Counselor's Corner

Sutherland, Octavia
Villa Rica Middle

When families drop their children off at Villa Rica Middle School (VRMS) or take them to the bus stop to go to VRMS they trust that VRMS is going to keep their child(ren) safe during the day. Teachers, principals, counselor, and staff strive to keep VRMS a safe haven for our youth. Unfortunately, schools may be touched either directly or indirectly by a crisis of any kind, and being prepared for the unthinkable is key.

Having specific plans in place for those unexpected moments are not only beneficial, but also imperative in times of crisis. The best way to help students cope and handle these moments are for the school counselor to take a proactive approach. Below are some resources that can be used to assist students.


Mental Health Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-8255

For the hearing and speech impaired: 800-799-4TTY (4889)

Offers free and confidential support to those in suicidal or emotional distress through a national network of crisis centers.


Boys Town Suicide and Crisis Line – 800-448-3000

Provides crisis and suicide support 24/7 in 40 languages, including for the hearing and speech impaired.


Crisis Text Line – text HOME to 741741

Provides text-based help with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.


Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) - 800-715-4225

Provides free and confidential 24/7 suicide and crisis support to Georgians.


The Trevor Project – 866-488-7386

Provides a nationwide crisis-intervention and suicide-prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, transgender and questioning youth.           


Counseling Services

  • My primary role as a professional school counselor focuses on the core curriculum. The delivery of this model focuses on building and maintaining the “whole” child and offers assistance in reaching personal, academic, social/emotional and career goals. In cases where students require a more personal perspective, individual guidance will be available through a referral process completed by teachers, parents, as well as the student themselves. Group guidance will also be provided for identified small groups of students on an as-needed basis.

    Components of Counseling 
    1. Core Curriculum
    2. Individual Guidance
    3. Group Guidance
    4. College and Career Readiness

    Individual Guidance
    Seeks to assist the student in the art of problem-solving inside and outside of the classroom.

    Group Guidance
    Provides resolution to groups of students who share a common bond or problem.  Students will work toward achieving a common goal together over a specified time period. 

Mental Health Resources

What EXACTLY is a Virus?


You already know a new virus has brought normal life to a halt in the United States. But you may not remember what a virus even is. They're invisible and can make us sick — but how? And why is it so hard for scientists to stop a new virus?

There are many different types of viruses, including ones that affect animals, plants and other organisms, so it's often a challenge to nail down an answer to even simple questions. The answers below won't explain how every virus behaves, but in a time where it's easy to feel powerless and confused, they will help you understand why fighting the current pandemic is such a challenge.

What does the Coronavirus do to your body? 

Everything to know about the infection process

What is a Virus?

virus is a microscopic piece of genetic material surrounded by a coat made of proteins. It enters healthy cells and hijacks them, creating copies of itself. When viruses begin replicating inside a living organism, it can cause an infectious disease. In the case of the current coronavirus pandemic, the virus is SARS-CoV-2 and the disease is called COVID-19. 

Are Viruses alive?

It's complicated. The National Human Genome Research Institute describes viruses as existing "near the boundary between the living and the nonliving." That's because viruses can't function without interacting with a living cell. On their own, they're also essentially inert — unable to move — as a 2017 study notes“By themselves, they can’t do anything. They need a host cell to replicate,” virologist Paulo Verardi told USA TODAY.  Verardi works on vaccine development and is a University of Connecticut professor. He suggested thinking of them like a parasite: An organism that survives by harming another species. But definitively answering whether a virus is alive may be more of a philosophy question than one strictly for science, Verardi said. 

How do you kill a Virus?

If it's outside your body, soap. Once the virus begins replicating inside your body, it's much harder. Most viruses, especially respiratory viruses, are easily "disassembled" by soap when they are outside your body, Verardi said.  As long as you scrub your hands vigorously and rinse well with water, the soap essentially kills the virus. Once the virus begins to take hold in your body, it's up to your immune system to clear it out.

There's two main ways this is done, Verardi said. First, the body can attempt to attack the virus directly, stopping it from hijacking cells and spreading rapidly. And secondly, the body can attempt to spot its own cells that are infected with the virus and kill those cells. That's obviously not ideal and can cause damage to your body — but it's often necessary to stop the spread of the virus. 

How and why does a Virus make us sick? 

The specifics of this will vary based on the virus. But broadly, Verardi says you should think of the interaction between the virus and your body as a war. As a virus replicates in your body, two damaging processes are at play. The first one: The virus is infecting cells and using them to replicate itself — this process often kills the infected body cells, causing damage to the body. At the same time, the immune system is trying to clear the virus from the body. If too many cells are infected, the immune system's response — targeting infected cells — can also be harmful. This battle can cause all sorts of problems in our body, depending on the virus and its location: inflammation, fever, mucus and more can occur. In many cases, our bodies win the battle — viruses like the flu or the common cold are usually fairly easy for a healthy person to recover from. But some viruses can be much harder to fight, especially for people with compromised immune systems.

Can vaccines or medicines help fight a viral disease?

Yes, but typically only when they target a virus specifically. It's something like the relationship between a key and a lock: You can't use any key to get the desired result. What makes things worse: As viruses replicate rapidly, some of them mutate. When that happens, vaccines and treatments must account for a virus that doesn't stay the same. That's the case for the flu and why there is a new flu shot every year, Verardi said. Drugs, specifically anti-viral medications, can help fight viruses once a person is infected. But they work best before a virus hijacks too many of the body's cells. Again, the same mutation dilemma often applies.

Information source: Joel Shannon USA TODAY