Web Accessibility Support
  • Published Date:
  • Supporting Unit: Division of Student of Affairs, Office of the Provost

Dear Howard University Community,

Last Friday marked the formal end of classes for undergraduate students for the Fall 2023 semester as several professional schools have already entered the final examination period. Students will be studying for finals, preparing for the holidays, and our faculty and staff will be doing the hard work that makes all this possible.

The end of an academic semester often presents increasing concerns regarding the emotional wellbeing of our students. This has been exacerbated given COVID, recent international conflicts, as well as local challenges to health and safety. Many faculty and staff have inquired, how they can best support students who are struggling? What should employees do if they become aware or suspect that a student needs to be referred to The University Counseling Service (UCS) for help? Most employees are not mental health experts but may find themselves on "the front lines" through close-up interactions with students. Therefore, we are writing to share the following guidance from University Counseling Service.

Guidance from University Counseling Service (UCS)

What to do if a student comes to an employee for help, or an employee has reason to believe a student needs help or is in crisis: 

  • Employees can encourage the student to contact UCS (202-806-6870).
  • Employees can also call UCS themselves (202-806-6870) or walk the student to UCS (2401 4th Street NW-GC07; door under main entrance of the quad).
  • If the student is in crisis, call UCS (202-806-6870) before 5 p.m. or call the crisis line (202-345-6709) after 5 p.m.
  • If it is an emergency in which the student’s safety is a concern, please contact the HU Department of Public Safety (HUDPS, 202-806-1100), HUDPS Emergency (202-806-7777), call 911, or ensure the student is sent to the nearest emergency room. 

The University also has resources available for faculty and staff members. We are cognizant of how difficult, traumatic or triggering it can be for employees if and when a struggling student confides in them to seek help––especially if there is a negative outcome despite the employee's best efforts to assist. The Office of Human Resources and our Employee Assistance Program have a number of resources for faculty and staff.

Guidance from the Human Resources Employee Assistance Program (HR-EAP)

What to do if you are an employee who needs support:

All employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the information hyperlinked here on how to get support after a traumatic event.

  • There are resources available to all Howard University employees, including onsite health coaching (202-480-0274, Chinwe.Igwe@Howard.edu), Howard Service Center HR Suite 435, the University’s 24-hour health information line (800-233-4076), Cigna EAP (800-881-9524), and the Cigna EAP Crisis Line (800-579-0613).
  • Employees who are Cigna customers additional resources, including MD Live 24/7 Support (you will be charged a co-pay), with therapists and psychiatrists who are professionally trained to use virtual technology to treat many non-emergency conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress, relationship issues, and more (888-726-3171, MDLIVEforCigna.com).

Guidance from MentalHealth.gov

  • MentalHealth.gov provides important resources to anyone in need of immediate assistance. The hyperlink provided here explains how to get immediate help (1) with substance abuse, addiction, or mental health treatment (e.g., calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357); (2) when individuals are in emotional distress or are suicidal (e.g., calling 988); and (3) in other potentially life-threatening situations (e.g., calling 911).

Thank you for your ongoing support of our students, faculty and staff!

In Truth and Service,

Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Cynthia Evers, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs