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OSS provides psychosocial services for victims of Odette

by Ranjie Nocete | February 10, 2022

The Office of Student Services (OSS) continues to provide online counseling to some SIllimanians directly affected by Typhoon Odette, as second semester classes start after being deferred due to the onslaught of the said typhoon.

Photo Credit: Imgur Website

According to Dr. Jaruvic Rafols, head of the Guidance and Testing Division under the OSS, at least 16 students were identified for counseling as of this writing.

“The number keeps increasing because they keep updating us on those who need psychosocial support from the guidance counselor,” added Rafols.

Dr. Rafols said that these students have been identified through collaboration with the Health Emergency Response Team and Student Government. 

He stated that based on the feedback from the guidance counselors, the students shared their difficulty in connecting back to SOUL, the university’s online learning platform, and the completion of requirements and examinations. “In some areas, it’s still challenging because there is no power.”

Rafols also shared that the students have experienced anxiety and trauma due to the effects of Odette.

When asked about the goal of the counseling services, Rafols said that these services would provide psycho-emotional support to those in need, especially those affected by the typhoon.

“When you experience these calamities that are very drastic, there is a critical incident situation. We come in to process the affected student in terms of their experience because normally when you are in this situation, you experience post-traumatic stress,” he said. 

Rafols added that the guidance counselors must oversee how students cope mentally, physically, and spiritually, to avoid post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and high levels of anxiety among the students.

“We also have a plan to actually reach out to the graduating students directly affected by Odette by communicating to them through phone, or text, or email, to find out what kind of support they need,” added Rafols.

He also shared that the university has psychosocial intervention initiatives that aim to provide psychosocial support for everyone, not just Sillimanians.  

According to Rafols, there will be a “collaboration amongst institutions” and these will include Silliman University, Saint Paul University – Dumaguete, Negros Oriental State University, and Foundation University.

“We started the training last week for the new volunteers and re-training for those who volunteered in the past,” he informed.

He added that the director of the Commission on Higher Education–VII has been invited to give a message during their planned summit on February 4.

Rafols said that students who have internet access may connect with their guidance counselor through SOUL for an e-counseling.

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