Counseling and Psychological Services Statement: Current Events in Syria

By Belinda Hinojos, licensed psychologist

Counseling and Psychological Services is here for students directly or indirectly impacted by the events in Syria, including the U.S.-led airstrikes.

As we try to process these events, we acknowledge that many students may be struggling. When these tragedies occur, it is common to feel fear, frustration, anger, sadness and helplessness.

The impact of these events reaches across our country and communities. It is during these times that we should reach out to those in our support system. Our staff is here to provide additional support if needed.

Counseling and Psychological Services staff will be available at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center throughout the week. For more information about available times, please call 402.472.7450 and ask for Jennifer Wendt.

Students are also encouraged to attend our drop-in groups, such as International Student Discussion, Mondays from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Selleck Dining Hall executive room, or Get Unstuck, Tuesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. in Benton Hall, room 118.

As always, students can call Counseling and Psychological Services at 402.472.5000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to make an appointment or follow the prompts after hours for assistance with urgent concerns.


Let’s Get Real About How To Get Help For Your Eating Concerns

As part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), we’re blogging to increase awareness about eating disorders. Let’s Get Real!

If you’ve been reading through our posts this week on warning signs and symptoms, common eating disorder myths and how to help a friend, you may be starting to examine your own eating behaviors and body image.

Consider taking the free, anonymous and confidential Eating Attitudes Test. This is a widely cited, standardized self-report screening that can help you determine if you have an eating issue that needs professional attention. It does not diagnose an eating disorder, nor should it take the place of a professional consultation.

If you suspect you have an eating disorder, admitting this to yourself can be challenging but necessary for long-term recovery. It shows strength and bravery, so congratulations on stepping up!

The next step is to reach out for professional help. Eating disorders are treatable, and recovery is possible. Consultations for eating or body image concerns are available to Huskers on campus at Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center. Call 402.472.5000 to schedule. To learn more about our services, visit our website.

If you aren’t ready to seek professional help, tell someone you trust about your concerns. While it may be intimidating to be open with your loved ones, starting an honest dialogue will be beneficial to all involved and help you feel less alone. Check out this article for tips on how to have this conversation.

We end our EDAW blog series on this note: The feelings of hopelessness or depression you may be experiencing right now because of your concerns will not last forever. You are not alone. We are only a phone call away. To speak with a professional, call 402.472.5000. Help is available 24/7.


Let’s Get Real About How to Help a Loved One With Their Eating Concern

As part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), we’re blogging to increase awareness about eating disorders. Let’s Get Real!

Just because you may not struggle with an eating disorder does not mean you don’t know someone who does. It can be difficult to watch someone struggle with an eating or body image concern. Although you can’t force the person to change, you can be there to offer your support and encourage your loved one to seek treatment.

The first step to offering support is recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder. The second is to understand the myths versus facts about eating disorders. We’ve discussed these topics earlier this week on our blog. You can read these posts by returning to our blog’s homepage here.

So, you’ve noticed the warning signs and you understand more about the realities of eating disorders. What do you do next?

Speak up!

Don’t let your fear of being mistaken or saying the wrong thing keep you from voicing your concern. People who struggle with eating disorders can be afraid to ask for help or feel they don’t deserve it. By speaking up, you can start the conversation that may lead to their treatment.

Here are a five tips for how to intervene:

Consider your approach. Pick a time and place to chat with the person that is free from distractions so that you both can speak freely and openly. It’s important to remain calm during the discussion, so gauge your emotions before you broach the subject.

Explain your concerns. Be specific. Explain the situations and behaviors you’ve noticed that worry you. Emphasize that you care and want to help. Don’t criticize or pretend you have all the answers. Avoid “you” statements such as “you shouldn’t be doing this to yourself” or “you need to give these excessive diets a rest.” Focus on how their behaviors make you feel using “I” statements such as “I’m worried to see your body change like this” or “It scares me when I hear you talk about how horrible you think you look.”

Don’t give ultimatums or simple solutions. You can’t force the person to get treatment. Giving ultimatums will only add pressure and increase the chances your loved one will continue to isolate. Likewise, avoid oversimplifying next steps like saying “you just need to recognize your beautiful the way you are.” Eating disorders are not a choice, so the solutions are never simple.

Be prepared for your loved one’s response. Even if you take a respectful, calm approach, the conversation may feel threatening to your loved one. If this happens, try not to take it personally. If your concerns are rejected, don’t give up, but rather remain lovingly persistent and patient. It may take time for your loved one to open up to you. Reiterate that you’re there for whatever is needed.

Encourage professional help. Beyond offering support, the most important thing you can do is encourage your loved one to seek treatment. Eating disorders are hard on the person’s body, mind and spirit; the longer the concern is left untreated and undiagnosed, the harder it will be to overcome, so encourage seeking help as soon as possible. To learn more about the treatment services provided at Nebraska Medicine – University Health center, visit our website.

