Everyone experiences some form of stress in their daily life. Whether it is due to school, work, or your personal life, you have experience stress at one point in your life. For Black students and professionals, the stress also comes from the events happening in the world around us. Each day the news depicts black people unjustly being harassed, harmed, or profiled while doing daily tasks. This can take a toll on one’s mental health in multiple forms such as trouble concentrating, anxiety, worry, lack of appetite, trouble sleeping, and many other forms. The question is:
How can Black Students and professionals support and protect their mental health during these high stress and traumatic situations?
- Take time off.
- When we see these events appear to people who look just like us on television, the news, and social media it is a form of trauma we are enduring and it takes time to process and cope with it. When these events immediately occur and trigger an emotional response it may be best to take time away from things that can heighten stress such as work, school, and avoiding social media. Taking time to be with family and/or surrounded by people who can comfort and support during these high stress times is vital to protecting ones mental health.
- Meditation and yoga are good ways to reduce stress and anxiety for everyone. It promotes breathing, exercise, and mindfulness. If you are not comfortable nor familiar with meditation/ yoga. You can use a guided meditation app to assist. Additionally, the University of Connecticut Recreation Center offers group yoga classes for all levels throughout the week. If you’re not comfortable with in person classes or doing group yoga, the center has YouTube yoga videos that you can do on your free time. Both options are available through their website: recreation.uconn.edu
- Rest is vital to maintaining a healthy mental health. Maintaining 7-9 hours of rest per night, helps reduce the body’s cortisol levels which contribute to stress levels. The higher the cortisol levels, the higher your body’s stress response is. Getting a good night’s sleep helps control this.
- For long-term mental health support, UConn offers mental health services for students and employees alike. For students SHaW offers individual and group therapy. BLOOM is a group therapy for female undergrad BIPOC to meet and discuss any challenges they may be facing. To set up any of these therapies SHaW can be contacted at 860-486-4705. For Faculty and Staff, UConn offers short-term counseling or referrals to long-term counseling through the Employee Assistance Program. EAP is confidential and 24/7 and can be contacted for an intake/assessment at 888-993-7650.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help I available. Please text or call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also chat using 988lifeline.org.