To say things are stressful right now would be an understatement. With news and developments in the COVID-19 situation coming in rapid fire, it's easy for us all to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and even depressed.

STARRY is a local non-profit that offers free counseling services to the people of Central Texas.

Their Counseling Program specializes in child and family counseling, while their Fatherhood Program specializes in working with fathers, soon to be fathers, and father figures.

STARRY hopes to be a friendly and sympathetic ear to anyone who needs to talk right now as we continue to face the coronavirus pandemic together. Due to the coronavirus, they are now offering no cost online or phone sessions at convenient times for families.

If that wasn’t enough, STARRY has a separate Foster Care Program that is working to recruit foster families to nurture foster children specifically in Bell County who might be facing abuse and neglect.

Together, the STARRY Counseling or Fatherhood Focus Programs can work with you to provide support during COVID-19.

The word "together" is key here because it's important to remember that you are not alone in this, and the folks at STARRY are there to listen.

You can reach STARRY at (254) 773-5802 or online at


Laura Lanford, who works with STARRY's fatherhood program, spoke with me Tuesday afternoon.

"Right now, a lot of what we're offering is just a listening ear," Laura said. "Sometimes people don't want to dig deep and really do the whole counseling thing, but they're stressed to the max and need someone to talk to. Now might be the time that they are ready to begin counseling or family support services”

While that's certainly true for just about everyone right now, parents are perhaps feeling the most stress as they balance working from home while caring for their kids. Many are having to be both parent and teacher, and that's never easy.

"A lot of parents are at home with their kids, and we can offer tips on how they can use this time to connect as a family and strengthen their bond with each other," Laura said.

Again, STARRY'S services are provided at no cost to the family.

If you or someone you know would like to reach out to STARRY and take advantage of their free counseling, give them a call at (254) 773-5802 or visit

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