • Feeling that you need the drug on a regular basis to have fun, relax or deal with your problems 
    • Giving up familiar activities such as sports, homework or hobbies 
    • Sudden changes in work or school attendance and quality of work or grades 
    • Doing things you normally wouldn’t do to obtain drugs, such as frequently borrowing money or stealing items from employer, home or school 
    • Taking uncharacteristic risks, such as driving under the influence or sexually risky behavior 
    • Anger outbursts, acting irresponsibly and overall attitude change 
    • Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming. 
    • Wearing sunglasses and/or long sleeve shirts frequently or at inappropriate times 
    • No longer spending time with friends who don't use drugs and/or associating with known users 
    • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors such as frequent trips to storage rooms, restroom, basement, etc. 
    • Needing to use more of the drug of choice to achieve the same effects 
    • Talking about drugs all the time and pressuring others to use with you 
    • Feeling exhausted, depressed, hopeless or suicidal

    But I only drink alcohol, I don't do drugs.

    Alcohol is a drug. In fact, the physical withdrawal from alcohol is more dangerous than most drugs, including heroin. Since binge drinking occurs so often on college campuses, there is a concern of students drinking to the point of acute alcohol poisoning.

    Acute alcohol poisoning occurs when someone drinks too much, too fast. Without knowing the proper signs and symptoms, students often leave their drunken friends alone to “sleep it off.”

    Unfortunately many of these students never awake because their blood alcohol content continues to rise after they stop drinking.

    Never leave a drunken friend alone, especially when they show the following signs and symptoms:

    • Unconsciousness or semi-consciousness
    • Slow respiration (eight or less breaths per minute or lapse of more than 10 minutes)
    • Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin
    • Strong odor of alcohol
    • Repeated episodes of vomiting
    • Vomiting while sleeping or passed out, and not waking up after vomiting

    What should I do if I think someone has acute alcohol poisoning?

    • If you encounter someone with one or more of the above symptoms, call 911 immediately. 
    • While waiting for the ambulance, gently turn the intoxicated person on his or her side and maintain that position. This keeps the airway open, and prevents choking if the person vomits. 
    • Stay with the person until medical help arrives.

    Why does acute alcohol poisoning occur?

    Acute alcohol poisoning happens because the liver can only metabolize one drink (5 oz. wine, 1.5 oz. of distilled liquor or 12 oz. beer) per hour. When people binge drink or drink too fast, the liver gets behind, and more alcohol enters the blood stream, which then directly affects the brain.

    Statistics

    • Between 2-3% of the current American college population will die from alcohol-related causes. 
    • Thirty percent of college failure is alcohol-related. 
    • Drinking and driving is the number one killer of Americans between the ages of 17-24. 
    • In the United States, 70 people are killed daily in drunk driving accidents; that is roughly one person killed every 22 minutes. 
    • 69% of all drownings are alcohol-related. 
    • One in every three suicides involves alcohol. 
    • The average female college student spends $150 per year on alcohol. 
    • The average male college student spends $300 per year on alcohol. 
    • The average DUI arrest costs the charged person $3,000. 
    • Alcohol plays a role in 50% of all arrests. 
    • 90% of the vandalism that occurs on college campuses is a result of alcohol use. 
    • 75 to 90% of campus rapes involve alcohol use. 
    • 75% of men and 50% of women involved in sexual assaults had been drinking prior to the assault. 
    • The abuse of alcohol is present in 70% of all murders and other violent crimes. 
    • 54% of alcoholics have an alcoholic parent. 
    • One out of three Americans don’t drink, and that’s okay. 

    If you or someone you know leads a life of addiction, or questions their drug and alcohol consumption, please seek help.

    Links to local recovery in our area: 

    Narcotics Anonymous

    Alcoholics Anonymous

    Al -Anon

    Opioid Overdose

    Opioid overdose is a growing problem, and one that is traumatic for anyone involved. It is important for people to help someone who is overdosing from opioids and to get them proper medical care. If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, you can start by educating yourself.

    Overdose Resources

    Prevention Point Pittsburgh 

    Prevention Point Pittsburgh services include:

    907 West Street 5th floor
    Pittsburgh, PA 15221
    Every Sunday

    Oakland
    Noon - 3 p.m.
    3441 Forbes Ave.
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213

    Overdose Prevention Project: Allegheny County Health Department 

    Find a list of pharmacies that prescribe naloxone, naloxone FAQ and other resources, and a list of prescription drug take-back services. 

