October 14, 2020 - Resources for Stress and Mental Health Needs

The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Stephen C. Sutton, Ed.D.; Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division, Lisa García Bedollasent, Ph.D.; and Assistant Vice Chancellor, University Health Services, Guy W. Nicolette, MD, CAQSM the following message to all undergraduate and graduate students on 10/14/20:


As we move into the final stretch of the fall semester, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating wildfires our state has been experiencing, we encourage you to take this opportunity to reflect on your personal well-being. As you work to complete papers and projects and prepare for midterm exams, here are some tips to help:

  • Be proactive about managing stress
    • Maintain a routine that allows for a sense of normalcy. Keep the same sleep-wake schedule, class hours, and daily activities, to the extent possible.  Visit recalibrate for more wellness resources designed for the entire campus community. 
    • Pay attention to your stress level and prioritize stress management. Talk to friends online or on the phone, get some exercise, and make sure to take breaks. If you choose to exercise outside, try a solo activity such as walking, running, hiking, or biking. Rec Sports Online also has a wide variety of live and on-demand exercise classes that can be done from virtually anywhere. 
    • Eating well can help you manage stress. We have some good tips available on our Be Well site, including how to combat stress with nutrition. If you’re having difficulty accessing food, the Basic Needs Center can be contacted by emailing basicneedssupport@berkeley.edu or calling (510) 519-4003 (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.) for immediate support.     
    • Explore the Greater Good Science Center's free Science of Happiness online course.
    • Read the Berkeley Life article “Find your balance,” with advice from a fellow student. 
  • Sleep
    • There is good evidence that high-quality sleep (roughly 7-9 hours for the average person) significantly improves task performance, learning, and memory.
    • Sleep and anxiety are often interrelated and improving sleep quality appears to lessen generalized anxiety.
    • Learn more from the recent Berkeley Talks podcast from Allison Harvey, a professor of clinical psychology and director of the Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic at UC Berkeley, about how to find your circadian rhythm and sleep better.
  • Seek help
    • Getting help is a sign of strength and resiliency. Visit the Office of the Dean of Students’ Mental Health Matters to learn how we are in this together.
    • If stress is interfering with your life (socially or academically) or if you find yourself depressed or anxious for weeks or longer, this will interfere with your ability to learn and perform academically. There are good online self-help tools, including educational modules and meditation videos.
    • Visit the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) website to learn even more about resources available to you. You can call CAPS at (510) 642-9494, or call the after hours counseling line (855) 817-5667. Counselors are available for virtual counseling appointments by phone or video.  If you have questions about accessing available resources, even remotely or in places outside of California, UHS staff can assist you. 
    • Review UHS’s Managing Fear resource and the CDC’s recommendations for managing the stress and anxiety that many experience in a pandemic.
    • The Graduate Wellness Center is a satellite office for CAPS. The Wellness Center provides graduate-focused wellness and mental health services, including individual, couples, and group counseling, and virtual workshops specific to graduate students. Make a telephone counseling appointment by calling Dr. Amy Honigman at (510) 664-5117.  
    • Isolation can sometimes lead to an increase in alcohol and drug use. If you need help, contact UHS to make an appointment or find a local resource. 
    • While physical distancing is crucial during the pandemic, it is also critical to maintain your social connections. Keep communicating with others and set-up virtual meetings with friends and family members to stay in touch.
    • It's okay if you need help. You are not alone. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-TALK (8255).

In addition to taking care of yourself, please be mindful of other students facing similar challenges this time of year. Download the Just in Case Berkeley mobile app to get tips to help you cope or help a friend, tips on living healthier and eating better, and emergency information.

We wish all of you the best as we reach the end of this challenging and unique semester. Our hope is that you will take advantage of the resources available to you to complete the semester successfully and healthfully.