The resources you need to stay well.

During these difficult times, we must prioritize our mental health as well as our physical well-being.

Two women sitting and talking.

As COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black men and women, we must do all we can to not only fight the virus, but to champion mental health for communities of color. 
  
We should all be aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health distress. With the right coping mechanisms, these feelings can be understood and managed. This page aims to introduce coping strategies, online resources, and contact information to help you and your loved ones manage emotional distress and maintain mental wellbeing.

Coping Strategies

A therapist talking to a patient in an office setting.

Stay in or Seek out Therapy

The pandemic has caused many people to suffer in ways they had never experienced before. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. We are aware that access and affordability are injustices that impact if and how members of our community seek mental health care. University Counseling Service (UCS) offers a wide range of counseling and psychological services to assist currently enrolled students. We are working to expand those services to account for the increased need. Upon referral, psychiatric services are also available. Databases for external mental health care providers are listed in the Resources section of this page.

Mindfulness

In addition to professional mental health care, mindfulness can be a valuable mental wellness tool. Certain practices can be particularly helpful as we all continue to adjust to our unusual schedules. Please see the Resources section below for app recommendations.

Don’t Rely on Drugs and Alcohol

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends avoiding reliance on drugs and alcohol for comfort. While the prospect of escape can be appealing, substance use can ultimately worsen your issues. There is a 20% overlap between people with anxiety or mood disorders and substance use disorders, and substances can exacerbate symptoms. If you feel you need a relaxation aid, you can instead turn to an accountability partner, mindfulness tactic, exercise, or other healthy coping mechanisms.

Set Realistic Expectations

The pandemic has caused many of us to enter a period of stasis, where we feel unmotivated to pursue certain tasks, opting instead to try and await a return to normalcy. While we shouldn’t set unrealistic expectations, neither should we remove any incentive to pursue our goals. This uncertainty is likely to cause anxiety, stress and depression, as well as feelings that we lost a year of life and productivity. Exercise can be a great outlet and an opportunity to pursue small, attainable goals for ourselves that we can accomplish from home.

University Counseling Service and Crisis Line

 

The word "Counseling" with simple drawings to represent "people", "help", "professional", and "support".

University Counseling Service (UCS) continues to provide clinical services.

Students can call (202)806-6870 or email HUCounseling@howard.edu to request an initial appointment. Same-day appointments are available when needed. The crisis line is open to all students (202)345-6709 from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays and 24 hours during weekends and holidays. 

 

A Mental Health Conversation with President Frederick & Dr. Michael Barnes

Resources

  • Free Two-Year Peloton Membership: Take advantage of the mental health benefits of exercise. Beyoncé and Peloton have partnered to provide a free two-year Peloton Digital membership to students at 10 HBCUs, including Howard. The membership provides a full library of fitness classes through the Peloton App, which can be used with or without equipment. To redeem your free membership, check your Howard email for a special code sent around Thanksgiving 2020. Check your junk folder if you have not received an email.
  • Psychology Today - Find a Therapist: University Counseling Services are available to Howard University students, but if you are seeking a private therapist, Psychology Today's directory of mental health providers is a flexible and free resource. The directory can be searched by location and filtered by insurance providers taken, ethnicity served, age, specialty, price range, and more. 
  • Therapy for Black Girls: Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to promoting mental wellness for Black women and girls. Includes a searchable directory of Black female mental health providers, a members-only online community for Black women, a blog, and a podcast hosted by a licensed psychologist.
  • The Equilibrium Podcast: A Howard University affiliated podcast focused on Black men's mental health. Hosted by Dr. Phillip Graham & Dr. DéLon Isom.
  • D.C. Community Response Team: Washington, D.C.'s mobile crisis unit. Mobile crisis units are locally-based groups of mental health providers that provide immediate response emergency mental health evaluations and crisis services; as such, they can be an alternative to calling 9-1-1 in a mental health crisis. If you are outside of Washington, D.C., enter the search term "mobile crisis unit" with location services on in a search engine of your choice to see local crisis services near you.
  • Crisis Text Line: If for any reason you would prefer a text-based crisis hotline, Crisis Text Line is available 24/7.
  • Shine App: An award-winning daily self-care app created by women of color. Shine is currently offering a free year of Shine Premium to healthcare workers, essential workers, and those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
  • Calm App: The #1 app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation.
  • The Safe Place App: A mental health app geared towards the Black community. Includes resources for education, breathing techniques, and more.
  • Mindful.org: Mindfulness is a state of active, non-judgmental, open attention to the present used to manage anxiety, pain, and other ailments. Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist and Hindu traditions and has been integrated into multiple types of clinical therapy. Mindful.org offers information about mindfulness practices, including a guide to getting started and daily mindfulness techniques.
  • Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel - Wellness Collective: The Office of the Dean of the Chapel continues to offer the Wellness Collective, an experience to nourish the mind, body, spirit and soul.
  • SAMSHA Substance Abuse Hotline: 1-800-662-4357