Moore ’21 Embraces Mental Health As Caregiver

March 4, 2021 Caitlin Burns

Arcadia University student Tiara Moore

English major Tiara Moore ’21 has never known a “typical” college experience. While she works at the Writing Center, is a peer mentor for the Gateway to Success Program, and was a member of the indoor Track & Field team before COVID-19, Moore is also a caregiver for her mother who suffered a stroke about five years ago.

Moore said her mother, who is wheelchair bound from the stroke, doesn’t have functional mobility in half her body, so she helps her with cooking, cleaning, and personal care. The pandemic put a wrench into the routine Moore and her brother had worked out throughout her college experience—for the first few months she couldn’t visit her mother due to living in her apartment off-campus.

“Making sure my mom didn’t get sick was the number-one priority,” said Moore. “I want to make sure she’s taken care of because I worry a lot about her.”

Now, with the ability to take courses online, Moore has adapted her schedule to stay with her mother for a few days at a time, compared to when she would commute after classes to her mother’s home in Philadelphia. As an approved commuter student for the spring 2021 semester, Moore said the regular surveillance testing puts her mind at ease when working with her mother. She has also taken advantage of the reopening of the Kuch Center.

“I enjoy working out, and it helps with my mental health,” said Moore. “It’s an outlet for me. I’ve been going to Counseling [Services] since my first year at Arcadia. My counselor has given me a lot of inspiration through the pandemic. Most caregivers don’t have time to take care of themselves, so I needed to take time for myself and not feel guilty.”

In addition to exercise, Moore coped with the pandemic through connecting with others virtually and knowing when to take a break from the workload. Additionally, she focused on eating right.

Moore encourages others to use Counseling Services for any issue—big or small. She said one of the misconceptions about counseling is that you can only go for “big” issues, like depression, anxiety, or traumatic events. However, she wants others to know that they shouldn’t be ashamed to seek counseling for anything they’re struggling with.

“It’s a place where you learn about yourself,” said Moore. “It’s important to not stigmatize why we go to counseling.”

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