Category Archives: Uncategorized

NOVACares Lauches New Mental Health Referral Database for Students, Faculty and Staff

The NOVACares Office is proud to announce that the NOVACares Mental Health Provider Search Database (“NOVACARES Counseling Referral System”) has been upgraded and updated for a more productive search for local mental health providers. The NOVACares Office has personally contacted the 157 providers, as of this writing, in the database to verify their license to practice and requested that they update their profile to include changes in insurances accepted, sliding scale/reduced fees for NOVA, waiting time, accepting new patients, and if they are offering telehealth services. Our listed providers include providers that service Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and beyond. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to use the database to locate providers matching their search criteria. The NOVACares Office is still recruiting providers to be listed in the database and will conduct an extensive outreach campaign over the summer and fall.

To start your search for a mental health provider visit: 

Click on Mental Health Provider Database on the left bar.






If you are at risk in anyway (e.g., considering suicide or at risk of other physical harm) please dial 9-1-1 or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. You may also visit the your nearest emergency room or contact NOVA police at 703-764-5000. If you would like additional non-emergency support for yourself or another student that you are concerned about, please file a NOVACares report at

The providers participating in the database supply their own information about their services. We cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information provided. We are also unable to endorse any particular provider that is listed. It will be important to verify information with the provider that most interests you, including fees and other arrangements. Contact your insurance company if you need to ensure that the clinician you select is a participating provider.

NOVACares Launches New Reporting Forms

The NOVACares Office continues to be the hub for College-wide incident reporting at NOVA. The NOVACares Office received and individually screened 1,526 incident reports in 2019 and 364 incident reports in 2020 as of 4.14.20. The NOVACares Office is phasing out the “all-in-one” incident reporting form and launching four individual case type forms:   Academic Integrity Violations, Student Code of Conduct Violation, Title IX and Sexual Misconduct (report will be sent directly to the NOVA Title IX Office) and Student Needing Assistance (CARE). Each report will be screened and routed to the appropriate NOVACares Responder within two business days and the reporter will receive an email designating the case lead.

The forms are located in the same place as the previous reporting form at  Click on Make a Report.  FAQ’s for reporting incidents can be found at

Then select the appropriate reporting form for the incident you are reporting. The direct link can be saved to your favorites:

The goal of CARE Team outreach is early intervention. We provide support and resources to avoid a crisis. Student Needing Assistance Incident Reports (CARE Team referrals) will be routed to the Campus CARE Teams.  NOVA currently has seven teams that are ready to respond to students needing outreach to enhance their chances of success at NOVA.  No request for assistance is too small; if the situation is troubling you, you should report it.   If you have questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to send an email to

If your report concerns faculty or staff, without student involvement, you may report directly to Human Resources by emailing the details to

These forms are not intended to be a substitute for immediate intervention; if you are reporting an emergency situation or need an immediate emergency response, please contact NOVA Police at 703-764-5000 or dial 911.


Join SAS for the Virtual Clothesline Project






Join SAS for the Virtual Clothesline Project
April 14, 2020 / Events

NOVA’s Sexual Assault Services presents: The Clothesline Project, a powerful visual display to educate students and the community that violence is a problem everywhere and there is always hope because help toward the path to healing is available. Would you like to show your support for those who have been impacted by sexual and domestic violence? Then join us in our efforts to raise awareness by decorating a paper cut-out of a tee-shirt to express your feelings about violence. Write a positive message or draw or paint an inspiring image. Take a photo of your creation and send it to to be curated for an online photo gallery on the Virtual Student Union webpage. There, it will be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of sexual and domestic violence, and it will collectively show survivors that they are not alone. We care and we support them. Submission deadline is Friday, April 24, 5pm.

