As the dark winter months are upon us, there are resources, if you are having a hard time.
UW Tacoma is known for its large diverse student body, ranging from first generation students to continuing-gen college students from many different cultures, parts of the country and world. Our campus also has a large demographic of students that have been traditionally underserved in mental health spaces.
Maybe you doubt the idea that there’s a therapist that even looks like you, let alone one who understands the intricacies of your personal lived experience. Maybe you’re not sure if you have depression, but you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed and you’re not sure how to reach out. This article is for all of you.
Multiculturalcounselors.org is a website where you can search for a therapist in Washington by culture, ethnicity, religion, or language. This resource is intended to help connect communities of color and others who have been underserved in the mental health field with counselors who understand their specific experiences.
“Seeing a counselor or clinical supervisor doesn’t have to be another place where you speak for or explain your culture,” reads the About page on their website.
Healthy Black Minds– The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle curated an amazing selection of mental health resources. I want to point out the extensive list of crisis lines and grief support lines. You might think that you aren’t in crisis enough to call one of these phone numbers, but there is no such thing. These phone lines are open 24/7 for you. You are worth the time that these resources are willing to give you. Please call, even if you don’t think it’s an emergency.
This is an online space dedicated to uplifting and encouraging mental health wellness for Black women and girls. Users can search through a directory of therapists who offer in-office and virtual visits.
The Asian Mental Health Collective seeks to make psychotherapy more accessible to Asian communities in both the U.S. and Canada. They have a directory of Asian therapists, with many search filters including gender, language and types of therapy. They also run the Lotus Therapy Fund, through which patients can apply for financial support.
The Asian Counseling and Referral Service similarly connects individuals with counseling and mental health services that are culturally informed. In addition to therapy services, they also offer resources related to primary care, employment and housing assistance.
This is a more general search engine for finding a therapist who fits your needs. Therapists can be found through specific filters such as what insurance they accept and what kinds of therapeutic approaches they utilize.
It’s been a little disappointing to see how PAWS, UW Tacoma’s free confidential mental health counseling service for currently enrolled students, has made it difficult to make an appointment. It was not this specific pre-lockdown. For some reason, they decided, you can’t schedule in advance. You can only make a same day appointment Monday through Thursday, through email or phone call, specifically between the hours of 9 am and 12 pm. There should be zero barrier to entry for mental health resources, even if that barrier is just waiting a couple days.
Please don’t let this deter you from reaching out. I promise it’s mostly painless, I have done it myself. Let this be a starting point. They can answer any questions you have about mental health or guide you to someone who does have the answer. If this article leaves you with too many options on where to go, try PAWS first.
Tips for Therapy
I want everyone reading this to understand the power you hold when entering therapy. You are paying these professionals to help you. If you are uncomfortable, or you don’t like a methodology that a therapist or counselor is using, you have the power to advocate for yourself or end all further sessions without even saying goodbye. You do not owe your therapist anything. Therapy is for you.
Not Just Therapy
Therapy sessions are not the only way to improve your mental health. There are plenty of healthy activities that can really help your mental state. It can seem obvious at first, but I want to list a couple ideas that have gotten me through these hard winter months on campus.
- Outdoor walks/Grounding
- Journal writing
- Join a club
- Creating art
Last but not least, never be afraid to reach out to a friend. If you are struggling with mental health and are unsure of what to do next, talk to someone about how you are feeling. They can help you figure out your next steps, and simply venting your feelings can have a healing effect.