Mental Health and Wellness: Coping with Election-Related Stress

people sitting in a circle and holding hands

How to Cope with Election Stress and Foster your Resilience

Ahead of the most divisive election in a decade, an American Psychological Association survey finds that more than 68% of US adults report that the 2020 US presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life.  In the current socio-economic climate, with social injustices and structural racism highlighted so clearly, many people are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, angry and at times, helpless.  This would be stressful under any circumstances but it is happening in the context of a pandemic, with economic uncertainty and physical distancing.  We recognize that the election season this year may be particularly challenging for many of us and those we care for on campus, and that those who identify with historically marginalized communities may be bearing the weight of these challenges most acutely.  

UHS is committed to actively improving the mental health and wellbeing of our UC Berkeley community and creating opportunities to practice empathy and compassion towards each other.  The UHS mental health team has developed resources and adapted our programs to be accessible, relevant and sensitive to the unique circumstances created by the election during this challenging time.  Programs for election support will include Virtual Let’s Talk consultations (for students) and Wellness Circles (for students, staff and faculty), centered on grounding and resilience to be held the week of and following the election.

Below are some ideas for how to manage election-related stress and foster your resilience.

  • Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. When uncertainty strikes, many people immediately imagine worst-case scenarios. Break the habit of ruminating on bad outcomes by focusing on what you can control.

  • Do something:  Find an activity that you really enjoy and spend time doing it. Get involved in issues that are meaningful to you. Consider advocacy and community involvement in ways that fit for you. 

  • Unplug: If following the news, watching the debates or scrolling through social media is causing you stress, limit your media consumption. Give yourself permission to take a break from the news.  Consider activities such as being in nature, engaging in art projects, reading something fun, watching funny videos and listening to music. 

  • Connect:  Engage with supportive friends and allies. Talk about current issues, if needed, but be aware of when you’re feeling overwhelmed.  

  • Be Present: Recognize your feelings and reactions and give yourself permission to feel the way you do.   Although avoiding can be useful at times, ignoring strong emotions can have negative impact.  

  • Refuel: Don’t forget to take care of yourself before, during and after the election.  Here are some ideas: Take deep breaths, drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, practice mindfulness, try to eat healthy meals, watch your caffeine intake,

  • Stay active:  moving helps us release the energy we experience when we feel stressed.  Move a little every day. Stretch. Take a walk. Get outside and into nature. 

  • Try not to judge your emotions or to judge others. Remember that we are all different and need different things to self-soothe.

  • Practice positive psychology:  Despite all of the negativity in the election, try to find some balance. Seek out positive stories and news. It’s an important reminder of the positive things in life and the strength of the human spirit. Practice gratitude for the things and the people in your life you feel thankful for.  

Download and view the pdf version of these election self-care tips.

Wellness Circles for Election Support

Join UHS mental health counselors for support, witnessing, and wellness strategies to cope with the current national discourse, political turmoil, and election-related stress.  

  • Wellness Circles for Election Support are FREE and do not require a referral or pre-screening. 
  • Register for a wellness circle to get an email reminder, which includes a link to the Zoom call. 
  • Zoom link will be posted on this webpage on the day of the event, and sent via email to those who registered.  

For All UC Berkeley Students

Date

Time (PDT)

Counselor(s)

Zoom Link (posted day of)

11/4/20

1-2pm

Raquel Castellanos Miller, MSW, LCSW, & Alyssa Panyawai, LCSW

This event has passed.

11/6/20

11am-12pm

Sam Tourek, PhD & Kusha Murarka, PsyD

This event has passed.

11/10/20

1-2pm

Raquel Castellanos Miller, MSW, LCSW, & Junichi Shimaoka, PsyD

This event has passed.

For UC Berkeley Graduate Students

Date Time (PDT) Counselor Zoom Link (posted day of)
11/4/20 9-10am, 5-6pm Amy Honigman, PhD
This event has passed.
11/5/20 11am-12pm Amy Honigman, PhD
This event has passed.

Intended for Specific Populations

Specific Population

Date

Time (PDT)

Counselor(s)

Zoom Link (posted day of)

Asian/Asian American/ Pacific Islander/South Asian/Southeast Asian Students

11/3/20

4:30-6pm

Sonia Amin, PhD, Kusha Murarka, PsyD, & Junichi Shimaoka, PsyD

This event has passed.

