Professional counseling services more important than ever

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter 

PELHAM — Stress and anxiety have become more prevalent throughout society, especially with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, ending the stigma associated with receiving professional counseling and increasing access to those services are more important than ever.

According to business partners Celia Carter and Dusty Croswell who recently started providing counseling services through Carter and Croswell Counseling Services, school-aged children and their parents need access to counseling especially with the many changes to schooling.

Croswell explained that for children, a major stressor during this time period is the frustration and radical changes brought on in school work such as the switch to virtual learning or the staggered class sizes in schools along with the typical stresses during normal school years.

“Students are worried about virtual learning, and coming back to school on top of that,” Croswell said.  “They are worried about if their parents are going to be able to keep working. No one was equipped for this because no one has really experienced this before, so everyone needs to learn positive coping skills.”

Some of these coping skills include things like eating healthy, exercising regularly, avoiding stressors like excessive news watching and creating new traditions that help improve communication between children and their parents so that both are able to process their emotions in a healthy way.

The pair both said that one of the most important ways to improve the mental health of both children and parents is to foster a strong sense of communication between the two to better identify each other’s needs.

“I usually tell parents that they are the expert about their child, so their input and participation is critical. Parents are there every day to support and guide their children and are the ones to help reinforce and practice interventions learned from our counseling,” Carter explained.

According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death among school age children, further emphasizing the need for quality access to counseling.

“When you are in that situation, it’s not that children want to end their lives, they want the situation to end,” Croswell explained. “Coping skills are different for each person. Instead of going to negative coping skills like drugs, alcohol, violence or anger, we teach positive skills that help reduce anxiety and depression.”

Croswell said that many people are unable to access counseling and therapy services because the providers have been so overbooked during the pandemic, and she hopes that her and Carter’s years of experience in counseling people of all ages will help provide much needed relief to the community.

There is less of a stigma for younger generations in receiving therapy and counseling, but older generations may feel hesitant or embarrassed about it.

To help make those and anyone anxious about reaching out feel more comfortable, “we try to create a welcoming space to express yourself in a non-judgmental environment. They need to feel like they will be OK,” Croswell said.

Carter and Croswell offer their services from their office at 262 Yeager Parkway Suite F and can be reached for consultations at 205-660-1959 or 205-510-7912.