Don’t go it alone. If you need a consultation with a professional before starting this conversation, call us at 402.472.5000.

To explore educational videos, articles and resources for body image concerns, visit



Let’s Get Real About Eating Disorder Myths

As part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), we’re blogging about various topics to increase awareness about eating disorders. Let’s Get Real!

One way you can help influence the national conversation is by busting common myths about eating disorders.

Here are a few important myths to note:

MYTH: Only thin, white women struggle with eating disorders.

TRUTH: Eating disorders are non-discriminatory. People of all body shapes, races and genders can experience them.

MYTH: People with eating disorders are choosing their behavior in an effort to be noticed.

TRUTH: Eating disorders are not “chosen” behaviors. They’re mental illnesses that often stem from various intersecting sources such as genetics, trauma, abuse and personality characteristics. They’re also learned behaviors that, over time, have taken hold of life as a way to numb emotions or create a sense of control.

MYTH: Eating disorders are just a phase some people go through.

TRUTH: They are not a phase, but a disorder that can have serious physical, emotional and mental consequences if not treated. In some cases, eating disorders can lead to death.

MYTH: It’s simple to end an eating disorder. Just stop the self-harm behavior.

TRUTH: There is no easy fix. Recovery takes time, support from a team of professionals and an extensive amount of perseverance.

If you struggle with eating or body image concerns, help is available and recovery is possible. Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center offers many treatment services for eating disorders. To learn more, visit To explore educational videos, articles and resources for body image concerns, visit

Let’s Get Real About Eating Disorder Warning Signs and Symptoms

As part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), we’re blogging to increase awareness about eating disorders. Let’s Get Real!

Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder is the first step to getting help, whether that help is for yourself, a friend or a loved one. We’ve compiled a few of the common red flags you should be looking for.

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that this is not a checklist. Rarely will someone show all these signs and symptoms at one time. Signs and symptoms don’t always fit into categorical boxes either. This is merely a general list that could indicate a problem.

Emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms

  • Frequent dieting
  • Preoccupation with calories, fat grams, carbohydrates, etc.
  • Obsession with body size/shape
  • Excessively observing oneself in the mirror to find perceived flaws
  • Avoiding meals or eating small portions
  • Withdrawing from family, friends and usual activities
  • Excessively chewing food
  • Discomfort eating in public
  • Refusing to eat certain foods or categories of foods
  • Mood swings

Physical signs and symptoms

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Feeling cold constantly
  • Sleep problems
  • Stomach cramps or other gastrointestinal issues
  • Fluctuations in weight, both up and down
  • Yellow skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Impaired immune system
  • Dry skin and hair and brittle nails
  • Cuts and calluses across the top of finger joints as a result of induced vomiting
  • Enamel erosion, cavities, tooth sensitivity and other dental problems
  • Fine body hair
  • Poor wound healing

There are certain signs and symptoms that are specific to different types of eating disorders. To learn more, visit the National Eating Disorders Association website.

If you notice these warning signs in yourself or loved one, call Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center at 402.472.5000. We offer many treatment services for eating disorders and can provide counsel if you’re calling to help a loved one. Visit to learn more.

To explore educational videos, articles and resources for body image concerns, visit

Let’s Get Real About Eating Disorders

Thirty million Americans will struggle with a full-blown eating disorder and millions more will battle food and body image issues that have untold negative impacts on their lives, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

This is why we come together every year during the last week of February for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW). This annual event, which began Feb. 26, exists to reduce the stigma around eating disorders and help people get the support they need to recover.

In honor of this year’s theme “Let’s Get Real,” we’ll be blogging throughout EDAW week on various topics to expose the truth about eating disorders:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 28: Warning signs and symptoms of eating disorders
  • Thursday, March 1: Eating disorders myth-busters
  • Friday, March 2: What to do if you think you have a problem with eating
  • Saturday, March 3: How to help someone you suspect may have an eating disorder

Join the conversation by attending our EDAW events this week:


For more information about eating disorder treatment services available at Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center, visit



CAPS Staff: #HateWillNeverWin

The Counseling and Psychological Services team stands with the Executive Council of Multicultural Organizations, the Husker men’s basketball team and the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska in support of the message that #HateWillNeverWin.

We strongly believe that hate has no place on this campus and that the university should be a safe space for all.

If recent events have you feeling fearful, frustrated, angry, sad or helpless, you are not alone. It is during these times that’s we should be reminded to reach out to someone in your support system. If you need support, Counseling and Psychological Services is here.

To make an appointment, call 402.472.5000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Same day appointments are available for those in crisis. For after-hours urgent concerns, call 402.472.7450 and follow the prompts to be connected with a therapist on call.

Students are also invited to join us Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center for Dish It Up, a dialogue on recent events, their impact on mental health and how to take care of yourself in the process.