Multicultural Resource Commons

BIPOC Resources

This page is dedicated to housing resources that exist on- and off-campus for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

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Self Assessment
Tips for Optimizing Mental Health

You don’t have to experience a mental health crisis to take your mental health seriously. Here are some preventive steps you can take to optimize your mental health:

  • Identify the type of processor you are. (verbal/written/physical)
  • Make a coping plan, keeping in mind what is helpful to you when you feel overwhelmed.
    • Physical outlets: sports, dance, boxing, yoga, etc.
    • Write it down: journaling.
    • Say it out loud (to yourself or others).
  • Ask your support system [beforehand]:
    • “What can you handle?”
    • “How much is too much to share with you?”
  • Identify spaces of belonging.
What Therapy Is (and is not)

Therapy cannot be successful unless you want to be there.

It is important to come to therapy on your own accord. Feeling pressured to be at therapy is often counterproductive. Be honest and forthcoming about your reluctance with your therapist.

Therapy will not fix you. You will fix you.

Therapists help clients help themselves. By encouraging clients to discover their own unhelpful patterns, therapists are encouraging self-awareness instead of dependency (like with advice-giving).

Therapy does not always make you feel better.

There is a reason they are called “growing pains”. Making a meaningful breakthrough in therapy requires bravery, willingness to change, greater understanding of self and what motivates you, and an ability to tolerate distress.

Therapy will not work if you have unrealistic expectations.

Change takes time. In therapy, change requires insight development and replacing old behaviors with new ones. Collaboratively set sensible and realistic goals, that are specific to your needs, with your therapist.

Therapy is not like talking to a friend.

Therapists train many years. They listen not solely to understand, but also to analyze and identify. Therapist also remain objective and operate within an unbiased, balanced framework.

Therapy requires you to be comfortable with your therapist.

Finding a therapist that is a “good fit” is important for meaningful change to happen. Be honest with yourself about if you feel at ease with your therapist and comfortable talking about sensitive issues.

Mental Health & People of Color

Mental health is a growing concern in the U.S. as a whole, however, people of color are 50% less likely to seek care for mental health concerns as compared to whites.

There are significant historical, structural, and interpersonal factors that cause mental health disparities by race. We designed this resource toolkit to help you design strategies to optimize your mental health and support the mental health of our communities.

Common Mental Health Challenges for POC


Many communities of color view mental health challenges as “First World” or “white people problems.” Because previous generations endured structural discrimination/oppression like slavery and immigration, younger people are sometimes judged for their mental health conditions and told to “get over it.” This dismissal can make people feel weak, isolated, and ashamed of their mental health conditions, worsening their mental health. 

Intergenerational experiences are subjective. Your feelings are valid despite what others may tell you. Take the time to recognize what your stress level is and manage it in a healthy and balanced way. 

The Pressures of Being One of the Few

Sometimes POC feel that as “one of the few” POC in predominantly white spaces, they are pressured to act in ways that do not reinforce negative racial stereotypes. This may lead to emotional distress. 

You are not the spokesperson for your race. Find healthy ways to express your emotion like physical exercise and talk therapy. 

“Self-Care” Viewed as Selfish

There’s a tendency in POC communities to view “self-care” activities (i.e. sleep, exercise, therapy, massage, creating and maintaining healthy boundaries, etc.) as selfish, a waste of money, and better allocated for other matters. This can exacerbate your mental health by creating feelings of self-blame. 

You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Self-care is preventative care and is worth the time, money, and energy. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Isolation & Belonging

POC on the majority of campuses are less likely to describe their community as inclusive, and more likely to feel isolated. This creates feelings of loneliness that create feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. If race is excluded as a factor, communities that experience discrimination and/or oppression report higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. 

While it may be natural to gravitate toward people from our own race, it is most important to be around supportive people. Building community is finding a safe space where you are accepted as you are. Get Connected with a Provider

Get Connected with a Provider