College Student

Mental Health

Tokenism: 

Being a BIPOC token is when areas of recruitment, in this case, Predominately White Institutions (PWI) use students of minority groups to give the appearance of racial “diversity” within the institution. A lot of the time, BIPOC students applying to college are suggested to write about their traumatic experiences in their college essays to attract the institution. Whereas their white peers are not suggested to do so. As a BIPOC student, bringing up these traumatic experiences can be very emotionally challenging and exhausting. Your traumatic experiences do not define who you are. You are more than your trauma. If you feel comfortable in sharing your story, then by all means you can. However, if you feel that it is nobody's business what you and your family have been through, do not feel pressured to do so. You are who you want to be without having your trauma define you. If colleges can not see who you truly are, then they did not deserve you in the first place.

DACA Students: 

Applying for colleges and scholarships is a very stressful time for students. However, it is even more stressful when your citizenship status is the constant barrier that holds you back from applying to financial aid and colleges. You may have never visited your birth place and have lived your whole life in the United States yet you are still seen as an “International student” for many colleges. Your struggle will never be understood by your citizen peers. American citizenship is a privilege that is taken for granted. However, do not let these limitations define who you are and your future. You are more than a piece of paper that states your status. You are who you want to become. Please reach out to non-profits/organizations that work specifically with undocumented students. Also, reach out to your college! They might have helpful resources available for DACA students. A lot of the time, college counselors can be very busy with other stuff that they often forget that a lot of the resources they send out do not qualify for DACA students. Working with organizations and individuals who understand you is very very important. Not only will they be able to provide you with resources, but they can be your mentors during these difficult times. Being around people who understand your struggle is good for your mental health. It provides DACA students with the opportunity to stop feeling like an outsider from their peers, it gives them a voice. Reach out to individuals who work in these organizations by sending an email! You can visit our High School DACA page for links on some resources we found. However, the list goes on, research for help within the college you will be attending or other non-profits/organizations within your area.

Common Stressors:

  • Not knowing if you are going to college for yourself or for your parents to fulfill the pressure you have of them sacrificing themselves to give you a better life. 

    • You are not alone in this. A lot of students from low-income and/or immigrant households feel a pressure to fulfill college expectations to make our families proud. It is difficult to have this conversation with your parents because a lot of the time parents think that there are no other options but to go to college. It might be helpful to set a meeting up with a college counselor to talk about some options you have been thinking about. It is nice to have a third party give perspective on the conversation. If this is not possible, ask yourself if your plans of not going to go to college are sufficient enough to support you financially throughout the years. What are your short and long term goals in your career and/or job occupation? Parents just want to make sure that you have a roof over your head and food on the table.

  • Not knowing what to major in! Everybody seems to know what major except for you. Feeling left behind from the rest of your graduating class. 

    • Sis, tell us about it! These are issues that students have even when they are in college. Being confused on what you are going to major in is completely normal. However, it is important to recognize that the major you do will not necessarily be what you do for the rest of your life. A lot of students are known to do something different from their majors when they graduate college. If you are really confused or are stuck between a couple options it is important to RESEARCH!! Search up individuals whose career you really see yourself in. A lot of the time, their resumes or CV’s are included in their professional website. You can take a look and see how they started. If you are feeling brave, send them an email and ask them some questions on how their undergraduate major helped them get to where they are now!

  • Not making it to your dream school, the plans that you made begin to completely change.

    • You go to get ice cream from the ice cream man with the idea that you are going to order a lime popsicle but they don’t have it available so you end up getting an orange popsicle. You never tried the orange popsicle but it seems you like it satisfies your needs! Your plans will always change and that is okay. The most important thing is that you stay open-minded on the opportunities that this new door has opened for you. It might be a blessing in disguise! One of our favorite quotes is, “It is not about where you start but where you end”. Reach out to someone on how you are feeling because it can be very emotional when you did not reach your vision plans. Make sure you surround yourself with a support system that values your vision and is determined to see it happen in the future.

