We find help, hope and healing together — with our families, loved ones and communities. Young women of color are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicide, and face inequitable access to care and treatments. But we know that with support, knowledge and care, we will SHINE!

Mental Health Resources for Young Women of Color


Even as our culture tells us to be strong, we know it takes strength to get support when we need it.





Native / Indigenous

We are here. We persevere. We rely on our spiritual traditions and community to thrive.





South Asian

Taking care of ourselves and talking about our mental health may not come easily, but it can make a difference.





Asian American & Pacific Islanders

Together, we empower ourselves with our cultural history and traditions.





Middle Eastern

The myth of being a “model minority” can hold us back from caring for ourselves and shaping our future.





African American / Black

To come…





Uplifting Black Young Women Wellness Series

Supporting healthy body image and self-esteem for Black young women and girls

Watch a community conversation for Mental Health Practitioners and Educators.

Let your light SHINE

Here are 5 S-H-I-N-E calls to action to help each of us on our journey. See how you can take action and let your light SHINE today.


1. Seek and
Share Resources

The S in SHINE stands for Seek and Share resources to care for your mental health and well-being. When you care for yourself, your light SHINES brighter, which supports you in helping your loved ones SHINE too. As young women of color, our healing is rooted in our cultures, families, and communities. So when you have found a great resource, feel free to Share it with a friend, family member, Elder, or community member so that they can SHINE right along with you.

Crisis hotlines

If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, please take action: Text STEVE to 741741 for young people of color to connect with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 from the Crisis Text Line.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

En Español: 1-888-628-9454
For the deaf and hard of hearing: Dial 711, then 1-800-273-8255.

Speak On It Podcast

The Steve Fund’s SpeakOnIt Podcast brings students and professionals together to discuss topics related to mental health and the challenges that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color may face during their academic and professional careers.

Steve Fund Blog

Read topical, thoughtful articles and posts about mental health and wellness especially for young people of color. 


Join webinars that examine critically important topics and explore opportunities for collaboration, learning and insights that inform the work of The Steve Fund.

Steve Fund YouTube Channel

Watch inspiring videos from webinars, events, convenings, and seminars on various topics impacting the mental health of young people.

Community Conversations

Join a free, public series that brings mental health, academic, and workplace experts into virtual conversation with the Steve Fund community. Together, engaging professionals, students and families explore timely topics to understand and support the mental health and wellbeing of young people of color.

Youth Advisory Board

The Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board engages high school and college students of color from across the nation in discussion about the issues and needs they face related to the mental health and emotional wellbeing of their peers. The insights, perspectives and recommendations of the YAB help shape the Steve Fund’s goals, programming, communications and impact.

2. Have a Conversation

The H in SHINE stands for Have a conversation with a loved one about caring for our mental health. Loved ones care about our well-being but sometimes they may not know how to help. One way to start is with a conversation with a friend, family member, or member of your community about why mental health matters and what you may need from them to support you.

9 steps with conversation tips and starters

1. Location

Find a comfortable space and a good time to talk about your mental health

2. Preparing your loved one.

Ask your loved one if they are ready to talk about mental health. This helps prepare them for the conversation.

3. Prepare yourself.

It helps to have a conversation like this if you have eaten something or gotten enough rest.

4. Provide background.

Start by providing some background about what you have been feeling lately. Example conversation starters:

  • “Lately, I have been feeling really sad because…”
  • “I have been feeling overwhelmed or stressed because…”
  • “Sometimes I don’t feel motivated to go to school, hang out with my friends, or [explain another activity that has been difficult for you] because…”
  • “Sometimes it feels hard for me to get out of bed because…” 
  • “I have been acting distant or wanting to be left alone because…”
  • “I have been feeling on edge or irritated by things because…”
  • “I have been feeling lonely because…”
  • “ I have been feeling unheard or misunderstood because…”
  • “I have been feeling mad or frustrated because…”
  • “I have been feeling out of it or exhausted because…”
  • “Some days I feel good, and other days I feel bad because…”
  • “Sometimes I feel like things are unfair because…”
  • “Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who is experiencing ______ because…”
  • “Sometimes I feel a tightening in my chest because…”

5. Share causes, if you know them.

If you can, try to describe why you have been feeling the way you have. Perhaps there is a life experience that may have influenced your emotions.

If your feelings have been impacted by something that happened, sharing this information can help a loved one understand your experience. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint why you’re feeling the way you do, and that’s okay too. You can say that. For example, “I feel ______, but I don’t know why.”

