Howard University Launches #BisonInTheKnow

Washington, D.C. (April 20, 2020)  – Known for its leadership of Black thought and achievement, Howard  University today launched a new tool to provide insight and expertise on issues paramount to the African American community.  #BisonInTheKnow is an online news and information campaign that will feature Howard faculty experts offering insightful tips and advice on a range of issues important to the Black community.

Howard University Professor Tyish S. Hall Brown, Ph.D., MHS, is a child and adolescent psychologist and director of the School-Based Behavioral Health Program in the Howard University College of Medicine. In conjunction with #BisonIntheKnow, Dr. Hall Brown has completed a short video offering tips on how to talk to young people during the COVID-19 health crisis. Watch the video here.

Professor Hall Brown notes that children are vulnerable to symptoms of anxiety and depression as a result of exposure to the COVID-19 health crisis. Her tips include a recommendation to, “talk to them often, ask them what they know about social distancing and hygiene protocols, encourage them to take their remote learning seriously, and spend quality time indoors having fun.”

In the #BisonIntheKnow video, she notes, “While we know that exercise, nutrition, and sleep are important to child development, building skills to prevent or deal with symptoms of anxiety and depression that they may face can be invaluable.”

One activity that she recommends is called “Five Senses”.  This activity is often used to combat anxiety, particularly at night. Her instructions are as follows:

We start by taking a deep breath. Inhale for a count of three and then exhale for a count of three. Now look around you and say out loud 5 things that you see. For example, look at things around your home or outside your window. I can see my shoes sitting on the floor. I can see a tree outside my window. Next say out loud four things you can feel right now. For Example: I can feel my socks keeping my feet warm. I can feel the softness of my shirt against my arm. Then, pause for a moment and listen to what is happening around you. Say three of the sounds that you hear out loud. For example, I can hear the sound of birds chirping out my window or the sound of cars rushing by.  

Next, say out loud two things you can smell right now. If you can, move around to find things to smell. If you can’t move around, say out loud your two favorite smells.  For example: I smell the air freshener in my house or I smell my mother’s perfume. 

Finally, say out loud one thing you can taste right now. For example, I taste the flavor of my toothpaste. If you don’t taste anything right now, say out loud your favorite taste. Example, my favorite taste is a strawberry cupcake. 

Now, take another deep breath. Inhale for a count of three and then exhale for a count of three. 

For more tips on how to support your child’s mental health visit the Howard University’s School Based Behavioral Health Program Instagram page @husbbhp.