    Overdose Free PA

    This is a statewide initiative, including statistics on overdoses, education for family and friends, overdose news stories, a list of overdose resources by county and a statewide interactive map of

    What is an opioid?

    Opioids are drugs which are used to treat pain. Some common opioids that you may be familiar with include heroin, oxycodone (Oxycontin), Vicodin, codeine, Percocet, Opana, methadone, fentanyl and Percodan.

    How can you tell if someone has overdosed?

    • Passed out.
    • Does not respond when you shake them or yell.
    • Choking, snoring or irregular breathing, or not breathing at all.
    • Vomiting.
    • Skin color is blue, purple, or gray.

    All or only some of these symptoms may be present.

    What should I do if it looks like someone has overdosed?

    • Call 911 Immediately - Opioid overdoses are extremely dangerous. Call 911 before taking any other action.
    • Perform rescue breathing.
    • Administer Narcan (Naloxone).
    • If on campus, call Public Safety after calling 911.

    Training Links

    GetNaloxoneNow.org 

  • Eating Disorders

    Eating disorders are serious, have many negative consequences and are potentially life-threatening. Since there is a stigma associated with eating disorders, many people suffer from them alone for many years. With treatment, eating disorders can be cured.

    Food should not control anyone’s life. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, seek help. Recovery is possible.

    The two most commonly known eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.

    Anorexia Nervosa

    Anorexia Nervosa consists of self-starvation and excessive, unhealthy weight loss. There are five primary symptoms of anorexia:

    • Inability to maintain at or above the minimally normal body weight determined by height, body type, age and activity level.
    • Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat.”
    • Continually feeling overweight or “fat,” despite dramatic weight loss.
    • Loss of menstrual periods in post-puberty women and girls.
    • Extreme/obsessive concern with body weight and shape.

    Anorexia Statistics

    • Anorexia has one of the highest death rates of any mental health condition.
    • 90-95% of anorexia nervosa sufferers are female.
    • Anorexia typically begins in early to mid-adolescence.
    • 1-2% of American women suffer from anorexia.

    Health Consequences

    Since anorexia nervosa consists of self-starvation, the body begins to shut down/slow down due to malnutrition in order to conserve energy.

    Here are some medical consequences of self-starvation:

    • Low blood pressure and slow heart rate, which increases the risk for heart failure
    • Osteoporosis resulting in dry, brittle bones
    • Muscle loss and weakness
    • Severe dehydration, which can lead to kidney failure
    • Overall weakness and fatigue including fainting and dizziness
    • Hair loss
    • Dry skin
    • Growth of a layer of hair all over the body in attempt to keep the body warm

    * Anorexia facts and statistics taken from Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention (1998).

    For more information

    The National Eating Disorders Association

    The National Institute of Mental Health

    The National Mental Health Association

    Bulimia Nervosa

    Bulimia Nervosa is a cycle of bingeing and purging and has three main symptoms:

    • Out of control eating/Binge eating. Eating large quantities of food in short periods of time disregarding feelings of "hunger" of "fullness."
    • Following a binge with some sort of purge/compensating behavior to make up for the caloric intake which can include self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, fasting or obsessive/compulsive exercise.
    • Obsessive thoughts/concern with body weight and shape.

    Bulimia Statistics

    • 1-4% of college age women suffer from bulimia
    • 1-3% of middle and high school girls suffer from bulimia
    • 80% of all bulimia sufferers are female
    • Sufferers are often of an average body weight

    Health Consequences

    Bingeing and purging can have many harmful effects on the body. It can disrupt the entire digestive system and lead to imbalances in the body that can affect the heart and other organs.

    Some medical consequences of bulimia include:

    • Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and death
    • Inflammation of the esophagus from frequent self-induced vomiting.
    • Irregular bowel movements and constipation
    • Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids
    • Ulcers and pancreatitis
    • Gastric rupture

    * Bulimia facts and statistics taken from Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention (1998).

    For more information

    The National Eating Disorders Association

    The National Institute of Mental Health

    The National Mental Health Association

    Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-796-8226

    La Roche Counseling & Health Services: 412-847-2506 or Bold Hall, 261 and 259

  • Gambling

    What is Problem Gambling?

    Problem gambling is gambling behavior that causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational.

