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Lending an ear in tough times: Roanoke counseling center offers free sessions

Family Service Roanoke Valley is offer four counseling sessions for free ages 10 and up

ROANOKE, Va. – There’s now one less thing to be overwhelmed about: paying for therapy.

Family Service of Roanoke Valley is offering up to 4 free sessions now until September.

Family Service of Roanoke Valley is offering 4 free therapy sessions for ages 10 and up.
Family Service of Roanoke Valley is offering 4 free therapy sessions for ages 10 and up. (WSLS)

Thanks to the United Way of Roanoke Valley COVID-19 Relief Fund, Family Service will be able to wipe out the financial barrier so many people deal with when seeking mental health services.

They encourage people feeling anxiety, fear or depression have someone to talk to.

Ages 10 and up can take advantage of the free resource and when you complete all of your free sessions, Family Service will refer you to a long term service.

To sign up, call 540-563-5316 ext. 4653 to set up an appointment.

While this is a stressful time for many, Karen Pillis, director of mental health services at Family Service of Roanoke Valley said there are people more vulnerable than others.

Here is a list of people who may be impacted the most.

  • People of color because they are hit the hardest by COVID-19 and the pressure of the recent unrest as the demands for change continue
  • People with underlying medical conditions and seniors because of the higher risk of a severe case of COVID-19
  • Caregiver whether it’s for a family member or as a career
  • Essential workers
  • People with existing mental health disorders
  • People who use substances to cope
  • People who lost their job(s)
  • People who are homeless
  • People in congregate living
  • People who are socially isolated
  • People who speak English as a second language

Pillis said because of everything that’s going on a lot of people don’t have their typical outlets or maybe the person they usually talk to aren’t around or are just as stressed.

“We really hope to remove the time frame of having to wait for these services. People are in crisis right now, they’re worried, they’re scared, they’re anxious, they see everything that’s happening on the news with our community coping with COVID and don’t know where to turn,” Pillis said.

There are signs to look out for to know you or someone you know are going through anxiety or depression and to seek support.

Pills tells 10 News a major way to tell something serious is going on is when you’re not finding joy in the activities or interests that usually bring you joy. Another big red flag is feeling more off than you know how to deal with.

“I’m talking about people who can’t shake it who’ve used all their resources, their internal resources, their networks that they usually go to and those people might have trouble sleeping, their eating patterns may have changed, they may have trouble concentrating or their memory may be impacted they may not want to get out of bed they may want to only exercise,” Pillis said.

Here are additional signs it may be time to seek support

  • Changes in mood-anger, hopelessness, sadness, irritability
  • Changes in behavior
  • Not interacting with friends and family
  • Lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • Sleep issues (can’t sleep, can do nothing but sleep or can’t stay asleep)
  • Changes in weight or eating patterns
  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Increase in risky or reckless behaviors
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Worsening of chronic health conditions

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