Psychological Services Clinic Resources for Coping with COVID-19

Coping with COVID-19

Psychological Services Clinic

Department of Psychological Sciences

University of Missouri


This is a time of extraordinary disruption to our daily lives. The structure to our days has shifted. Our normal routines of work, study, child care, self-care, and interacting with others have been disturbed. If there is one thing we now about humans, it is that they tend not to like change.  We also know that change is unavoidable. At this time of rapid change, we can weather emotional storms, loneliness, and boredom by learning and practicing tools for coping.


Brief Telepsychology Intervention for COVID-19 Distress

The MU Psychological Services Clinic is offering Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) Telepsychology services to help adults and children cope with anxiety and stress related to the COVID-19 crisis. This program is brief, lasting from 1 to 5 sessions. All sessions will be delivered via telepsychology (videoconferencing or telephone).

Who is appropriate?

This program is designed to help children and adults cope with acute distress and is not intended to treat more chronic mental health problems.

What is involved?

Clients will meet with therapists via video or phone for 1-5 sessions to focus on skills that have been found helpful in a variety of stressful or traumatic situations. These skills are especially relevant to helping individuals cope with the stress, uncertainty, and social isolation that the COVID-19 emergency presents. Skills include problem-solving, positive activities scheduling, managing reactions, helpful thinking, and building healthy social connections. Research suggests that a skills-building approach is more effective than supportive counseling. SPR is appropriate for developmental levels across the lifespan, and is culturally informed. SPR aims to facilitate recovery, support functioning, and prevent behaviors that make things more difficult.

Who is providing these services?

SPR will be provided by staff clinicians and licensed mental health providers from the Psychological Services Clinic.

What is the cost?

Clients with insurance coverage who receive services from licensed providers will pay their standard co-pay. For clients without insurance and clients seen by doctoral student trainees, the fee is $20 per session (this fee is waived for clients with Medicaid). Need-based fee assistance and scholarships are available.

How do I refer someone?

Please have clients call 573-882-5805  or visit our website: to request SPR services.



Self-Care for COVID-19 Distress

Here are some of the coping strategies* we teach our clients and practice ourselves:   

(*Adapted from DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition. Copyright 2015 Marsha Linehan.)

  • Take care of your body in order to take care of your mind. During times of high stress, establishing and maintaining healthy habits are some of the best tools we have for balancing strong emotions.
    • Treat physical illness. If you become sick, or are managing a chronic health condition, it is important to take care of your body and stay in touch with your doctor as needed. Be sure to take any prescribed medicines regularly. You may want to contact your pharmacy about getting an extra supply of any medication you take regularly.
    • Balance eating.  We may feel urges to overeat or eat less healthy foods when we are stressed or bored. It is important to eat enough of what our body needs, not too much or too little. Avoid foods that can fuel negative emotions. Sugary snacks can make usfeel tired or irritable. Fatty foods may make us sluggish. Caffeine can increase anxiety and make it harder to sleep. Emphasize grains, protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid alcohol or other mind-altering drugs. We may feel tempted to avoid uncomfortable feelings or boredom by drinking or using other drugs that are not prescribed to us. Observe how you feel after drinking or using drugs and strive for moderation. Limit your use of caffeine.
  • Balance sleep and your daily routine. Aim for the amount of sleep that makes you feel good. Stay on a regular schedule in order to maintain a sense of normalcy and make it easier to sleep well.
  • Get exercise. We need to move our bodies and get fresh air even as we observe social distancing.  It is OK to take a walk (as long as you leave six feet between you and others. Explore online resources for exercise and yoga. Check out Fitness Blender or Yoga with Adriene:
  • Do pleasurable activities. There are actually a lot of activities we can do alone or with others while physically distancing. Do one thing each day that makes you feel good! Put aside distractions (like news and social media) and put all of your energy and attention into fully experiencing the activity you choose. Check out suggestions here:
  • Soothe yourself.  It is normal to feel distressed or anxious during an uncertain time. You can cope by engaging your senses: vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Savor the sensations and give yourself a break from worry.
  • Stay connected. Staying a safe physical distance from one another does not require that we disconnect from our friends and family. We can stay in touch via phone calls, email, text messages, and video chat technology.
  • Contribute to others. It is easy to feel powerless in the face of our current situation. Being useful to others is one way to use the power we do have to improve the situation, lessen the load of others, and experience a sense of personal satisfaction. The possibilities are endless!
    • Deliver groceries to a person at high risk for coronavirus
    • Donate to your favorite local charity
    • Pick up trash in your neighborhood park
    • Offer thank you notes to essential workers at grocery, pharmacy, or gas stations



Mindfulness Resources

Mindfulness practices can be very helpful for increasing resilience to stress and physical illness as well as coping with anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. Here are some mindfulness resources for the MU community as well as the general public:

Sanvello is a wonderful app provided free of charge to all members of the MU community. It includes lots of mindfulness resources as well as other evidence-based wellness offerings.  MU community members can open a Sanvello account using their MU email address for free access to the premium app.

                In addition, Sanvello has made the same premium app available to the general public during the COVID19 crisis. Get started:

Online MU mindfulness offerings for MU faculty and staff:

Many community organizations are offering live online opportunities for meditation and yoga during the COVID19 crisis.

The Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at UCLA has lots of great resources for free, including online guided meditations with Diana Winston, a nationally recognized teacher in mindfulness meditation.



Additional Online Resources

Psychologists across the country are coming together to share resources for responding to the COVID19 pandemic:


Resources for everyone






Resources for special groups







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