A Message from UConn Human Resources

Sent on behalf of UConn Human Resources

Dear Colleagues,

We have heard from many members of our community about how the attacks and the ensuing war have affected them and their families and friends. The University’s thoughts are with our UConn and UConn Health community members who have been impacted by the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza. We understand that this is a difficult and emotional time for many of our employees, students, and their families.

Each member of our community is experiencing this tragedy in their own way. As we move forward, we must show empathy for one another. We want to remind everyone that resources are available to provide support and counseling during this challenging time.

For individualized care, the University encourages employees and their household members to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP):

Additional resources are available through UConn Health Human Resources, UConn Human Resources, and Spiritual Services at UConn Health. These resources are here to help you cope with the stress and uncertainty that comes with situations like these.

Know that we are here for you and will continue to provide support and resources for our communities, and will update you on additional services and resources as they become available.

We also want to remind everyone to take care of themselves during this time and offer you some information and resources below:

Supporting Yourself

Recognize your limits.

At times, it’s important to recognize our limits and understand that we may not always be as efficient as usual – and that’s completely okay. The key is to plan accordingly, show ourselves kindness, and ask for support when needed.

Engage in healthy activities.

Basic self-care makes a significant difference during stressful times. Taking breaks while working and connecting with colleagues can help us recharge and stay focused. It is also crucial to find what brings us joy and incorporate it into our daily routine. Whether it’s engaging in spiritual practices, meditating, listening to music, or going for a walk, doing things that feel good is essential for our overall well-being. 

Find community support.

Attending community events or informal gatherings with friends can be a way to process grief, fear, and other difficult feelings. Sharing our experiences helps to reduce the intensity of our emotional distress. Experiencing empathy and understanding from others helps us know we are not alone.

Move your body.

Additionally, moving our bodies can be a powerful tool for stress relief. When we experience stress, our muscles tend to tense up. Engaging in physical movement, such as stretching or self-massaging, helps release tension and process emotions. 

How to Support Your Colleagues

As colleagues, it is important for us to exhibit empathy and compassion towards one another. By acknowledging the challenges and emotional upheavals they may be facing, we create a safe and supportive work environment. 

One way to support our team is by modeling the desired behavior. Being aware of how others react in times of stress and being conscious of the words, views, and ideas we hold and articulate is paramount. Our colleagues carefully take in our words and actions, even in casual banter, across different communication channels. 

By leading with empathy, we inspire trust, foster stronger connections, and create a positive work culture. Let’s remember to show understanding and kindness as we navigate through these challenging times together.

Family Resources

How do I talk to my kids about violence in the news? and Explaining the News to Our Kids: These two guides from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that examines the impact of technology on children, provide age-appropriate tips on how to talk to kids about what’s happening in the news, especially when it involves violence.

How to talk to your children about conflict and war: This guide from UNICEF provides eight tips on supporting and comforting children when war dominates headlines.

UConn’s Feel Your Best Self Videos: UConn’s award-winning puppetry videos designed to teach children and families important coping strategies. The FYBS video series follows three puppet kids – Nico, CJ, & Mena – as they navigate everyday issues. By sharing the strategies, they use to feel their best, the friends help each other work through big feelings and navigate problems.

Ways You Can Help

Anera helps refugees displaced and hurt by conflicts including the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and it has no political or religious affiliation. Its funds provide humanitarian assistance and sustainable development to advance the well-being of refugees and other vulnerable communities.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Its human development and humanitarian services encompass primary and vocational education, primary health care, relief and social services, infrastructure and camp improvement, microfinance and emergency response, including in situations of armed conflict.

International Medical Corps works with local health agencies and partners to provide emergency health services, gender-based violence services, and COVID-19 prevention services. Donations may be mad here.

Save the Children is providing resources to affected children. Donations may be made here.

Direct Relief provides medical resources in vulnerable communities worldwide. Donations may be made here.

The International Red Cross provides assistance during times of crisis and has pleaded for an end to the violence. “In our role as a neutral intermediary, we are ready to visit anyone detained so we can check on their well-being and provide news to their loved ones,” the group says. Donations may be made here.

Thank you,

Lakeesha Brown
Vice President for Human Resources and Interim Chief Human Resources Officer