Tip of the Week: Alcohol Usage Tips for Alcohol Awareness Month












From our friends @ Commonhealth…

April is Alcohol Awareness Month Alcohol Awareness Month is observed nationally each April and provides the public an opportunity to learn more about issues related to alcohol use. In observance, Virginia ABC’s Education and Prevention Section shares the following information regarding responsible alcohol consumption. You can find more information on alcohol education and prevention, including digital resources for all ages on Virginia ABC’s website.  The contents of the CommonHealth weekly emails may be reprinted from an outside resource in the area of health, safety, and wellness and is intended to provide one or more views on a topic.These views do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth of Virginia, CommonHealth, or any particular agency and are offered for educational purposes.If you have questions or concerns about this article, please email us at wellness@dhrm.virginia.govDrinking in moderation can minimize an individual’s risk for experiencing the negative effects of alcohol.For women, low-risk drinking is defined as no more than –three drinks on a single day and no more than seven drinks per week. For men, it’s no more than four drinks on a single day and no more than 14 drinks per week. Low-risk doesn’t mean no risk however. Even within low-risk limits, problems can arise for adults who drink too quickly, have health conditions, or are older than 65. Seven in 10 adults always drink at low-risk levels or don’t drink at all.No matter which beverage a person chooses to consume, it’s the quantity of the beverage consumed that’s most important. Understanding standard drink sizes can help one gauge consumption.  A standard size drink is the equivalent to 12 ounces of beer with 5% alcohol by volume (ABV), 5 ounces of wine with 12% ABV and a 1.5 ounce shot of 80 proof liquor.  Alcohol is not always served in the same size constraints of a standard drink.  Additionally, the ABV in craft beers, wines, liquors and mixed drinks is not always equivalent to the ABV of a standard drink.Be sure to check labels.April is also Stress Awareness Month.  During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, recognizing the need to manage stress is more important than ever. It can be tempting to reach for a drink in a stressful situation, but maintaining mental and physical health should be atop priority. Here are some tips to keep in mind: If you did not drink before, do not start now.Consuming alcohol does not protect you from COVID-19. Eat healthy and get enough rest.If you are working from home, try to maintain a schedule and routine.Even in the midst of social distancing, you can stay connected. Reach out virtually to friends/family. Share your feelings and support others.








Tip of the Week: Staying Healthy During Flu Season

With cold and flu season swinging into full gear, it can be hard to make sure your immune system is keeping up with your everyday life. Here are a few tips that will help you stay healthy:
• Eat More Protein: Diets with low protein can lead to a weaker immune system so make sure you are incorporating protein into every meal!
• Try to be in the Sun: Vitamin D is a great way to help fight off a cold. If you believe you are not getting enough sunlight in your life, try to find foods that are high in Vitamin D like orange juice, cheese, tuna, and egg yolks!
• Drink Some Green Tea: Green tea has been known to be associated with good health because of its high levels of antioxidants, so skip the coffee and drink some tea!
• Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Your body will be susceptible to a cold if you are running on a couple hours of sleep every night. Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential tool to keep your immune system strong.
• Drink Lots of Fluids: Staying hydrated is an easy way to ensure your immune system is strong so make sure you drink lots of water!
• Practice Good Hygiene: Limiting your exposer to germs is essential to staying healthy. Try to take showers daily, wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing!

For more tips about staying healthy throughout the semester, visit

Visit the NOVACares Resources page for more info:

Tip of the Week: Time Management

With the semester starting to pick up and midterms around the corner, managing all your assignments and responsibilities can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to manage your time the most effective way:
• Make a Daily To-Do List: With everything going on it is easy to forget an assignment. Make a daily to-do list to prioritize what needs to be accomplished in that day. That way you can use your time efficiently and not be overwhelmed!
• Establish a Routine and Try to Stick to It: You will be much more productive if you stick to a routine and are less likely to mess around when you first wake up.
• Try Not to Multitask: Dividing your time and energy between multiple things will take you twice as long to accomplish both things. Set up blocks of time to do each individual activity. That way you are fully engaged at each task at hand!
• Believe in yourself: Having a lot of assignments can make you feel overwhelmed, but if you believe in yourself that you can get the work done, then it is bound to happen!

For more information about stress management go to

Healthy Relationships Week Is Coming to NOVA

In celebration of Valentine’s Day NOVA SEXUAL ASSAULT SERVICES (known as “SAS”) will be visiting the Annandale, Loudoun, Medical Education, and Woodbridge NOVA Campuses to share information on Healthy Relationships. Stop by our table where you can gather information on HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS and create your own handmade Valentine’s Day Cards for family, friends or that special someone in your life for free! Hope to see you there and bring your friends!

Annandale- Monday, February 10th from 11-2 – CA 3rd Floor
Loudoun – Tuesday, February 11th from 11:30-1 – LC Cafe
Medical Education – Wednesday, February 12th from 11-2 – 1st Floor
Woodbridge – Thursday, February 13th from 11-1- WS Lobby

Tip of the Week: Feeling Unmotivated?

