Getting help for yourself
SCS staff is here to help you. We provide a wide range of outpatient clinical services in a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere including:
- Individual and group counseling
- Psychopharmacological evaluation and medication management
- Crisis intervention services
- Consultation to the campus
- Campus presentations
- Referral to off-campus clinicians for specialized and/or intensive treatment
- Light therapy
Our online mental health screening can help you determine if you will benefit from counseling services. If you think you would benefit from our services, please make an appointment or get help after hours.
Getting help for others
We encourage you to take action if you think your friend, child or student may be in need of help. Please consult our guide for parents, guide for friends or guide for faculty and staff for information on how you can help.
Ways to cope with homesickness
- Admit that you have it. Much of what you know and rely on is back home. Homesickness is a natural response to this sense of loss.
- Talk about it. Share your feelings with an older sibling or friend who has already gone away from home. It takes strength to admit the fact that something is bothering you and to confront it. Talk to other resource people on campus, such as student advisers, House Fellows or Student Counseling Services.
- Don’t try to bury the feelings. Don’t drink more, party more or have sex just to try to make the feelings go away.
- Bring familiar items. Decorate your room with items from home. These could include photos, plants, even stuffed animals. These will help to give you a sense of continuity and ease the shock of being in a new environment.
- Enjoy comforting, fun things. Continue to do the things you liked doing at home, like going to the movies, exercise, etc.
- Keep in touch with the people back home. With cell phones and email, it is easy to stay in touch with family and friends from home. But you may want to avoid very frequent telephoning. Write them reports of your activities and new experiences either by email or snail mail. Let them know that you’d like to hear from them too.
- Plan a date to go home. If possible, plan to return home on a specific date (like Thanksgiving) and make the arrangements. This often helps curtail impulsive returns and keeps you focused on your goals in staying on campus.
- Examine your expectations. We’d all like to be the best: the most popular, the best dressed, the most organized and the best adjusted. We’re not! Setting the goal of perfection is the most predictable way of creating disappointment.
- Realize that adjusting to new situations takes time. Give yourself the time you need to adjust to the new environment. It is quite natural to long for what is familiar. Also, remember that everyone’s adjustment time is different. Try to avoid the trap of comparing yourself to others.
- Seek new opportunities. New opportunities are scary but also present the chance to meet new people and experience things that may not have been possible for you had remained in the more familiar environment of home.
- Do something. Don’t wait for the feeling to go away by itself. Talk, get help, get active, invite others to explore with you.
Grief Resources for Students
is available for support in their Warnshuis office. In addition, students can contact any of the College, staff members in the, or their class deans:
- First-year students –
- Sophomores and international students –
- Juniors, seniors and transfer students –
Students who feel the need to postpone scheduled exams should contact the Office of the Dean of the College at 860-439-2050 or 860-439-2053 or email@example.com and work with their class deans to make alternative arrangements.
Grief Resources for Staff and Faculty
The College's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides free, confidential counseling — either by phone or in-person — to all faculty and staff members. Our provider, Higher Ed EAP, can be reached at 1-800-252-4555 or 1-800-225-2525.
In addition, their website at www.HigherEdEAP.com contains helpful information regarding grief and loss. To access this information, visit the site, and create a login by following these instructions:
- Select "Employee & Family Login"
- Click on "Register Here"
- Enter "Connecticut College"
- Fill in the required information on the "Register" page
Other Grief Resources
Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization
Research on alcohol and substance abuse and resources for supporting someone suffering from alcoholism and substance abuse problems.
American Association of Suicidology
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
Anxiety Disorders Association of American
Bacchus and Gamma
Support on-campus health and safety.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Depression Online Screening
It Gets Better Project
Improving emotional health and suicide prevention.
General mental health information.
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
Relaxation and Stress Management Resources
Suggestions for a variety of apps geared toward self-growth, stress management, mood management, conquering addictions, etc. Some of these apps are free while others have an associated cost. To read more or download the app of interest, just search the app name.
Set to Go: A JED Program
We have a Therapy Light (Light Box) in our office! Call 860-439-4587 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
About light therapy
Light therapy should be approximately 10,000-lux1, used for 30 minutes to 2 hours per day. The greatest improvement is seen if used 2 times per day (morning and evening)2. Light therapy should be administered through the eyes, not skin, and is best if viewed indirectly while completing another task. Studies support the combination of light therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy or anti-depressants3 (Prozac/fluoxetine). Both treatments were found to be equally effective, but patients in the light therapy group showed earlier response to treatment and reported fewer side effects4.