Financial Stresses: 

As a low-income student, financial stress will always be an ongoing problem. Work study is a helpful way to make money while studying but there are often times when something comes up and you do not have enough money to support yourself with. It can also be stressful when tuition payment deadlines are approaching and you might not have enough scholarship funding to cover it. It is an ongoing issue we all face even after school is over. We suggest finding a group on campus that supports low-income and first generation college students. If there is not a group on your campus, research for local non-profits and mentors that can help you stay motivated and focused on your studies without letting the stress of money control your happiness. Yes, it is important to worry about these issues but you also can not let them take control of your spirit. Find others who will support you through these difficult times and who have also been through this or are currently going through these issues!

Culture Shock: 

According to Black Enterprise, “culture shock and isolation are common to first generation students. The academic and cultural collegiate experience is different from that of high school and can be overwhelming. First generation students may feel lonely and out of place because they have little prior knowledge or understanding of the campus culture. If there isn’t a large minority population on campus, they may also feel disconnected.” 

 

Ways to help according to Black Enterprise are to: 

  • Get Involved 

Is an opportunity to meet new people and to connect with organizations that share similar values as you!

  • Ask for Help 

Seek out for resources on your campus that can help you both emotionally and mentally!

 

  • Academic Support

Continue in trying to build a relationship with your professors to familiarize yourself with your classes! Go to office hours to get to know them and to ask questions! 

 

References: 

https://www.blackenterprise.com/how-first-generation-college-students-can-face-down-their-challenges/#:~:text=Culture%20shock%20and%20isolation%20are%20common%20to%20first%20generation%20students.&text=First%20generation%20students%20may%20feel,they%20may%20also%20feel%20disconnected.

Imposter Syndrome: 

According to NASPA, Imposter Syndrome is a “persistent self-doubt and fear of exposure as a fraud that causes many first-generation students to doubt their own abilities, discount praise, generate additional anxiety, opt for easier pathways, and to experience increased dissatisfaction within their lives.” It is very common for BIPOC First-Generation students to feel a sense of not belonging within their university that often lacks diversity and inclusion that BIPOC First-Gen students are used to in the comfort of their own communities. Believing statements such as, “I got lucky, I deceived others into believing that I am competent, and other students deserve this opportunity more than me” are signs of imposter syndrome. According to Collegeexpress.com, approximately 70% of people admit to feeling like an imposter at some point in their lives, especially college students. Do not feel that you are alone, because you are not! You worked hard to get where you are at and you deserve all of the opportunities and success that is headed your way! You belong where you are at and you are worthy!! 

 

According to Collegeexpress.com these are some key point on ways to overcome Imposter Syndrome:

  • Change your mindset 

  • Acknowledge yourself 

  • Keep a list of compliments!

  • Talk to someone you trust 

  • Express your feelings 

  • Realize that faking can work 

  • You are YOU!

 

References:

https://www.naspa.org/course/finding-the-right-connections-for-first-generation-students-with-impostor-syndrome

https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/student-life/articles/living-campus/youre-not-fake-you-just-have-imposter-syndrome/

First-Generation Familia Guilt: 

Feeling guilty of leaving your family behind is completely normal. A lot of first-generation students in their households often have a lot of responsibilities to manage within their own homes. According to the Washington Post, “in families, role assignments about work, family, religion and community are passed down through generations creating “intergenerational continuity”. It can be difficult to disrupt this custom by leaving your home and going to college. This disruption often leads students to develop two different identities for home and another for college. It can be emotionally exhausting to have this sudden shift but it is important to recognize that these unique issues are felt by many first-generation students. Find a support system within your college and home environment that understands what you might be going through with feeling guilty of leaving home and feeling like you are two different people. You are focusing on your future to hopefully give back to your community and family so think positively on why you decided to leave for college instead of feeling guilt.