    This behavior includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as pathological or compulsive gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by:

    • Increasing preoccupation with gambling
    • A need to bet more money more frequently
    • Restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop
    • “Chasing” losses
    • Loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious and negative consequences.

    National Counsel on Problem Gambling

    Understanding how gambling works and the dangers that are associated with gambling is an important step in your journey.

    Gamblers Anonymous (GA) uses the following to help individuals determine whether they have a gambling problem. A compulsive gambler will answer “yes” to at least seven of the questions:

    1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
    2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
    3. Did gambling affect your reputation?
    4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
    5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
    6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
    7. After losing, did you feel that you had to return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
    8. After a win, did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
    9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
    10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
    11. Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
    12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
    13. Did gambling make you careless about the welfare of your family?
    14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
    15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
    16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
    17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
    18. Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
    19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
    20. Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

    Information from: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org

    Gambling at your Fingertips - Everywhere

    Remote gambling is any form of gambling in which a person participates by the use of remote communication and players do not need to be face to face. It can be conducted from the safety of a gambler’s own home, car, airplane, street corner, café, school room, board room or any place a remote communication device is operable.

    What makes remote gambling a growing concern?

    • It is immediate - accessed from anywhere, anytime.
    • It is a solitary endeavor.
    • It is even more hidden than other forms of gambling.
    • Others know that it is a problem only after their lives have been painfully affected.

    Remote gambling includes:

    • Internet sites
    • Mobile devices for text messaging and Internet/web access
    • Cell phone, telephone
    • Interactive TV

    Facts on Remote Gambling

    • In 2005 it was estimated that the internet had over 2,500 gambling sites and that number continues to grow
    • Online poker has over 400 websites and is growing.
    • It is estimated that there are over 5 million online transactions conducted per day, or an average of about 300 bets per second.
    • There is no U.S. regulation on how the sites control payouts and percentages of payoffs. The sites could manipulate the gambler to think they are skilled and can outplay the others on the site. If the gambler wins and plays with greater amounts of money the site could decrease the gambler’s odds.

    Remote gambling is attractive to persons who:

    • Want immediate access
    • Are socially shy and lack confidence
    • Prefer privacy
    • Are uncomfortable with physical nearness to others
    • Disabled and do not want to be seen as different
    • Want to decrease social barriers based on sex, race, age or disability
    • Want to be someone they are not

    Remote Gambling makes the gambler feel:

    • Uninhibited - people do and say things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say in the real world
    • Interactive with others without face-to-face contact
    • As if they can escape and get away from the real world
    • Intelligent, skilled and all powerful until they start losing

    Thoughts of the Remote Gambler

    • You don’t know me – anonymity
    • You can’t see me – invisibility
    • See you later – don’t relate in real time, wait for messages
    • It’s just a game - real money does not change hands; it’s all credits
    • We’re equals - authority really does not exist

    What Remote Gambling Provides

    Gratification: No waiting, instant
    Anticipation: Removed gambling, instant action, adrenaline rush
    Companion: Always there when needed
    Fantasy: Takes you to it, change persona
    Expression: In a private world, more satisfying than real life
    Ego: Boosts for fragile/bruised ego
    Freedom: Lacking boundaries and constraints. Limit only by extent cash/credit
    Chasing: Access to chase losses is as close as the nearest computer
    A Chance: A chance to lose financial resources, friends, jobs, family, freedom, etc.

    Remote gambling does not include face-to-face encounters. It is solitary and unmonitored.

    Awareness of this problem needs to be a family matter; the people most likely to discover the gambling problem are family, friends and those closest to the gambler.

    Information from: http://www.pgcb.state.pa.us

    Is someone you know…

    • Preoccupied with gambling (i.e. reliving past gambling experiences, planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)?
    • Secretive about his/her gambling habits, and defensive when confronted?
    • Increasing bet amounts when gambling in order to achieve the desired excitement (“high”)?
    • Trying unsuccessfully to control, cut back, or stop gambling?
    • Restless or irritable when not gambling?
    • Gambling to escape problems?
    • Chasing losses with more gambling?
    • Lying to family and others about the extent of gambling?
    • Committing crimes to finance gambling?
    • Jeopardizing or losing relationships, jobs, education or career opportunities because of gambling?
    • Relying on others to bail him or her out to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling?

    If any of these statements sound like someone you know, that person may have a problem with gambling.

    There is help for the family members and friends of a compulsive gambler in Gam-anon

    Information from Gam-anon: http://www.gam-anon.org/

    Myths and Facts about Gambling

    Myth: You have to gamble every day to be a problem gambler.

    Fact: A problem gambler may gamble frequently or infrequently. If a person’s gambling is causing psychological, financial, emotional, marital, legal or other difficulties for themselves and the people around them, then they have a gambling problem.

    Myth: Problem gamblers gamble at any opportunity on any form of gambling.

    Fact: Most problem gamblers have a favorite form of gambling that causes them problems. Some gamblers also engage in secondary forms of gambling, but these are not usually as problematic.

    Myth: Problem gamblers are irresponsible people.

    Fact: Many problem gamblers hold, or have held, responsible community positions. In addition, even people with a long history of responsible behavior are vulnerable to developing a gambling problem. When a person is having a problem gambling episode, that person is unable to control their gambling and in this compromised state their actions look like irresponsible behavior.

    Myth: If a problem gambler builds up a debt, the important thing to do is to help them get out of the financial problem as soon as possible.

    Fact: Quick fix solutions are often attractive to everyone involved and may appear to be the right thing to do, however, “bailing” the gambler out of debt may actually make matters worse by enabling gambling problems to continue.

    Myth: Problem gambling is easy to recognize.

    Fact: Problem gambling has been called the hidden addiction. It is very easy to hide as it has few recognizable symptoms, unlike alcohol and drug use. Many problem gamblers themselves do not recognize they have a gambling problem. Problem gamblers often engage in self-denial.

    March 5-11, 2007 Adapted from Chris Lobsinger’s Problem Gambling Pages.

    Helpful Links

    Pennsylvania's website

    Gambler’s Anonymous

    Gam-Anon

    Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders

    National Council on Problem Gambling

    National Problem Gambling Awareness

    Resolve Crisis Network: 1.888.7.YOU CAN (1.888.796.8226)

    If you feel gambling affects your life in a negative way, contact Counseling and Health Services: 412-847-2506, Bold Hall, Rooms 261 and 259.

  • Grief and Loss

    Losing a loved one can be the most stressful event in someone’s life. Bereavement is the term used to identify the feeling you encounter after you lose someone you love. This term means “to be deprived by death.” After the death, you may feel many emotions such as:

    • Denial
    • Disbelief
    • Confusion
    • Shock
    • Sadness
    • Yearning
    • Anger
    • Humiliation
    • Despair
    • Guilt

    It takes time to fully absorb the impact of a major loss. You never stop missing your loved one, but the pain eases after time and allows you to move on with your life.

    Mourning A Loved One

    Mourning is the natural process you go through to accept a major loss. Grieving is the outward expression of your loss. It is important to express these emotions.

    Dealing with a Major Loss

    The death of a loved one is always difficult. Your reactions are influenced by the circumstances of a death, particularly when it is sudden or accidental. Your relationship with the person who died also influences your reactions.

    A child’s death arouses an overwhelming sense of injustice: for lost potential, unfulfilled dreams and senseless suffering. Parents may feel responsible for the child’s death, no matter how irrational that may seem. Parents also may feel that they lost a vital part of their own identity.

    A spouse’s death is very traumatic. In addition to the severe emotional shock, the death may cause a potential financial crisis if the spouse was the family’s main income source. The death may necessitate major social adjustments, requiring the surviving spouse to parent alone, adjust to single life and maybe even return to work.

    Elderly people may be especially vulnerable when they lose a spouse because it means losing a lifetime of shared experiences. At this time feelings of loneliness may be compounded by the death of close friends.

    Suicide is among the most difficult losses to bear. Survivors feel a tremendous burden of guilt, anger and shame, and may feel responsible for the death. Seeking counseling during the first weeks after the suicide is particularly beneficial and advisable. 

    Living with Grief

    Coping with death is vital to your mental health. It is only natural to experience grief when a loved one dies. The best thing you can do is allow yourself to grieve. There are many ways to cope effectively with your pain.

    • Seek out caring people. Find relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. Join support groups with others who are experiencing similar losses.
    • Express your feelings. Tell others how you are feeling; it will help you to work through the grieving process.
    • Take care of your health. Maintain regular contact with your family physician and be sure to eat well and get plenty of rest. Be aware of the danger of developing a dependence on medication or alcohol to deal with your grief.
    • Accept that life is for the living. It takes effort to begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past.
    • Postpone major life changes. Try to hold off on making any major changes, such as moving, remarrying, changing jobs or having another child. You should give yourself time to adjust to your loss.
    • Be patient. It can take months or even years to absorb a major loss and accept your changed life.
    • Seek outside help when necessary. If your grief seems like it is too much to bear, seek professional assistance to help work through your grief. It's a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.

    Helping Others Grieve

    If someone you care about has lost a loved one, you can help them through the grieving process.

    • Share the sorrow. Allow them, even encourage them, to talk about their feelings of loss and share memories of the deceased.
    • Don’t offer false comfort.  It doesn’t help the grieving person when you say “it was for the best,” or “you'll get over it in time.” Instead offer a simple expression of sorrow and take time to listen.
    • Offer practical help. Babysitting, cooking and running errands are all ways to help someone who is in the midst of grieving.
    • Be patient. Remember that it can take a long time to recover from a major loss. Make yourself available to talk.
    • Encourage professional help when necessary. Don’t hesitate to recommend professional help when you feel someone is experiencing too much pain to cope alone. 

    Grief Resources

    The Dougy Center - Provides support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults and their families grieving a death may share their experience.

    Highmark Caring Place - A center for grieving children, adolescents and their families.

    200 Warrendale Village Drive
    Warrendale, PA 15086
    888-734-4073

    If you or someone you know is in a crisis now, seek help immediately.

    • Call 1-800-273-8255 a 24-hour crisis center, or contact Pennsylvania Mental Health America of Allegheny County to find local support groups: 412-391-3820 or mha@mhaac.net
    • Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-796-8226
    La Roche Counseling & Health Services: Bold Hall, Rooms 261 and 259 or 412-847-2506
  • Home Sickness

    What is homesickness?

    Homesickness is a common occurrence, especially among college students. The move from living at home to living on a college campus is a big transition. A new environment can cause anxiety and a depressed mood, which is sometimes feel overwhelming.

    You may feel isolated and lonely and not receive the full benefits of living in the college community. Usually with time, students are able to adjust to their new environments and enjoy their new lifestyles. 

    For some students the transition can take a long time because thoughts of home, including routines, physical surroundings, people and pets preoccupy their minds and interfere with their lives. Not feeling comfortable where you live is a frightening experience.

    What can help?

    There are many things that help alleviate the anxiety and depression associated with homesickness:

    • Try not to escape from campus every weekend or holiday. Staying on campus gives you the opportunity to get involved with activities and become acquainted with others in the college community. Remember, you need to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings in order to feel comfortable.
    • Stay in touch with people from home. Call them on a regular basis, plan trips to visit, have them visit you, etc.
    • You are not alone. Remember that you are not the only person on campus dealing with homesickness. Perhaps you can even befriend someone who experiences the same symptoms as you. You can cope together.
    • Having fun on campus is not being disloyal to the people back home. You are allowed to have fun in your new setting.
    • Be sure that your life is balanced. Though college comes with academic pressure and a higher workload than high school, make sure you incorporate fun into your life to prevent burnout.
    • Get enough sleep and food. Bad nutrition and lack of sleep can directly affect your mood.
    • Join a club or organization. Being involved on campus not only gives you something to do, but it provides an opportunity to socialize and gives you a sense of belonging.
    • Remember that it takes time. Don't expect feelings of homesickness to go away within a few weeks.
    • Give it at least a semester. After that assess whether the campus is right for you. Talk to a counselor to figure out your options.

    Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-796-8226

    La Roche Counseling & Health Services: Bold Hall, Rooms 261 & 259 or 412-847-2506.

  • LGBTQ+ Resources

    Counseling and Health Services offers a welcoming and supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community with educational resources, and a unique experience for each person. Everyone will be treated with respect and dignity in a safe environment.

  • Sexual Assault

    Identifying and Reporting Sexual Misconduct

    What is Prohibited? (PDF)

    File a Sexual Misconduct Report (PDF)

    What is Sexual Assault?

    Rape is not the only form of sexual assault. In fact, sexual assault can include unwanted kissing and fondling, and does not have to include force. Any sexual activity that is non-consensual is considered a form of sexual assault.

