Nadia Bhuiyan

As many businesses begin to reopen throughout the state, the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic may become more evident. While many may think about the physical effects, such as wearing masks or how the economy will fluctuate, there is a psychological effect that many health officials are beginning to notice. 

Nadia Bhuiyan is an assistant clinical professor of psychology and director of the Auburn University Psychology Services Clinic, or AUPSC. She notes that as businesses begin to open up, people’s responses will be highly varied — some will feel excitement to be leaving the house, while others may feel anxiety and a lack of safety. 

“It is very normal to experience symptoms such as stress, fear, anxiety, especially as we learn more about how Covid-19 is impacting our personal lives,” Bhuiyan said. 

Bhuiyan recommends consistently checking in on yourself and relatives in order to help curb feelings of isolation and anxiety, not only for yourself but for others as well. 

The city of Auburn’s Parks and Recreation Department has had to halt their senior programs, keeping many seniors out of the frequent events that allowed them to leave isolation and socialize. 

Gabby Filgo, head of senior citizen programming, saw the potential for seniors to become even more isolated and immediately began to shift around operations. 

Filgo has begun offering wellness checks to those over 50 in order to help ensure that their physical and mental needs were met. 

“If someone wants to be on my list, they just have to call or email me and I’ll give them a call twice a month to check in on them, make sure they have groceries and just make sure they are OK,” she said. 

Filgo has also taken several popular activities, such as bingo, and turned them into virtual activities like virtual bingo or a virtual scavenger hunt. While technology has allowed Filgo to connect with some of the seniors, she noted that her primary form of communication is through social media, a medium which not all seniors use. She urges any senior who is in need of contact, even if it is just to talk, to reach out to her.   

Bhuiyan recommends that anyone who is feeling the burden of isolation, anxiety, stress or more, to reach out to professionals and those around them for help. She notes that it is not just the seniors who have access to mental help services. Many healthcare services have transitioned to telecare, so you can receive help from the comfort and safety of your home. 

For the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

For mental health needs, call East Alabama Mental Health Emergencies at 1-800-815-0630

At Auburn, telehealth services are available for Auburn University students (current undergraduates and graduate students) at Auburn University Student Counseling and Psychological Services, or AUSCPS. Students can visit its website or call AUSCPS at 334-844-5123 for more information. 

Auburn employees are encouraged to explore the Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, which offers confidential assessment, counseling and referral services for regular employees and their eligible dependents. They can visit the website or call Auburn’s EAP at 1-800-925-5EAP (5327). 

The Auburn University Psychological Services Center, or AUPSC, also has transitioned to telehealth services with current clients and is developing a protocol for new client intakes. For questions about services, people can contact the AUPSC at aupsc@auburn.edu.  

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