Counseling and Psychological Services at Long Beach State offered pre- and post-election support for students to help them cope with increased stress from election season, but few students actually made use of those services.
Drop-in support spaces, held on Oct. 26, Oct. 27, Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 via Zoom, were designed to teach students coping and self-care skills to help deal with one of the most volatile elections in U.S. history. CAPS included sessions for both the general student population and more specific campus groups like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients and peer educators.
Bongjoo Hwang, director of CAPS, said that his office received very few students throughout the four-day program.
“The number of attendees was pretty low,” Hwang said. “There might have been various reasons, but I hope that students did not need this space because they already had enough support [and] not because of any other reasons.”
In total, only five students from the general student population utilized the election-related support from CAPS, but more specific student groups saw higher numbers. Hwang said that the DACA support space received a slightly higher turnout of six students, 16 at the Latinx Student Union space and 15 at the support space for peer educators.
Hwang also said that while most of the students in the sessions expressed anxiety and even feared for their safety during the tumultuous election, others expressed feelings of hope and positivity at what was at the time an undecided election.
Although results of the election weren’t revealed until several days after Tuesday, and stressors related to the election remain for some students, CAPS currently has no plans to continue election-related support for the campus community.
“We don’t have any further planned support space for election related issues, but I believe that utilizing our existing services… will be helpful to our students with any emotional and mental health related issues including the stress related to the election process,” Hwang said.