Racist faculty & peers,

microaggressions, etc: 

Racism within universities is not talked about enough, it is often swept under the rug and forgotten. There will be moments in your college journey where you encounter different forms of racism within your classroom, campus, involvement, etc. Racism towards BIPOC, especially Black and Brown students is something that does not only occur in universities but it happens for the rest of their lives. If you have any racist encounters in your school, please tell someone about it. We personally recommend going to groups on campus that help first-generation/BIPOC students through cultural programming. Being active in these support groups can really help with your mental health and it can bring BIPOC students much closer together. it is often known that speaking about racism to the university's board often gets lost or overlooked. Build and participate in a community of BIPOC students in your campus that actively pursue demands of anti-racism. As a group, you all can stand up for what you need from the university to be fully supported emotionally and physically. 

Bad roommate experiences: 

If you are going to a university where you know absolutely no one, you will either choose to have a single bedroom or have a roommate! It is up to you to decide how to find a roommate. You can either have a random selection or you can search social media chats/ pages dedicated for your college and class year where you can publicly seek a roommate. Most of the time, students have good experiences with their roommates but if you lucked out and your roommate is making you feel upset or uncomfortable then it is really important you speak up about it and demand a roommate change. Your college dorm should be a place where you feel at peace because it's your own personal space that you can relax at the end of the day. If you feel that your roommate constantly disrupts this, please consider having a roommate change as soon as you can. You can also request to have a roommate who is BIPOC, First-generation, Brown/Black student, etc. if you feel more comfortable living with someone who comes from a similar cultural background as you.

Motivation: 

The “I regret to inform you” and “unfortunately” are words we are going to hear for the rest of our lives. It is very easy to feel demotivated when you keep hearing these words especially from scholarship and schools that were a part of your vision plan. It is difficult to stay motivated when you get rejected but the more you apply to different kinds of scholarships, the higher chances you have of getting at least one! 

If you feel lost with all of the rejections, please talk to somebody. Ask your college counselor if you can set up a meeting with them and reflect what your options are and which one better fits you. If you think your college counselor is not very helpful, talk to someone who helps YOU. It can be a job supervisor, art teacher, coach, family, friends, etc. Dedicate time to think concretely about all of your options, it is important that you set a clear goal for yourself that you can accomplish!

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Black/African American Community 

Black Emotional and Mental Health (BEAM)

Link: https://www.beam.community/

Mission Statement: BEAM is a training, movement building and grant making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness, and liberation of Black communities. BEAM envisions a world where there are no barriers to Black Healing. 

 

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation

Link: https://borislhensonfoundation.org/

Mission Statement: Changing the perception of mental illness in the African-American community by encouraging people to get the help they need; focuses on stigma/self-stigma reduction and building trust between Black people and the mental health field. 

 

Therapy for Black Girls

Link: https://therapyforblackgirls.com/

Mission Statement: Online space encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls; referral tool to find a therapist in your area.

 

The Loveland Foundation

Link: https://thelovelandfoundation.org/

Mission Statement: Financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy. 

Therapy for Black Men

Link: https://therapyforblackmen.org/

Mission Statement: Primarily a therapist directory for Black men seeking therapy; includes some resources and stories. 

Dr. Ebony’s My Therapy Cards

Link: https://www.mytherapycards.com/?r_done=1

Mission Statement: Self-exploration card deck created by a Black female psychologist for other women of color; created with the intention of helping other women of color grow and elevate in the areas of emotional and mental health. 


 

This information was found on Mental Health America, mhanational.org. Please visit this site for more resources about mental health for BIPOC individuals. 

(References: https://mhanational.org/issues/black-and-african-american-communities-and-mental-health)

 

Latinx/Hispanic American Community 

 

Therapy for Latinx

Link: https://www.therapyforlatinx.com/

Mission Statement: National mental health resource for the Latinx community; provides resources for Latinx community to heal, thrive, and become advocates for their own mental health. 

Latinx Therapy

Link: https://latinxtherapy.com/

Mission Statement: Breaking the stigma of mental health related to the Latinx community; learn self-help techniques, how to support self & others. 

 

The Focus on You

Link: http://thefocusonyou.com/

Mission Statement: Self-care, mental health, and inspirational blog run by a Latina therapist. 


 

This information was found on Mental Health America, mhanational.org. Please visit this site for more resources about mental health for BIPOC individuals. 

(References: https://mhanational.org/issues/latinxhispanic-communities-and-mental-health

 

Asian American/Pacific Islander 

 

Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA)

Link: https://aapaonline.org/

Mission Statement: Dedicated to advancing the mental health and wellbeing of Asian American communities through research, professional practice, education, and policy. 

 

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum 

Link: https://www.apiahf.org/

Mission Statement: Focused on improving the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. 

 

Asian American Health Initiative

Link: https://aahiinfo.org/

Mission Statement: Part of the Montgomery County Dept of Health & Human Services, but they have a lot of general Asian American resources. 

 

National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association

Link: https://www.naapimha.org/

Mission Statement: To promote the mental health and well being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Since its founding, NAAPIMHA strives to raise awareness of the role of mental health in an individual’s health and well-being, especially in Asian American Pacific Islander communities throughout the country. 

 

South Asian Therapists 

Link: https://southasiantherapists.org/

Mission Statement: Directory of South Asian Therapists, including therapists of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Afghanistani and Nepali heritage. 

 

Asian Mental Health Collective 

Link: https://www.asianmhc.org/

Mission Statement: Raises awareness about the importance of mental health care, promotes emotional well-being, and challenges the stigma concerning mental illness amongst Asian communities globally.


 

This information was found on Mental Health America, mhanational.org. Please visit this site for more resources about mental health for BIPOC individuals. 

(References:https://mhanational.org/issues/asian-americanpacific-islander-communities-and-mental-health

 

 

 

Native and Indigenous Community 

 

Indigenous Story Studio 

Link: https://istorystudio.com/

Mission Statement: Creates illustrations, posters, videos, and comic books on health and social issues for youth (Canada-based). 

 

One Sky Center 

Link: http://www.oneskycenter.org/

Mission Statement: The American Indian/Alaska Native National Resources Center for Health, Education, and Research; mission is to improve prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use problems and services among Native people. 

 

WeRNative 

Link: https://www.wernative.org/

Mission Statement: A comprehensive health resource for Native youth by Native youth, promoting holistic health and positive growth in local communities and nation at large. 

Strong Hearts Native Helpline

Link: https://www.strongheartshelpline.org/

Mission Statement: The Strong Hearts Native Helpline (1-844-762-8483) is a confidential and anonymous culturally-appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 am to 10 pm CT.


 

This information was found on Mental Health America, mhanational.org. Please visit this site for more resources about mental health for BIPOC individuals. 

(References:https://mhanational.org/issues/native-and-indigenous-communities-and-mental-health


 

LGBTQ+ Community 

 

Kansas City Center for Inclusion

Link:https://www.inclusivekc.org/

Mission Statement: To provide safe, inclusive LGBTQIA+ community spaces where people can come for education, resources, and activities, as well as support a more cohesive LGBTQIA+ community in the greater Kansas City Area. 

 

The Trevor Project

Link: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Mission Statement: Offers accredited life-saving, life-affirming programs and services to LGBTQ youth that create safe, accepting and inclusive environments over the phone, online and through text. 24/7 support via phone, text, or online instant messaging.

 

National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network

Link: https://www.nqttcn.com/

Mission Statement: Healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color (QTPoC). 

 

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network 

Link: https://www.glsen.org/

Mission Statement: National Network of educators, students, and local chapters working to give students a safe, supportive, and LGBTQ+ inclusive education. 

 

Human Right Campaign 

Link: https://www.hrc.org/

Mission Statement: America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality. Their website has a wealth of information and resources for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. 


 

This information was found on Mental Health America, mhanational.org. Please visit this site for more resources about mental health for BIPOC individuals. 

(References:https://mhanational.org/issues/lgbtq-communities-and-mental-health


(References: https://www.mhanational.org/bipoc-mental-health)