ACTS offers free tornado counseling

Missouri Southern students weren’t exempt from being affected by the May 22 tornado. As such, the Advising, Counseling and Testing Services office on campus has been deeply involved in helping students recover.

Heather Bullock, a clinical counselor with ACTS, has been at the forefront of that service.

“We provide free, private, confidential counseling for all students at Missouri Southern, so basically they’d be getting the same service they’re paying $150 in the community for,” she said.

This free service is available to all MSSU students and runs throughout the year.

Currently, a program is being offered specifically for counseling related to the tornado.

Two more tornado counseling sessions are available Sept. 7 and Sept. 9 with morning and afternoon sessions both days.

“We hope lots of people show up because we have lots of good information to give,” Bullock said. “Basically, we really want students to know that they are not alone. What they’re experiencing may seem abnormal, but it really is normal.”

Bullock says the students she’s seen in relation to the tornado have suffered a variety of effects ranging from depression to shock and post-traumatic stress.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to traumatic events. It can be common in tragedy survivors.

“The entire town of Joplin has definitely experienced post-traumatic stress,” Bullock said.

That stress can wreak havoc on the already stressful life of a student.

“They [students] are gonna find maybe that school is just not that stress they need right now at this point and it might make things a lot worse, so that’s definitely what we’re here for,” she said.

Students interested in counseling can set up individual appointments through the ACTS department.


Steps for a healthy mind:

• Follow a normal routine as much as possible.

• Eat healthy. Be careful not to overeat or skip meals.

• Exercise and stay active.

• Volunteer in your community; stay active!

• Accept help from family, friends and other support systems. Talk about your feelings.

• Limit your time around the sights, sounds and memories of the traumatic experience.