The photos recently posted on Karisma Hazel’s Facebook features a happy graduate of a historically black college sitting amongst other like-minded individuals who make better happen as licensed therapists in the state of Ohio. All of these people pictured are black, by the way. You can see a smile on each of their faces because you look so much better when you smile! 

“I am extremely grateful and excited to announce that I have joined Poppy’s Therapeutic Corner as Counselor Trainee and is now providing therapeutic services to those in the Ohio area,” she captioned the post, adding that the opportunity to be surrounded by and working with such an amazing group of therapists is a dream come true for her. 

“Furthermore, imagine my surprise to find out that the owners and I are connected through Central State University,” Hazel added in the post. “We are [a] Marauder Family!! We are Centralians in Mental Health ✊🏾✊🏾.” 

Adjusting to our new normal

Many people are adjusting to our new normal, the coronavirus pandemic, and are thinking: 

  1. How do I cope with my personal issues and the reality of COVID-19? 
  2. What are some things that I can do that promote peace of mind? 

Recognizing that this is a complete adjustment period is key, said Hazel, who graduated from Central State University with her bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in Business Administration. She’s also a Masters candidate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in trauma crisis counseling. “It’s okay to have feelings both negative and or positive during this time.” 

“Whether you are an educated person, a mom, or male living in today’s society, it’s okay to feel, it’s okay to embrace change and create what that looks like for you. Next, understanding that as a society, as we know, is changing, things that may have been in our control once before may be slipping away,” said Hazel in regards to how to cope during this time, proposing that those who are struggling with our new normal, even mental illnesses should consider the following: 

  • Make a list of what you can and can’t control during this time.
  • Allow yourself to be at peace with things that are beyond your control.
  • Do your best to control your mental perception.
  • Try to focus on the good that this adjustment phase has brought (i.e. more time to self reflect, more family time, and more time to connect).

“I suggest you remember to do something every day that promotes your peace of mind. This can be done by watching a short comedy clip, coloring, mediation or a mini-concert in the shower. Whatever this looks like for you, the goal is to self-care and pour into you on a daily basis,” said Hazel. 

Being more mindful 

Should we limit our news and focus on self-care instead? 


With so much going on, the news can cause one to exhibit symptoms of anxiety and depression, said Hazel, adding that looking at the news and keeping up with various social media outlets can be both mentally exhausting and overwhelming.

“With all that’s going on, this is a great time to self reflect and become more self-aware. Take some time and space to find the things that interest you. Things that bring you peace, laughter, and joy. Even if you don’t know what that is presently, allow yourself to find those things, recreate you,” she said. 

You can also try mindfulness, which is the ability to be self-aware of your thoughts and feelings. Hazel told HBCU Buzz that she often tells her clients that the way you think, impacts the way you feel, which impacts the way you act outwardly. “Think of practicing mindfulness like this, your mind is soil and your thoughts are seeds, whatever you feed your mind is going to grow.”

“By being cognizant of your thoughts and feelings, you can become disciplined in rejecting thoughts and feelings that don’t align with your desired vibe. You gain more control of your emotions, and it helps you find a deeper awareness of self. Lastly, practicing mindfulness reduces stress, and anxiety, and helps promote a consistent mental state that is regulated by the thoughts and feelings you, and you alone allow,” she said. 

Hardly home but always reppin’

Hazel told HBCU Buzz that choosing to go to Central State University was one of the best decisions of her life, pointing out that CSU has helped her develop independence and maturity, and provided her with an opportunity to become self-sufficient and cultivate skills needed to survive in today’s world:

“I can honestly say by having a leadership role in extracurricular activities it has assisted me in my personal development that has prepared me for my current role.”

“Moreover, the connections made at Central State have been phenomenal. Not only has CSU introduced me to wonderful supportive people that I still call friends to this day, but it has connected me with people who helped cultivate my professional abilities and advancements,” she said, using her current position with Poppy’s Therapeutic Corner, an all-black mental health practice owned and operated by Centralians, as an example of this. 

“Sitting under the tutelage the practice provides, I am extremely grateful and so GLAD I WENT TO CSU!”