6. Share duration.

Tell your loved one how long you have been feeling this way. For example, “I have been feeling this way for months” or “years” or “over the last few weeks”. Helping a loved one understand how long you have been feeling a certain way can help them understand why caring for your mental health is not only important but timely.

7. Share mental health facts.

Sometimes, providing some facts about mental health can help provide perspective, create awareness, and show that you are not the only one experiencing a mental health challenge. Here are some facts to get you started.

Did you know?

  • Girls and young women of color are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicidal ideation and attempts due to lack of treatment and access to care? 
  • Sometimes girls and  young women of color explain their mental health symptoms as physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, heart palpitations, chest tightness, weight gain or loss, or pain?
  • Racial trauma, or the negative emotional impact of experiencing racial discrimination (in-person, online, directly, or indirectly through watching vidoes or the news of racial violence), affects our phsyical, mental, emotional, and spirtual selves? Mentally and emotionally, girls and young women of color can experience sadness, anger, depression, and anxiety and racial PTSD. Spiritually, we can feel hopeless, helpless, and low energy about current and future experiences. 
  • Although girls and young women of color are just as, or even more likely than white girls and young women to experience depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation, sucicide attempts, or other mental health issues, they are less likely to receive treatment or access care from a mental health practitioner?
  • Racial trauma can have negative academic outcomes? Because of experiencing direct discriminaton or witnessing indirect racialized violence or discrimination, girls and young women of color can experience lower grades, lack of motivation, low test scores, low attendance, and low self-esteem?
  • Girls and young women of color face unique stressors, trauma, violence, and oppression that are compounded by the intersection of their race, gender, and other identities and experiences. Age, socioeconomic status, religion, migration journey, sexual orientation, language, and ability are all factors.
  • Depression, anxiety, and PTSD in girls and young women of color are treatable with access to culturally responsive care?
  • Many girls of color experience stress in trying to integrate into US culture because of language barriers, mismatch in cultural values, and conflict within family values and structure?
  • The pandemic has had a negative impact on our communities of color such as our  finances,  physical health, and livelihood, which in turn, has worsened our mental health? 
  • Caring for my mental health means I can have better educational, financial, health and life outcomes? 

8. Identify your needs.

Tell your loved one what you need. For example, you can say things like:

  • “It’s okay to not be okay right now, but I want to be okay and that’s why I am looking for support”
  • “The support I need from you right now looks like…”
  • “I would like to speak to a mental health practitioner about what I am going through. I know it might be taboo for me to do that, but it is important that I get the care I need to be a healthier me”
  • “I need time to process what I am experiencing”
  • “I want you to know that I am not making this up. I need you to trust and believe that this is what I am experiencing right now and I am not alone. Many girls or young women of color like me experience these feelings too” 
  • “I would like to be a part of a support group to help me process what I am experiencing”
  • “I would like to attend this workshop to help me process what I am experiencing” 
  • “I would like to attend this conference to help connect me with resources regarding my mental health” 
  • “I would like to talk to a mentor about what I am experiencing” 
  • “Maybe we can go to therapy together as a family, or even separately”
  • “Some of the things I hope you can understand about me and what I need are….”
  • “Can you be there for me as I go through processing what I am feeling? In what ways?”

9. Remind them of your relationship.

Finally, remind your loved one that you love and care for them and you know that they love and care for you. That’s why you are having this conversation with them — you know why caring for your mental health is so important.

3. Invest in Everyday Practices

The I in SHINE stands for Invest in supporting your well-being everyday. Caring for our mental health is a daily practice and routine and caring for our wellbeing means taking care of ourselves spiritually, physically, educationally, professionally, socially, emotionally, and environmentally. You are no doubt already doing things each day to take care of yourself. 

Creating your own self-care and wellness toolkit or plan is a great way to care for your mental health each day. Here are some tips to help you get started — and for you to add to and tailor to your life.


What are some of your spiritual practices? What helps you have peace? How do you process your feelings about the world, the future, and your purpose? Is there a particular belief system, religion, or spirituality that helps ground you?

Some ways to care for your spiritual self:

  • Meditation 
  • Prayer 
  • Attending a religious or spiritual gathering 
  • Spending time with your spiritual community 
  • Spiritual chanting, singing, or dancing 
  • Expressing gratitude/keeping a gratitude journal 
  • Listening to sound bowls and frequency waves


What are some things you do to take care of your body? 

Here are some other ways to care for your physical self:

  • Walk for 30 min a day 
  • Dance 
  • Do yoga 
  • Stretch
  • Aromatherapy
  • Massage 
  • Get your nails or hair done 
  • Care for your skin 
  • Play a sport or engage in a fitness activity 
  • Get enough sleep and take naps
  • Eat healthy and nutritious meals 
  • Stay hydrated by drinking more water 


What are some daily practices that care for your intellectual self? 

Here are some other ways to care for yourself as a student:

  • Organize your to-do list and calendar in a way where you make time for school work AND things that keep you balanced like eating, sleeping, spending time with loved ones, and fun activities
  • Learn more about your culture, history, and heritage by talking to family or community members, reading books, watching movies, listening to music, trying new foods, attending museums and more
  • Set high goals and expectations for yourself (think BIG for yourself and apply to the college, scholarship, program, class, etc. even if you feel like it’s out of reach. Just try anyway!). 
  • Use the Pomodoro method (Repeat cycles of 25 min of school work, 5 min break, 25 min of school work, 5 min break for a period of time to get your work done)
  • Take mental and screen breaks 
  • Join a study group to help you with subjects are challenging 
  • Study with a friend or classmate that will help you focus and finish your work  
  • Ask for help from a teacher, tutor, counselor, friend, mentor, community member, etc. (help can be about specific subjects or classes, or it can be about how you can be successful, or connecting with a resource to help you generally, or a needed pep talk)
  • Visit the disability office or accessibility center to see if there might be additional support you need to be successful in school 
  • Learn things that challenge you or that are fun in addition to the other subjects you are learning 
  • Connect what you are learning to real work situations, to your culture, to your community 
  • Read a new book, watch a documentary, work on a puzzle, listen to a podcast, or learn a new skill
  • Balance challenging courses with less intense and time consuming ones


What daily practices do you invest in to take care of your social life? 

Here are some action steps:

  • Connect with your cultural community by attending an event, celebration, gathering, or conference 
  • Get involved in social, leadership, or volunteer activities in your school/campus, job, neighborhood, spiritual center, local organization, cultural center, sports team, club, or online community
  • Change up your social media feed to include more positive and affirming posts 
  • Decrease your screen time by having “no social media days”, or “no social media hours”, walking outside without your phone, put your phone on “do not disturb” for a period of the day, turn off notifications from social media apps, set “phone free zones” around your home to not use your phone in those areas, and taking breaks from being on the computer
  • Set intentions for how you engage with your friends online or in-person. Think about who is in your circle and why. How do you all collectively contribute positively to each other’s lives?
  • Spend time with loved ones doing things that bring you joy, lightness, and fun
  • Try new activities or join groups or clubs that help you meet new people 
  • Know who your support system is especially in times of need. Who can you call when you need to talk to someone, cry with, vent to, laugh with, get good advice from, get help when you need it, get honest feedback from, etc.?


How are you taking care of your emotional and mental wellbeing each day? 

Some ways to get started include:

  • Ask your school/campus how you can connect with a counselor to access therapy 
  • Attend support groups 
  • Journal/Blog 
  • Attend a mental health, self-care, or wellness workshop, event, or conference
  • Download meditation and mood tracking apps
  • Audio or Video Blog 
  • Be honest about how you are doing and what you need with loved ones 
  • Engage in mindful activities


What are some daily practices that help you care for your career and goals? 

Some ways to get started:

  • Set apririational and realistic goals for the career you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it, and how you will get there (know that things take time, even things like figuring out what you want to do and what you are good at)
  • Get connected to mentors and professionals who are women of color who can guide you and support your next steps
  • Take surveys that help you understand your strengths, skills, and talents 
  • Research your career to see the various job and position options available 
  • Apply for an internship in a field that interests you or in a field that you are curious about 
  • Ask your organization how you can take on leadership roles 
  • Ask your organization if there are support or social groups for women of color to join
  • Ask your organization if there are opportunities for you to advance or get paid more
  • Know that it’s okay to switch careers or jobs to pursue what you are passionate about 
  • Know that it’s okay to make mistakes in your job. Ask for ways that you can improve or how you can get more support 
  • Connect to a training, program, certification, or class that helps you develop or practice a new skill, talent, or knowledge 
  • Talk to a guidance counselor or career coach to help you understand your career passions and options 
  • Take classes, read books, listen to podcasts, or watch videos about budgeting, saving, credit, and investing
  • Ask your school or work about day care services or support for child care 
  • Work on teams to help delegate tasks and share the workload


How are you engaging with your surroundings? 