    Forms of Sexual Assault

    No means no. According to Pennsylvania State law, sexual assault is non-forcible but nonconsensual sexual intercourse or attempted sexual intercourse.

    • Rape: Nonconsensual sexual intercourse or attempted sexual intercourse by force or threat of force. Rape also includes having sexual intercourse with someone unable to give consent.
    • Indecent Assault: Unwanted sexual contact. Examples include undesired kissing, touching and fondling.

    Victim Aftermath

    Victims of sexual assault can suffer many physical and/or emotional consequences including:

    • Sleep disturbances
    •  Flashbacks
    •  Inability to concentrate
    •  Intense fear for safety
    •  Guilt
    •  Anxiety
    •  Stress
    •  Headaches
    •  Digestive problems

    La Roche University is in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Learn more.

    Any student who believes she or he has been a victim of sexual misconduct or knows of a sexual assault may contact any one of these support services:

    Emergency Numbers 
    McCandless Police911
    Pittsburgh Action Against Rape1-866-END-RAPE
    [1-866-363-7273]
    Public Safety412-536-1111
    Counseling Services412-918-6372
    Resident AssistantOn Duty
      
    Non-Emergency Numbers 
    Title IX Coordinator and VP for Student Life & Dean of Students – Colleen Ruefle412-536-1069
    Director of Public Safety – Mark Wilcox412-536-1104
    Director of Counseling Services – Erin Dorsch412-847-2506
    Director of Residence Life – Ashley Testa412-536-1194

     

    Guide to Reporting Sexual Assault at La Roche University (PDF)

    For additional information, visit the policies and procedures page on the University’s intranet. Inquiries also may be referred to the Office of Civil Rights, United States Department of Education at 800-421-3481

    For more information and other resources and options regarding sexual assault, contact Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) by calling 1-866-END-RAPE or 412-363-7273. PAAR is available 24/7.

    Resolve Crisis Network: 1.888.7.YOU CAN (1.888.796.8226)

    Futures without Violence

     
  • Self-Harm

    Self-harm and suicidal threats are different. Self-injury (SI), or self-harm, is a coping mechanism and usually not a conscious attempt to commit suicide.

    • It is referred to by many different names: self-inflicted violence, self-injury, self-harm, parasuicide, cutting, self-abuse and self-mutilation.
    • It is done as an attempt to manage intense feelings or to alter mood by inflicting physical harm serious enough to cause tissue damage to the body.
    • It is a coping mechanism because it is a way of dealing with overwhelming feelings or situations.
    • Those who self-harm may not have learned effective ways to cope.

    Types of SI:

    There are many different forms of SI, but cutting, burning and head-banging occur most often. SI also can include the following:

    • Carving
    • Scratching
    • Branding
    • Biting
    • Hitting
    • Picking/pulling skin and/or hair
    • Bruising

    However, it is not considered to be self-injury if it is done for sexual gratification, spiritual enlightenment/rituals, body decoration (e.g., piercings, tattoos) or to fit in or be cool. 

    What kinds of people self-injure?

    People who self-injure come from all walks of life and socioeconomic statuses. Their ages can range anywhere from early teens to early 60s.

    If you know or suspect someone of self-injurious behavior, refer them Counseling & Health Services: Bold Hall Rooms 261 and 259 or 412-847-2506.

    For more information

    Visit S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives or call 1-800-366-8288.

    Visit To Write Love on Her Arms.

    Visit Resolve Crisis Network or call 1-888.796-8226.

  • Stress/PTSD

    Stress

    Everyone experiences stress throughout their lives, but there is good stress and bad stress. The trick is to recognize when your stress is healthy or unhealthy.

    Stress is the body’s preparation to perform with focus, stamina, strength and alertness in a tough situation. For example, good stress is when you have to slam on your car brakes to avoid an accident. Good stress keeps you on your toes and ready to rise to a challenge.

    Bad stress, on the other hand, leads to excessive worrying and stress overload. This stress leaves a person feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and mentally and physically exhausted. Bad stress can lead to lack of sleep, weakened immune system, ulcers or other unwanted physical ailments.

    Stressors

    Many situations cause stress. These situations are called stressors. The more you have and the longer you have them, the higher your stress level. This leads to more physiological and emotional symptoms because your body is constantly on edge, releasing hormones to help you relax.

