The inequalities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and racially motivated acts of injustice and oppression have created challenges and exacerbated the burdens for students of color in higher education, who are disproportionately likely to come from low-income communities and/or immigrant backgrounds, and have inadequate access to healthcare. The University of Michigan and The Steve Fund partnered over the past year to expand research and scholarship, and develop resources and professional development opportunities for higher education staff, faculty, and mental health providers to support the well-being and mental health of students of color.
Many students of color routinely report negative experiences in social and academic contexts on their campuses, and the recent increased stressors and trauma due to COVID-19 and racial violence represent both an educational and mental health concern. We share this video toolkit at a critical time when students of color are likely facing unprecedented levels of pressure, tension and distress. We hope you will join us in continuing to learn about and support the mental health and well-being of students of color in higher education. Together, we can play an important role in helping them get through this crisis and plan proactively for the aftermath in order to assist students of color in achieving their academic and career goals.
Tabbye Chavous, PhD
Professor of Education and Psychology
Associate Vice President for Research
Director, National Center for Institutional Diversity
University of Michigan
Annelle Primm, MD
Senior Medical Advisor
The Steve Fund
The events of the past few days have once again focused the world’s attention on the distressing impacts of racial inequities and injustice in America. We must all acknowledge the existing structures and worldviews that create and maintain racial and cultural disparities, such as the insidious anti-Blackness that stokes disharmony, exclusion, and violence. We condemn racism and violence in all of its forms.
Young people of color already face unique challenges as they navigate the path from adolescence to adulthood. The escalation and layering of despair and adverse social determinants present profound risks to their mental health and emotional well-being. Unaddressed, these risks threaten every dimension of their safe transition to a healthy and productive adulthood and the attainment of even modest health, education, social and economic outcomes. Fostering resilience among young people of color caught in this current quagmire of the COVID-19 pandemic, associated devastation and racial trauma warrants deliberate and intentional investments and support services that remove young people of color from harm’s way.
The Steve Fund is the nation’s leading organization focused on supporting the mental, social, and emotional health and well-being of young people of color. We are committed to the goal of promoting the mental health of students of color during this most trying time and in its aftermath through our programs, services, and technical assistance. We invite you to learn more here.
This is a painful, tragic period and understandably, many of us are hurting. The following resources may help you cope during this difficult period.
- Community Healing Network: Healing in the Face of Racial Trauma
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Taking Care of Yourself
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network position statement on racial trauma and African Americans
- Self-Care Tips For Black People Who Are Struggling With This Very Painful Week (Vice)
- Boston College Racial Trauma Toolkit
- NYU The Trauma of Racism