Mental Health Resources at Rice and Beyond

By: Dinora N. Rodriguez

Image of fall leaves and golden hour on campus

Graduate school is a very exciting time in one’s life, but it is, without a doubt, stressful. Apart from the stress caused by our academic duties, we often receive pressure from our personal lives, which can take a toll on our mental health. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” To be our best selves, we must maintain our mental health, just as we maintain our physical health through exercise and regular checkups. Fortunately, many resources are available to graduate students at Rice University and outside of Rice to ensure our mental health is at its best. Below, I will detail the resources available to graduate students at Rice.

Resources at Rice University

The Wellbeing and Counseling Center at Rice, located right next to the Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center, is a free resource for all students! This center is composed of two offices: the Student Wellbeing Office and the Rice Counseling Center.

The Student Wellbeing Office has a professional staff that helps to “address a wide range of wellbeing issues such as stress management, relationship concerns, difficulty making decisions, struggling with identity, and academic concerns or problems that are more serious in nature.” This is an excellent resource for general well-being advising, including receiving advice on managing stress or navigating relationships. 

The Rice Counseling Center (RCC) has a clinical team composed of “psychologists, social workers, counselors, and a consulting psychiatrist committed to providing professional, compassionate, and individualized care.” The RCC is ready to handle more serious issues such as anxiety, depression, or other things that may be affecting a person’s day-to-day life. The RCC can provide short-term therapy after an initial assessment and refer you to an external professional to best address your needs. Unsure of which service you should be using? No worries! After contacting the Wellbeing and Counseling Center, the staff will be in contact with you to determine which office would be best for you. 

As graduate students, we often experience different types of conflicts in our workplace relationships, whether between a student and their PI or between a senior student and a younger student. Unfortunately, there are times when the power dynamic between two people becomes unbalanced and may negatively affect either person. The SAFE Office: Interpersonal Misconduct Prevention and Support “offers care management and navigation to students who are reporting an incident of interpersonal violence perpetrated against them and to students who have been accused of perpetrating interpersonal violence.” If you are experiencing any harassment or violence, the SAFE office can help you navigate and resolve your situation. They work in conjunction with the Rice Counseling Center and Student Health Services. Additionally, the SAFE Office houses Graduate STRIVE: Students Transforming Rice Into a Violence-Free Environment, “a dedicated group of students who have come together to address sexual and domestic violence on campus.” Grad STRIVE Liaisons are specially trained students who provide support to Rice Graduate students through prevention activities and providing information about the resources available to students. 

Houston Community Resources

In case Rice cannot provide you with the services you need, there are many resources around Houston that you can consult.

*indicates that these resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week

National Mental Health Resources

Also, you can consult other online resources based on your needs. 

  • Grad Resources is a service specifically catered to graduate students that can help you navigate graduate school with help from on-call mentors and counseling through Better Help. Additionally, Grad Resources has the National Grad Crisis Line (1-877-GRAD-HLP or 1-877-472-3457)*, which is similar to an emergency number, but this line has “trained counselors who understand the unique challenges facing grads.”
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance if you are in crisis. *
  • Crisis Text Line: Texting “HOME” to 741-741
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 for TTY or text “LOVEIS” to 22522
  • The TransLifeline: (877) 565-8860
  • The Trevor Project, LGBTQ Youth Crisis Line: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 6674
  • International Association for Suicide Prevention – Resources: Crisis Centers:

Final Thoughts

Mental health is increasingly discussed in academia, and rightfully so. The list of resources written here was compiled by my PI and shared with us in a group meeting. I want to thank my PI for allowing me to share her compilation as a blog for other students to access and for her concern for our mental well-being. In academia, PIs are often the ones who have a significant impact on their students’ mental health due to their high and rigorous expectations and control over their success in graduate school. Because of these stressors, it is essential for all graduate students, whether current or prospective, to have access to mental health resources, both at their university and in their community.