Here are some other ways to care for your environment:

  • Connect with nature by walking outside, going on a hike, going to to a body of water (pond, river, lake, ocean, etc.), walking in a park or forest, visiting a community or public garden
  • Take care of a plant, flower, or succulent 
  • Conserve water 
  • Reduce waste 
  • Use more natural and biodegradable materials and products 
  • Recycle  
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter, homeless shelter, foodbank, or local organization that invests back in your community and environment  

4. Normalize
Your Journey

The N in SHINE stands for Normalize your mental health journey by sharing your story. Even as some of us struggle with our mental health, we also face complex life situations as well as racial and gender based oppression and discrimination. Many of us face stigma in our communities that attempts to silence our voices and keep our struggles hidden.

To find the help, hope and healing we need to thrive, we need to learn to break the silence, shame and guilt that keep us from talking about our feelings and experiences. As we talk about our mental health and share our stories, we normalize the challenges we face. We understand the support we need and we begin to feel less alone. What’s more, as we share our journey, we help others begin to tell their stories and, as a community, we advance towards mental health.

Tips on Sharing Your Story:

  • Introduce yourself and, as you are comfortable, share your background, interests, and what it is important to you 
  • Explain why you want to share your story. What are you hoping your story will do?
  • Describe the feelings, emotions, incidents, physical symptoms you have been experiencing.
  • Detail any information you found helpful about understanding your mental health symptoms more clearly 
  • Share your cultural, ethnic, racial, or gender identity that feels important to your story
  • Describe why it’s important to talk about mental health challenges and experiences 
  • Share any practices or resources, such as therapy, apps or routines, that have helped you 
  • Encourage people to share their stories

For student stories and examples, please visit the Steve Fund Student Stories Page.

5. Engage in Change

The E in SHINE stands for Engage in the work of advancing the wellbeing of girls and young women of color. For us, creating change in our communities through activism, advocacy, volunteering, or civic engagement can not only help others, it contributes to our mental health and wellbeing.

Engaging in change helps our mental health by:

  • Increasing our academic success, building motivation, and boosting our self-esteem 
  • Building more positive feelings about our racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender identity 
  • Creating actual change in our communities! This means that we have the power to change the inequalities and injustices that exist in our world and contribute to the wellbeing of our communities.
  • Helping to build community within our schools/campuses, neighborhoods, clubs/teams, jobs, spiritual/religious communities, among our friends and family, and within our cultural communities 
  • Releasing happy hormones such as Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins 
  • Providing us with a sense of purpose, and hope about our current and future world

Get started — no matter your background, ability, beliefs or personality

Everyone can contribute to creating meaningful change. You can make a difference for others and yourself no matter your background, ability, financial circumstance, personality, leadership style, communication style, beliefs, values, language, migration journey, or other factors.

Here’s a few tips to get started:
  • If you are shy or introverted, think about things you are good at that do not require you to talk in front of big crowds or take up a lot of your energy by being around others. Think about writing, art, poster making, social media posts, baking/cooking, doing research etc.
  • If you are new to activism, here are some guiding questionsto get you started.
  • If you can’t think of anything on your own, look up a local community cultural, or faith based organization and see what they could help with.
  • If you speak another language other than English, think of people in your community that might need your support and could benefit from speaking to someone who can speak their language.
  • If you are differently abled, think about why your voice and experience is especially important to be included in a movement or change effort. How can others benefit from learning from you and your experience?
  • If you do not have financial resources for a cause, think about free or low-cost ways to raise money and resources, such as fundraisers, bake sales, foundations you can contact for funding, grants you can apply for, etc. You can also focus on doing things that require zero or little money such as raising awareness about a cause via conversations in-person or through social media posts and campaigns.

Here are some ways you can engage in change in your community today:

  • Volunteer at your school/campus or with a local organization, club, cultural center, religious/spiritual center, and more. To get started ask about opportunities to work on projects related to mental health and well-being of girls and young women of color in your community.
  • Destigmatize mental health issues in your family, community and culture by having friends share their stories, connect others with resources, and search for free or low-cost culturally responsive mental health care
  • Raise awareness via social media, posters/signs, school/work projects, etc. about mental health issues impacting girls and young women of color.
  • Engage in mental health awareness days, weeks, and months led by national or local organizations.
  • Write letters to your local representatives about the mental health issues important to your community and changes needed.
  • Raise money for a mental health project or initiative hosted by your school/campus or  local organization. 
  • Engage in a demonstration about human rights, mental health rights, or civil rights impacting girls and young women of color.

Previous Events

Community Conversation: Families Healing Together

May 19, 2022
7:30 - 8:15 PM EST
Zoom and YouTube livestream

In the News

The Steve Fund’s Response to the Tragedy in Buffalo


Join the Steve Fund in supporting the mental health and wellness of young people of color.

Our Mission: Promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color