Awareness of Cultural Differences

Race, ethnicity, expression and cultural background, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other cultural identities are important to keep in mind as you help a distressed student. Reactions to racism, sexism, homophobia, abelism, etc., can affect the way in which emotional distress is manifested and also can impact help-seeking behavior. General barriers to seeking help — e.g., denial, fear of being labeled in a negative way, lack of information about campus resources — may be even more troublesome for students from underrepresented groups, especially if counseling is not a culturally relevant choice to make when help is needed. Communicating support, concern, and understanding is critical in reaching students who may feel isolated and marginalized.

Your sensitivity to the unique needs of international students, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) students, students of color, non-traditional-aged college students, and other underrepresented groups can be important in helping students get assistance. Furthermore, being knowledgeable about campus resources that address the unique needs of underrepresented students is also important.