    Remember that stress is not only caused by specific, short-term events. Dealing with divorce, family conflicts, relationship problems or death are examples of long-term situations that can have a harmful effect on the body.

    If you have difficulty coping with stress, there is help. Make an appointment with a counselor at 412-847-2506 and practice better time-management techniques when stress relates to schoolwork.

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Some stress is so severe that it interferes with life. People who are victims or witnesses of traumatic events can develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    PTSD is a serious disorder that requires professional help to alleviate. People suffering from PTSD tend to feel that their safety is threatened. They often feel afraid and helpless. Flashbacks are a typical symptom of PTSD and may occur on a regular basis.

    Flashbacks are like uncontrollable daydreams, where the person relives the traumatic event in their heads but feel that they are really there. The person re-experiences all of the emotional feelings associated with that event. These flashbacks are usually easily triggered and very unpleasant.

    Unlike normal stress, PTSD often lasts longer than a month and includes flashbacks, hyperalertness, emotional numbness (like dulled feelings of love and pleasure) and avoidance of anything related to the traumatic event.

    If you feel that you suffer from PTSD, please contact the La Roche Counseling and Health Services: Bold Hall, Rooms 261 and 263 or 412-847-2506.

    *All information on stress and PTSD was taken from kidshealth.org

    For more information

    The National Institute of Mental Health

    Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-7-YOU CAN (1-888-796-8226)

  • Suicide

    Suicide does not only affect the victims but has a devastating effect on their family and friends. Suicide is not the answer.  There are other positive ways to relieve mental anguish.

    • American Psychological Association: APA’s Help Center is your online resource for brochures, tips and articles on the psychological issues that affect your physical and emotional well-being, as well as information about referrals. Call 800-374-2721.
    • The Jed Foundation: Works nationally to reduce the rate of suicide and the prevalence of emotional distress among college and university students.
    • Mental Health America: Dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives. Call 800-989-6624.
    • National Institute of Mental Health: News, overview, clinical trials, research, treatment and organizations on suicide provided by National Institute of Mental Health. Call 800-421-4211.
    • The Trevor Project: A national 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth. Call 1-866-488-7386.

    If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, we strongly encourage you to do one or more of the following:

    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline for a referral: 1-800-273-8255
    • Call La Roche University's security/emergency: 412-536-1111
    • Call 911

    For more information on suicide:

    The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.

    Statistics

    • Suicide is America’s eighth leading cause of death (National Mental Health Association, 2006).

    • In 1998 suicide was the third leading cause of death among those ages 15-24 and second among the college population (NMHA, 1998).

    • 95 percent of students who commit suicide were suffering from mental illness, mostly depression (NMHA, 2006).

    College students who suffer from depression and also have problems with substance abuse, anxiety, impulsivity, rage, hopelessness or desperation, are at an increased risk for suicide.

    Facts and Myths Regarding Suicide

    Myth: People who really want to kill themselves do it without warning.
    Fact:  There are many risk factors and warning signs for suicide, and suicidal people often leave many clues.

    Myth: People who really want to die are determined to kill themselves, so there is no stopping them.
    Fact: Most suicidal people are torn between life and death, so intervention can be prevention.

    Myth: Once suicidal, always suicidal.
    Fact: People are only suicidal for a period of time.

    Myth: Suicide occurs more often within certain classes of people.
    Fact: Suicide is prevalent among all levels of socioeconomic status proportionately.

    Suicide Warning Signs  

    There are both early and late warning signs for a suicidal person. These signs are usually out of character for the individual, are affecting his/her life negatively, and last for at least two weeks.

    Early Warning Signs

    • Work/school problems
    • Talk of death/suicide
    • Depressed mood
    • Poor hygiene
    • Increase in drug and alcohol consumption
    • Quitting clubs, activities
    • Increased or decreased sleep/change in sleep patterns
    • Social isolation
    • Inability to find meaning in life
    • Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
    • Hopelessness
    • Agitation
    • Helplessness

    Late Warning Signs

    • Preoccupied with his/her failures
    • Overreacts to criticism
    • Full of anger/rage
    • Pessimistic about the present and future
    • Preoccupied with death and dying
    • Ends significant friendships/relationships
    • Takes unnecessary risks
    • Can’t concentrate
    • Buys a firearm or other suspicious material that could be used to kill himself/herself
    • Has a plan to kill himself/herself
    • Starts to give away belongings
    • Unexplainable or unexpected increase in mood
    • Begins planning funeral and/or will.

