Stanford creates weekly virtual support space for international students

Feb. 3, 2022, 5:00 p.m.

Counseling and Psychological Support Services (CAPS) will host a new weekly support space for international graduate students, the University announced today.

The announcement of new mental health resources comes after the University shared news of a public mental health emergency in a graduate student residence on Wednesday. Graduate student advocates have also voiced renewed calls for mental health support for student communities in recent days. Last week, the Graduate Student Council passed two bills that sought to expand COVID-19 accommodations, aiming to support students who are struggling with balancing mental health, academics and pandemic-related stress.

The virtual space strives to be a place where “participants can connect through conversations about difficult situations,” according to the informational page. Additionally, the focus on international students will allow participants to form a stronger sense of community and “share tips, strategies and skills for thriving at Stanford,” according to the announcement.

There will be five virtual support sessions hosted on Zoom on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. The first session, which centered around managing pandemic-related stress, took place on Wednesday, Feb. 2. 

University spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote that, “CAPS clinicians observed the impact of the pandemic on international students and sought to find ways to help.”

The sessions will be hosted by Haidi Song and Jeong-Eun Suh — both CAPS clinicians who were international students. “The goal of the program is to provide culturally attuned support for graduate international students,” Miranda wrote.

To plan for the program and determine topics for each session, CAPS “hosted groups with bilingual staff and partnered with [the Bechtel International Center] on outreach” to establish priorities for international graduate students, Miranda wrote. 

Future topics include cultivating healthy relationships and navigating the U.S. academic environment. Students also have the option to suggest topics that they would like to discuss.

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