In this assignment I’m posing a hypothetical situation that connects what we’re learning in this class with the current COVID-19 situation.

The precautions we’re all taking might have extra dimensions for people with mental disorders.  Suppose a mental health clinic needs to keep clients away for a while but wants to keep helping people with problems.  You are hired as a counselor to respond to new requests for mental health help but only online, not in person. You will read incoming e-mails and then respond to their request for help.

I want you to use your knowledge of the disorders (based on DSM5 and the slides and handouts from our class) and what you’re learning about COVID-19 to provide some guidance and advice to any one of the following three case examples.

CASE #1: “I’m Phillip and I’m twenty-five years old.  I’m worried sick about getting infected.  I saw a counselor in high school and she said I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder but I forget what that means.  I just know that when I turn on the television in the morning and watch the news an hour later my pulse is racing, I keep thinking I’ll die soon, and I don’t sleep well at all anymore.  I live with my parents because I dropped out of college after my junior year because I just couldn’t concentrate on studying any more.  My parents let me move back in and I’m helping out by working as a check-out person at Target but I need to get back to school sometime to finish my degree.  I don’t have a girlfriend or kids yet but I know the clock’s ticking if I ever want to have a normal life.  Am I going crazy?  Should I take pills? I never have but maybe this is the time to start.  What can I do just to get through the day without thinking tomorrow is going to be even worse?”

CASE #2: “I’m Samantha and my ten-year old son Joseph is driving me nuts.  He’s been diagnosed with ADHD and takes medication but now he’s home all day long and supposed to do his school work online. The teacher is doing a good job structuring what he’s supposed to learn at home but I just can’t get him to focus like she can in the classroom.  My husband has a job where he can keep going to work (he’s a truck driver) so it’s just me, Joseph and his six-year old little sister Ashley.  Usually Joseph is good to Ashley but her patience is running out as well with all of Joseph’s running around and irritating her.  He’s not aggressive or hurtful, mostly annoying.  So should I keep him on the medication?  Every day or just once in a while? What should I tell he and Ashley about what’s going on now?  Won’t the full story scare them to death?  I need all the help I can get.”

CASE #3: “I’m Andrea, thirty years old.  I’ve been seeing counselors since high school when I started cutting my wrists.  I’ve been given lots of diagnoses but the one that fits the best is Borderline Personality Disorder.  I told that diagnosis to my last boyfriend, Ricky, and he started using it against me, saying ‘isn’t that just a fancy word for bat-crazy girlfriend?’  We were together on and off for five years before I couldn’t take his cheating on me anymore.  He said he wasn’t cheating but I know he was – I could tell by the look in his eyes.  When my therapist at the time sided with Ricky I stopped going to see her.  I’m on disability for my disorder so I don’t go out to work and all this staying at home is driving me nuts.  I need to see people. I want to have another relationship again.  I want a husband and family and now it’s not going to happen.  I’m not suicidal now but I have been in the past and don’t want to get that way again.  What should I do? Should I write to Ricky and apologize and try to get back together?  What’s wrong with me?  Should I take pills for all this?”

Your assignment is to write a response to any one of these three people.  You goal is to answer their questions the best that you can.  You should use resources such as DSM-5, our class handouts and PowerPoint slides, and any other legitimate reference sources you find online – but you don’t have to cite references or have a bibliography. I will be able to tell if you responses are backed up with credible knowledge and don’t need to track back your research.

[You’ll notice that Case Example #3 about Andrea is about a disorder we haven’t covered yet.  You can find the DSM5 pages on this disorder right now and in a few weeks I’ll have some slides and handouts posted as well.  In other words go ahead and do research on this now on your own and you can probably write a pretty good paper even though we haven’t covered it yet.]

You should write back in the first person (“I think that you should ____”) not in an impersonal third-person voice.  You should write about two to three pages or about 500 to 1,000 words.

You should submit this via Canvas in the Assignments section (using the menu in the upper left-hand corner) as a .doc (Word) file or a .pdf Adobe Acrobat file.