By Lynzie Marchesani
Coping with Covid is a new support group, created by one of the KU Women’s Center’s graduate assistants, that has helped provide students space to discuss emotions during the trying times of COVID-19.
Trisha Gillot created Coping with Covid for students without access to proper support. Gillot has experience in the counseling aspects of running a group like Coping with Covid. She is currently working towards her master’s in clinical mental health counseling.
“It can be very helpful to just join together and sit around with others and feel togetherness,” Gillot said.
Gillot created Coping with Covid as a way for students to feel connected with each other during the difficult times of COVID-19. Students are feeling as if they are socially distanced in more ways than one, and this group has helped students come together.
Gillot felt that bringing students back on campus was a tough choice. Many students feel isolated and are not getting the help they require. Although the counseling center does help in some ways, they cannot help in all aspects, and this led to Gillot creating Coping with Covid.
The group was created at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, and the first meeting was held on Sept. 18. However, meetings are currently over for this semester.
Since Gillot works as the graduate assistant for the Women’s Center, she had the idea to open this group to any and all students. “LGBTQ+ individuals are definitely facing more hardships due to COVID-19. College can become their safe space, and COVID in a sense and in some places has taken that away,” Gillot said.
Coping with Covid received a turnout of six students at the first meeting, but the attendance of students slowly dwindled. Gillot believes that is either due to the timing of meetings being every three weeks or due to the chaotic nature of the semester.
Gillot wants to continue these meetings next semester, however, without proper support she does not know if that will be possible. She is open to running it both online and in-person but needs increased attendance to continue running Coping with Covid.
“It’s okay if you feel nervous about coming to a support group,” Gillot said. “Sometimes people don’t want to admit they are struggling. Sometimes we underestimate how helpful it is to hear other people and their experiences of what they’re struggling with.”
KU student Ryan Padovani expressed the positive impact of the group for those who attend meetings when he said, “(Coping with Covid) has helped me feel more connected with the University community even though I’m not on campus. I also feel more compassionate toward myself in light of the struggles the pandemic has created.”
Though Gillot is unsure of the future of Coping with Covid, having it for even one semester was helpful to not only Padovani but to other students as well.