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Dallas College Mental Health Spotlight: COVID Anniversary

This material was written by a Dallas College licensed counselor. All views expressed in this piece are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dallas College.

Judith Viorst wrote a very popular children’s book called “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” A year ago, the week after Spring Break, we began Our Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad YEAR! That’s when we got an email telling us not to come back from Spring Break right away. At the time, we thought it might be a few weeks before we came back to campus. Obviously, we were very wrong.

On that week last year, did any of you imagine at all that our whole world would change and that we would still be dealing with this a full year later, without a clear timeline for when it would be over? Probably not and it’s probably really, really good for us that we didn’t!

We were so happy to see 2020 end, but 2021 continues much of the same. It’s been a long 12 months with surprises, changes, fears, losses, pain and sadness. And also lots of boredom. A very long year, indeed.

Well, have we at least learned something over this year other than how to use technology we’d rarely needed previously? Here’s what we’ve got:

The World

We learned the world was much more unpredictable and much less dependable than we had grown to think it was.

We learned it could change in ways we had never imagined and at a speed that could make us dizzy. But we also learned we could survive and adapt and come up with previously unimaginable solutions. We learned we could endure the Big Unexpected.

Other People

We learned not everyone was as they seemed. Sometimes those we think we can count let us down. On the other end of the spectrum, some folks will unexpectedly step up and be there for us.

We learned that people could be unbelievably generous and kind, even to strangers.

We learned that people were incredibly creative in preserving traditions and special moments even with the apparent barriers the pandemic has presented. Ultimately, it’s all very inspiring!


We learned how we deal with a crisis, with challenges and barriers and disappointments – we saw our strengths and weaknesses much more clearly.

We learned what scares us or disappointments us, our priorities, the bottom-line things we truly need in our lives, and what we truly value.

We learned more about ourselves than we ever thought we would because so many of us spent more time alone than we ever have. That gave us more time to listen to ourselves and our thoughts and feelings – whether they were surprising, painful or pleasant.

We learned to survive, persevere, overcome and to hope, which is crucial for our mental health. And we learned both that we are stronger than we thought, but that we are still stronger together.

I have no idea what our “new normal” will look like whenever we get to it, but I genuinely hope that we will not forget the significant lessons we’ve learned this year and that we keep learning.

Written by Dr. Jesse Gonzalez, personal counselor at Dallas College

Dallas College Free Counseling for Students

Do you need to speak to someone about something you’re dealing with? At Dallas College, we never want you to feel alone. Our certified, professional counselors are here to help you — for free!

Our team offers free, virtual one-on-one sessions for any student currently enrolled in Spring 2021 classes.

To get started, all you need to do is contact your campus Counseling Center at the email address listed below. You can also call us directly (day or night) at 972-669-6400, select prompt #8 for counseling.

Brookhaven Counseling Center:

Cedar Valley Counseling Center:

Eastfield Counseling Center:

El Centro Counseling Center:

Mountain View Counseling Center:

North Lake Counseling Center:

Richland Counseling Center:

Please note: If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911 or visit the nearest hospital emergency room rather than requesting an online counseling session.

Interactive Sessions by Topic

Our counselors also offer various psychoeducational workshops and events to assist students in developing academic skills, exploring career options, making career decisions and growing as a person. These interactive sessions are free and available just about every week!

Read more about the events we have planned this semester by visiting our Counseling Workshops and Events page.

Our team of Dallas College counselors also proudly support Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) as a helpful, free resource that offers more than 150 brief, interactive sessions on various topics such as mental health, wellness and substance abuse. Check out the following sessions that are available on-demand:

Healthy Relationships

Join in:

Enrollment Key: #Love

Let’s Talk About Anxiety

Join in:

Enrollment Key: #kick-it

Mindfulness 101 

Join in:

Enrollment Key: #keepcalm

Stress Management 

Join in:

Enrollment Key: #kickstress

Community Mental Health Resources Available in Our Area

  • North Texas Behavioral Health Authority can help pay for community psychiatric, mental health and substance abuse services — please call 214-366-9407.
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas — please call 214-828-1000.
  • National Veterans Crisis Line — please call 800-273-8255 and press 1.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline — please call 800-799-7233.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline — please call 800-656-4673.
  • Message 741741 from anywhere in the United States to text with a trained crisis counselor. Heads up — standard messaging rates may apply.

It’s okay to say. Our college encourages and supports all students and employees in their efforts to openly talk about mental health. Even if you’re not dealing with a specific mental health issue, chances are someone you know is. If you see something that could help someone else, spread the word and share this information.

Published inStudent Support