Discrimination, Stress, and Anxiety


Students coming from countries that are experiencing a high volume of COVID-19 cases have expressed concern about sentiments against their ethnic groups.

  • Students who are experiencing perceived discrimination should connect with the Office of Institutional Equity to submit a formal report. The site and the online reporting process can be accessed here:
  • Any student in need of crisis intervention or psychological support should visit the Counseling Center which can be accessed here:
  • Please also know that the campus community is eager to support you in this difficult time – if you are feeling impacted in any way by these circumstances, we would encourage you to consider the following resources that are ready to support you:
    • Office of Equity and Inclusion
      • anonymous and confidential reporting on discrimination or perceived discrimination of any kind (including faculty, staff, and students)
    • UMBC Counseling Center
      • Best practices on managing stress, discussing feelings or worries, processing any reactions from the community that don’t feel supportive to you, and more.
      • The Counseling Center is providing students with crisis support remotely via Webex and phone from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays. Please call 410-455-2472. If you have mental health concerns outside of regular business hours and wish to speak with someone from our After-Hours Support Line, please call 410-455-3230.
    • Campus Life’s (CL) Mosaic, Interfaith, and Pride Centers
      • Access community support, a safe space, and allyship from staff and peers.

In an April 24 community-wide email, UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski shared a message of support and solidarity with Asian and Asian American community members.  You can view the message and additional resources on the University’s COVID-19 website here.

Specifically, UMBC has a Reporting Form for incidents of discrimination.  Additionally, the Asian and Asian American Faculty and Staff Council (AAAFSC) has put together an excellent list of resources and reading materials on anti-Asian discrimination that is available on the COVID-19 website.


Stress and Anxiety Resources

As this situation develops, it can be quite confusing or scary for many students, whether the concern is for your own safety or those of family or friends in the US or in other countries. Public health and other emergencies can inspire a range of emotions, including but not limited to anxiety about our own health, fear for others in our community, concern for affected family and friends, and other concerns.

Here are some resources for self-help and to understand when to seek outside help for managing these emotions. If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others or come to the Counseling Center.


Recognizing Distress – A Self-Check List

  • Increased anxiety, worry, fear, and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Depressive symptoms (e.g., sadness, feelings of guilt, crying more than usual) that persist and/or intensify
  • Difficulty with focus or concentration accompanied by decreased academic performance
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger/irritability and disruptive behaviors or noticeable changes in personality
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)

Psychological Health Tips

  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties about the future.
  • Maintain your day-to-day normal activities and social outlets, a much as is safe to do while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself from the support and caring that others can provide.  Engage remotely or in other safe ways.  
  • Seek accurate information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and try to limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new or reliable information.
  • Pay attention to positive news instead of only focusing on negative and fear-producing reports.
  • Follow the protection and prevention tips given by medical professionals such as the University Health Services here on campus, national medical authorities, and your own medical doctor.
  • Practice calming rituals: Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.  Take things one day at a time.
  • Seek supports and utilize campus resources. Reach out to friends and family virtually and learn about available campus resources. If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others or come to the Counseling Center. We are here to help!
Avoid Stigmatizing or Generalizing

Avoid making assumptions about individuals who you believe may or may not have been exposed to the virus. There have been individuals at colleges and universities who reported encountering discrimination and harassment due to biased assumptions and overreactions. We value our international community members, students of color, and everyone who may be affected by this situation. We want to remind everyone to embody UMBC’s inclusive culture by providing understanding and support during this challenging situation. Be aware of your thoughts and fears and don’t let them lead to actions that undermine the welcoming of all of UMBC’s inquisitive minds.

Adapted from University of Indianapolis Coronavirus resources, 2020


Practical tips

  • Maintain your routines or build new routines that fit the temporary lifestyle of all classes going remote.
  • Exercise!  Enjoy the Spring weather with walks or other outdoor activities that can be done with social distancing.
  • Schedule regular calls or video chats with friends and loved ones to stay connected and updated.
  • Don’t check the news as frequently if you’re already anxious. Check in on a few resources you trust once a day.




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