    Help! I think my friend wants to commit suicide

    It is a very scary experience to have a friend or someone you love threaten suicide, and sometimes it is difficult to understand why he/she feels that way, and what to do to help. Always take the threat seriously, and remember that you do not have to carry the burden alone. Refer them to Counseling & Health Services, or tell a Resident Assistant (RA).

    • If you want to continue to be supportive of your friend while they receive help, here are some tips:
      Listen attentively to everything they have to say.
    • Comfort them with words of encouragement.
    • Let them know you are deeply concerned.
    • If they are at a high risk of suicide, do not leave them alone.
    • Talk openly with them.
    • Don’t be judgmental.
    • Be careful of the statements that you make.
    • Listen, listen, listen. Be gentle, kind and understanding.
    • Let them express emotion in the way they want to.
    • Try not to act shocked.
    • Most of all: Contact Counseling & Health Services or other crisis intervention agencies for help.

    Visit suicide.org for more information.

    Tell Someone.

    If you are considering suicide, find support. If you are afraid to call a hotline or Counseling & Health Services, then tell a friend or a Resident Assistant (RA). They can listen to you and support you while you seek professional help.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 – Help available 24/7 

    CONTACT Pittsburgh: 412-820-4357 – Help available 24/7

    Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-796-8226

    Visit Counseling & Health Services in Bold Hall, Rooms 261 & 259. Schedule an appointment with a counselor at 412-847-2506.

  • Time Management

    Time management is an excellent skill to master, especially while pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree. Effectively managing time decreases stress, helps you to better prepare for tests and leads to overall better grades.

    Bad time management techniques

    • Doing too much at once. Taking too many classes, belonging to too many organizations, trying to complete too many projects, etc. all at once can lead to poor work and performance.
    • Procrastinating. Don't wait until the last minute to complete assignments or to study. Putting off doing work can lead to increased stress and poor work.
    • Perfectionism. If you waste too much time trying to be perfect on the small things, you'll never complete the big things.
    • Giving into peer pressure. Too many distractions, parties, activities with friends, keeps you from doing what needs to get done.
    • Disorganization. Disorganization itself leads to poor performance. You need to be able to have neat notes to do well on a test, and you need to be able to find what you need when you need it. 

    Good time management techniques

    Be organized. Keep your notes, books, folders neatly marked and organized for easy access. Keep a planner, so you can map out due dates and plan sufficient time to work on papers and study for tests.

    Prioritize. Making a priority list of things to do in the order that they need to be done can help to keep you on track and help to relieve stress. As you mark off each item, your stress decreases.

    Avoid procrastination/don’t waste time. Organization and priority to-do lists will help you to plan time for all your projects, but make sure you plan ahead and set aside enough time for each project you have to complete. Cramming for exams or writing papers at the last minute, increases anxiety/stress and is likely to result in lower grades and stupid mistakes.

    Find a balance between working hard and having fun. You are on a college campus, and your life should not be all work and no play. You are expected to go out and have a good time in your new environment. Enjoy your freedom, but don't let your grades suffer. Scheduling time for both work and fun will increase your mood while decreasing stress.

    Don't give into peer pressure. You are always going to have friends that aren't doing work while you are. Stick to your schedule. Don't let friends talk you out of completing what you need to get done. Skipping out on work times to hang out with friends can get you off track.

    Pick quiet places to study. Face it-distractions are bad when you are trying to study and do work. Plan to do work in the library or in a study lounge. The less distraction, the better you'll take in the information and the less you'll make mistakes.

    Set goals for yourself. Setting long-term and short-term goals gives your life a purpose and focus.

    Resources

    Mind Tools

    Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-7-YOU CAN (1-888-796-8226)

    Counseling and Health Services: Bold Hall, Rooms 261 and 259 or 412-847-2506
  • Veterans Resources

    La Roche University’s Counseling and Health Services Department welcomes our veterans and wants to support them and their family members in any way we can. Below are resources intended to help assist our veterans with their unique experiences while studying at La Roche.

    Make the Connection: Hear veterans share stories about transitioning from military life to civilian life or returning from deployment.

    Service Members, Veterans and their Families Technical Assistance Center

    Veterans Crisis Line: Confidential toll-free hotline for veterans or families in crisis.

    National Center for PTSD