Black & African American Community (Students, Staff and Faculty)

11/4/20

12-1:30pm

Adisa Anderson, PhD, Amber Jaiza Jones LCSW, & Geneé Jackson, PhD 

This event has passed.

Community Organizers and Activists (Students, Staff and Faculty)

11/6/20

2:30-4pm

Treajané Brown MA & Cynthia Medina PhD

This event has passed.

Latinx Community (Students, Staff and Faculty)

11/6/20

11:30am-1pm

Cynthia Medina, PhD & Raquel Castellanos Miller, MSW, LCSW

This event has passed.

Undocumented Grad Students*

10/30/20

2-3pm

Diana Pena, Ph.D.

This event has passed.

Undocumented Undergraduate Students*

11/4/20

5-6pm

Bianca Barrios, Ph.D

This event has passed.

Undocumented Undergraduate Students*

11/12/20

5-6pm

Bianca Barrios, Ph.D

This event has passed.

Undocumented Graduate Students*

11/13/20

2-3pm

Diana Pena, Ph.D.

Links will be sent via the Undocumented Students Program list serv. To join the list serv, Please email 
liliglesias@berkeley.edu

College of Engineering (Students)

11/4/20

2:15-4pm

Yi Du, PhD and Christine Zhou, PhD

This event has passed.

*Zoom links will be sent via the Undocumented Students Program list serv. To join the list serv, please email liliglesias@berkeley.edu 

Virtual Let's Talk Consultations for Elections

Free, brief (20 min), informal one-on-one consultations with UHS mental health counselors will be offered to students for election-related support.

  • Sign-up on WeJoinin. The WeJoinin slots will open 24 hours in advance.
  • This service is free and no paperwork is required.
  • All "Let's Talk" services are for students only.

 

Dates

Time (PDT)

Counselor

WeJoinIn Links

Mon 11/2

11am-12pm

Veronica Orozco, PhD

This event has passed. Please see our regular Let's Talk hours.

Tues 11/3

1-3pm

Junichi Shimaoka, PsyD

This event has passed. Please see our regular Let's Talk hours.

Wed 11/4

3-5pm

Cynthia Medina, PhD

This event has passed. Please see our regular Let's Talk hours.

Thurs 11/5

3-5pm

Sonia Amin, PhD

This event has passed. Please see our regular Let's Talk hours.

Thurs 11/5

4-6pm

Jeff Lee, LCSW

This event has passed. Please see our regular Let's Talk hours.

Fri 11/6

1-3pm

Sam Tourek, PhD

This event has passed. Please see our regular Let's Talk hours.

Mon 11/9 

11am-12pm

Veronica Orozco, PhD

This event has passed. Please see our regular Let's Talk hours.

Thurs 11/12

4-6pm

Jeff Lee, LCSW

This event has passed. Please see our regular Let's Talk hours.

Fri 11/13

10am-12pm

Kusha Murarka, PsyD

Kusha Murarka's
WeJoinIn Link

Fri 11/13

1-3pm

Sam Tourek, PhD

Sam Tourek's
WeJoinIn Link

View/Download the Wellness Spaces for Election Support flier (Wellness Circles + Virtual Let's Talk Consultations)

Wellness Spaces for Election Support

Additional Support Resources

More Resources for Students

Counseling Support 

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is currently offering phone and video counseling to students. Please call (510) 642-9494 if your concern is urgent. 
  • For after-hours support, please call the 24/7 support line at (855) 817-5667.

COVID-19 Mental Health Resources

  • Handouts and resources on self-care tips, coping and managing fears/anxiety during COVID-19, sources of strength and resiliency, Zoom bombing incidents and grieving a loved one during COVID-19 

TAO (Therapy Assisted Online) and Mobile App 

  • Tao is an online library of engaging, interactive programs that help you manage feelings of stress and anxiety during these times. All UC Berkeley students have access to this resource at no cost.

More Resources for Staff and Faculty

Be Well at Work Employee Assistance

Be Well at Work Employee Assistance is available for confidential support. Telephone consultations and appointments are available. Call (510) 643-7754 or email employeeassistance@berkeley.edu