Counseling Center

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The Counseling Center strives to provide a welcoming, safe and affirming space for all students.  In order to provide that space, we must remain willing to challenge ourselves and others to learn about lived realities, support individual needs, and celebrate our differences.  We recognize that the information presented here will be a work in progress as we continue to grow as multiculturally competent counselors, and we welcome any feedback that will make this page useful to the greatest number of students. 

Cultural Concerns and Mental Health

Counseling is a very individual experience, and culture plays significantly into the uniqueness of that experience.  Mental health difficulties are common to all people; however, cultural differences impact how those difficulties are experienced.  Culture refers to the beliefs, customs and values of a particular group.  It includes race and ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and many other differences.   It is manifested in behavior and communication style.   Culture influences how an individual thinks about mental health conditions, how they describe their difficulties, how they communicate with counselors or other health professionals, and how receptive they are to treatment.

Cultural differences often result in the experience of microaggressions and sometimes outright discrimination, which, in turn, negatively affect mental health.  Some effects of those experiences include: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Decrease in or loss of confidence
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Loss of drive or motivation
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Decreased cognition

If you are experiencing prejudice, discrimination or racism, talking to a counselor may be helpful. If you seek counseling, you will want culturally competent counselors who continually learn about other cultures and accept our differences.  Understanding those differences allows them to be aware of how culture impacts mental health and to be able to create safe environments where you can explore your feelings and learn coping skills.  If cultural differences have not yet been brought up in counseling, here are some ways you can start that conversation.

  • What is your experience counseling people from my cultural background?
  • Have you been trained in multicultural issues?
  • Would you like to learn about my culture’s beliefs, values and attitudes toward mental health?
  • How can we include aspects of my cultural identity (i.e., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation) in my care?

There are also many web and campus resources:

Campus Resources:

 Websites/Videos:

African American Students:

Latinx Students:

Asian American/Pacific Islander Students:

Native American/Indigenous People:

LGBTQIA+:

Religion and Spirituality:

First Generation College Students: