The University of Texas at Dallas is a diverse and vibrant community that is enriched by the unique contribution of individuals from across the globe. We welcome to the Counseling Center any student experiencing negative reactions, threats, or more subtle forms of oppression because of race or ethnicity, religious affiliation, country of origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability identity, socioeconomic status, body size or any other aspect of identity.
As we continue to witness oppressive acts of violence and stress in the form of public statements, police brutality, social media posts, terrorist threats, and immigration restrictions, the Student Counseling Center extends our thoughts to the campus community. We imagine that students, staff and faculty as well as departments and campus organizations within the Black, Jewish, Muslim, International, Latinx, Multiracial, Asian/Pacific Islander and LGBT+ communities are especially impacted. The Student Counseling Center remains committed to supporting and affirming students who hold identities that are marginalized. We also invite students to access support around how to ensure that their privileged identities do not impose stress, harm, microaggression and violence toward fellow Comets.
These events and their racist, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-immigration and anti-LGBT hatred can directly impact emotional well-being and sense of safety in one’s environment, causing people to experience a range of different emotional and physical reactions. Some emotional reactions may include sadness, terror, grief, anger, confusion, stress and trauma, anxiety, fear, disbelief, feelings of disempowerment, isolation, or outrage. Physical reactions might include sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, concentration difficulties, and changes in one’s overall sense of physical well-being. It may even lead to questioning of one’s values, identity, and life purpose.
Sociopolitical events may also be a source of social disconnection, and may separate and divide people from family, friends, and/or other sources of support. It may be difficult to communicate about these issues directly, as even people close to you may hold strongly opposing points of view. Previous sources of social connection, such as social media, may now be triggering or feel less safe due to heightened intensity of posts and comments. Alternatively, such issues may be personally salient to you but others’ avoidance of open dialogue can foster feelings of isolation and invisibility.
In keeping with our mission to create a safe, inclusive environment and promote the mental health and well-being of students, we encourage the campus community to seek out support and opportunities for open dialogue around these sociopolitical issues. We also encourage you personally to identify and seek safe people and spaces to express and process your individual reactions; the Student Counseling Center staff is committed to providing that safety.
In addition to the mental health services we provide, we offer consultation and outreach. We would also welcome the opportunity to serve as a resource for student groups that may want to host or facilitate open dialogues regarding these issues. We can also help you connect with many other resources, both on campus and within the larger community.
The Student Counseling Center holds drop-in support groups in the fall and spring semesters in which discussion about identity and the sociopolitical climate occur regularly, and students are encouraged to attend. Our walk-in crisis, individual, group and couples therapy services continue to be available and a place for students to have safe spaces to discuss.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek us out for consultation as they navigate conversations related to these events with students. If you are faculty or staff at UT Dallas, you might find it helpful to access the Employee Assistance Program should you be experiencing an increase of stress at this time.
How to Become an Advocate?
If you are interested in learning more about how to address microaggression, become a social justice advocate and/or receive additional support as a member of marginalized groups the UT Dallas Office of Diversity and Community Engagement has a number of valuable programs. The Galerstein Gender Center, Multicultural Center, International Center, Military and Veterans Center, Office of Community Engagement, and Office of Student AccessAbility have helpful information and services.
How Else Can We Help?
If there is more that the Student Counseling Center can do to support students related to cultural identity based stress and trauma, we would like to know. Please contact our Director of Community Engagement, Dr. Prachi Sharma, at Prachi.Sharma@utdallas.edu with feedback related to our diversity, inclusion and equity services.
Resources for Responding to Social Justice Concerns
- Managing Emotions
- Disaster Distress Helpline
- Emergency Preparedness and Response
- Coping Tips for Survivors
- APA Resources
UT Dallas Counseling Center After-Hours Hotline: 972‑UTD‑TALK (972-883-8255)