Tip of the Week: Feeling Unmotivated? Coming back from winter break can make it hard getting back into the flow of the new semester. Here are a few tips on how to get back on track:
1.) Stay Organized: Keep all your papers, books, and assignments organized which will make your life so much easier. If you are organized and know where everything is, you will be more motivated to do your work rather if you know you have to look for it before you even begin.
2.) Create Goals: When you have a lot of assignments due, they can be overwhelming to think about let alone do. If you create a set of goals you want to achieve each day, it will make you feel less overwhelmed and feel even better once you cross them off your list.
3.) Take Breaks When Needed: If your body is screaming at you for a break, you should listen to it! Take a fifteen-minute walk outside or listen to music for thirty minutes. Allowing your mind to re-energize is a great way to come back and be even more motivated than before.
4.) Get a Good Night’s Sleep: You will not get anything done if you are running on a couple hours of sleep every night. Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential tool to keep you motivated throughout the day.
5.) Treat Your Self: There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a reward after finishing a hard assignment. Having something to look forward to after your assignment is a great way to motivate you to keep going and finish!

For more tips about staying emotionally healthy throughout the semester, visit

Visit the NOVACares Resources page for more info:

Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Start a Mental Health Conversation with Your College Kids Over the Holidays. Shared by our friends at “This is My Brave”.

Five Ways to Start a Mental Health Conversation with your College Kids Over the Holidays

Hayley B. Sherwood, Ph.D.

Articles in the news media and online are aplenty during the holiday season, full of advice for coping with stress, difficult relationships, grief, and a host of other challenges. For parents with college students, the next several weeks is often one of the few times of the year that their children are home for an extended period of time. According to statistics on, 39% of college students experience a significant mental health issue, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among this population.

As college students wrap up exams and return home, the long holiday break can be a good time to open up a discussion about mental health. Here are several ways to start a conversation:

1. Ask questions (without badgering!). Find time to inquire about self-care habits. How much sleep are they getting and how well are they sleeping? How is their diet? Have they gained or lost a significant amount of weight? Are they improving or at least maintaining their grades? What are they doing to relax? Are they managing their time well? Are they feeling connected to roommates and classmates? Is exercise part of their routine? Are they participating in any clubs or other extra-curricular activities?

2. Be honest. As your children reach young adulthood, share family mental health histories with them. Just as we discuss our family’s physical issues, like cancer or diabetes, many older teens need to hear about family addiction, depression, anxiety, psychosis, and other issues for which they might be at risk. These conversations can be uncomfortable. However, young adults in their late teens and early twenties are most vulnerable to serious mental illness, especially when those related to them have been diagnosed. For example, informing your children that addiction runs in the family might just alert them that excessive use of things like alcohol, drugs, video games, porn, or spending could lead to more self- destructive choices or long-term consequences down the road. Talk with your children about more adaptive ways of coping with stress.

3. Be a resource. Let your child know you support them in finding mental health help in college and in the college community. Most colleges have counseling and/or learning centers that offer individual and group services for a range of issues. Offer to assist in identifying mental health resources online, as well as on- and off-campus. If your child is struggling academically or has a history of receiving school-based support prior to college, consulting with staff in their college Office of Disability Services could lead to accommodations in the classroom. As legal adults, college-aged children must take the lead in seeking out these services, but parents can also encourage their child, along with track down paperwork or reach out for guidance from therapists or other professionals who may have supported their child in high school.

4. Equip. Think about offering your college students free or inexpensive apps that help ease stress and/or cope with a variety of mental health conditions, including Happify, Insight Timer, Calm, Breathe2Relax, Sanvello and What’s Up, as well as MindShift (anxiety), Recovery Record (eating disorders), Panic Relief (panic disorder), Twenty-Four Hours A Day (addiction) and eMoods (bipolar disorder).

5. Keep in touch. As your children prepare to return to college, especially if they are struggling with a mental health issue,
establish a plan for staying in regular contact. Setting aside time for a call or Facetime, not just texting,
allows parents to hear their children’s voice, which is a better way to see how they are feeling.

Taking the time to connect and engage in these vital conversations over the holidays can make a huge difference in how your young adult learns to prioritize and manage their mental health.

About the Author:

Dr. Sherwood is a Board Member of This Is My Brave, as well as the Owner and Clinical Psychologist of Oak Hill Psychological Services, PLLC, in Herndon, Virginia. She specializes in adolescent, women’s and family issues.