Warning signs of Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder with seasonal pattern5 (typically beginning in fall or winter):
- Excessive sleeping (or other sleep disturbances)
- Increased appetite (weight gain or loss)
- Craving for carbohydrates
- Lowered mood
- Decreased concentration
- Loss of interest and enjoyment in usual activities
- Guilt and unworthiness
- Reduced self-esteem
The causes of Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder with seasonal pattern have been attributed to increased production of melatonin (or delayed nocturnal secretion of melatonin)6, and decreased production of serotonin7. Cognitive changes may occur before biological evidence; the onset is often expected as the season changes. Those at risk include women8 and those who have experienced a move north or to higher latitudes.
Procedure for using the Light Box
If you are not used to a bright lightbox, it is better to gradually get used to the light’s brightness. During initial sessions, less light intensity and time duration are better than more.
We recommend starting light therapy by staying approximately 40 inches from the light for 30 minutes.
Over the course of a week, you can move closer to the light until you are about 18 inches (you won’t ever need to get closer than this) from the light for 30 minutes. You can read or eat while sitting under the lights, but your eyes must be open for the effect to occur. You cannot sleep during your light exposure! You should NOT stare directly at the lights.
Start light therapy in the early morning, as soon as possible after awakening. The SCS light is available Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Please email SCS@conncoll.edu or call us at 860-439-4587.
During light therapy, you should keep to a regular sleep schedule (going to sleep and waking up at regular times, for example, 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.).
Response usually starts in a few days, and by two weeks the symptoms should be definitely improving. Most people need to continue light therapy throughout the winter until the springtime. When light therapy is stopped, symptoms do not usually reappear for a few days, so most people can stop the treatment for one or two days without much problem (e.g., for the weekend).
When there is a good response to light therapy, some patients like to experiment with the timing and duration of daily light exposure, e.g., by reducing the daily exposure to 15 minutes, or using the light at a more convenient time of the day (e.g., 4:00 p.m.). We suggest making one change at a time, for 2 weeks. If symptoms start returning, go back to the original dosing schedule.
There are no reported harmful effects on the eyes with light therapy as described, but the long-term effects have not yet been studied. If you have eye problems (e.g., retinal disease, cataracts, or diabetes), or worries about eye damage, please see your doctor.
Some people experience mild headaches, nausea, dizziness, or eye strain when using the lights. These symptoms usually occur at the beginning of treatment and get better in a few days. Otherwise, they can be relieved by reducing the daily exposure time, or by sitting slightly farther away from the lights.
Occasionally people report feeling irritable, or euphoric, or being “too high” when treated with light therapy. If this happens, the treatment should be stopped, and you should contact the SCS. If light therapy is restarted, use a shorter exposure time (e.g., 15 minutes per day) or sit slightly farther away from the lights. People with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) should consult with their counselor before starting light therapy.
1. Robb-Nicholson, C. (2012). Ask the doctor: Can a light box for SAD damage my eyes? Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 20(2), 2.
2. Lee, T., Blashko, C., Janzen, H., Paterson, J., & Chan, C. (1997). Pathophysiological mechanism of seasonal affective disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 46(1), 25- 38.
3. Rohan, K., Lindsey, K., Roecklein, K., & Lacy, T. (2004). Cognitive-behavioral therapy, light therapy, and their combination in treating seasonal affective disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 80(2-3), 273-283. Doi:10.1016/S0165-0327(03)00098-3.
4. Lam, R., W., Levitt, A.J., Levitan, R.D., Enns, M. W., Morehouse, R., Michalak, E. E., & Tam, E. M. (2006). The can-SAD study: A randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of light therapy and fluoxetine in patients with winter seasonal affective disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(5), 805-812.
5. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
6. Thompson, C. C., Stinson, D. D., & Smith, A. A. (1990). Seasonal affective disorder and season-dependent abnormalities of melatonin suppression by light. The Lancet, 336(8717), 703.
7. Rosenthal, N. E., Genhart, M. J., Caballero, B. B., Jacobsen, F. M., Skwerer, R. G., Coursey, R. D., & . . . Spring, B. J. (1989). Psychobiological effects of carbohydrate- and protein-rich meals in patients with seasonal affective disorder and normal controls. Biological Psychiatry, 25(8), 1029-1040.
8. Miller, A. (2005). Epidemiology, etiology, and natural treatment of seasonal affective disorder. Alternative Medicine Review, 10(1), 5-13.