We acknowledge the emotions that many U of M students, faculty, and staff are experiencing as a result of the recent deaths of Alton Sterling on July 5th in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile on July 6th in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and offer our support and condolences to those who have been impacted directly and indirectly. These young Black men died at the hands of police officers, and the number of Black and Brown individuals that are killed in similar situations, unfortunately, continue to increase.
Frustration, anger, fear, concern for one’s safety, and tension are just a few of the feelings that one may experience during this time. Personal feelings, occurrences, and conflict may add to the level of intensity of emotions that you are facing. In addition, current experiences may affect your level of functioning, which is normal.
We at CAPS encourage you to be aware that such intense feelings can and often do cause additional physical and mental strain. During these times, we encourage you to seek support from family and friends, while continuing to engage in efforts towards social justice. While working to manage stress, here are some effective tips:
Managing Our Information Intake
Recognize what you can and cannot control. One way people try to gain a sense of control is by gathering information and being knowledgeable about the issue. Unfortunately, sometimes having more information can increase stress. It is wise to monitor whether news and excessive social media exposure has a positive or negative impact on you and how much is right for you.
Create and Connect with a Caring Community
- Pay attention to specific needs of yourself and others around social identity group membership.
- Talking over your concerns with other people in a safe, comfortable environment could be very helpful.
- Actively find ways to not be alone: Spending time with friends, family, colleagues, or social groups who are willing/able to listen to you can be extremely helpful. Even if you do not feel like talking, being with others who are experiencing the same feelings can be comforting.
- Participate in counseling and other support services: Many support services are available to provide you with a safe space to share concerns, worries, fears, and/or anxieties. See resources elsewhere in this page.
- Turn to your spiritual and religious faiths: If you belong to a spiritual or religious community, gathering together for worship, prayer, discussion, a meal or other forms of religious or spiritual expression, can strengthen the bonds of human connections and be a force of comfort in your life.
Asking for Help
At a stressful time, asking for help can be very difficult for some people. Sometimes, it is not an easy step. People often do not like to ask others for help or to involve outsiders with these kinds of difficulties unless there is considerable distress and unhappiness and until after they have tried everything else. It takes sound judgment to know when additional help is needed and courage to ask for it.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. If it is hard for you, learn how to ask comfortably, knowing that you have the need, the right, and the inborn ability to do it. More often than you may think, friends, family and professionals are more than willing to help provide you with a listening ear.
As the significance and scope of this tragedy continue to unfold, please know that support is available. If you are on campus, you can reach out to CAPS (734-764-8312) by scheduling an appointment, utilizing our counselor-on-duty service, or calling CAPS After Hours. If you are away from Ann Arbor you can also use the CAPS After Hours line.
- Self Care for People of Color after Psychological Trauma: http://justjasmineblog.com/self-care-for-people-of-color-after-emotional-and-psychological-trauma/
- Advice for White Folks in the Wake of the Police Murder of a Black Person: http://www.justinccohen.com/blog/2016/7/6/advice-for-white-folks-in-the-wake-of-the-police-murder-of-a-black-person