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University Counseling Center held mental health panel for Black History Month

February 8, 2019

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University Counseling Center held mental health panel for Black History Month

Photo by: Kathryn Dufrene

Photo by: Kathryn Dufrene

Photo by: Kathryn Dufrene

The University Counceling Center held a panel on the stigmas of black mental health in Le Bijou Theater on Feb. 4.

The panel included Michele Caruso, Nicholls State University’s associate vice president of student affairs; Marquia Whitehead, Louisiana State University’s assistant director of multicultural recruitment; Tracey Reed, licensed professional counselor at Life Keys Wellness and Consulting Services; Kyra Pressley, fundraising chair of the Black Women Leadership Association; and Jason Gray, vice president of the Bayou Region Black Nurses Association.

The counseling center noticed a difference in ethnicity in the number of students who seek counseling. They wanted to raise awareness and to combat any stigmas related to mental health in the African American community.

“I’m hoping that it will raise awareness about mental health issues in a broader sense, but then in particular within the African American community, and then just reinforce the services that exist on campus,” Adrienne Naquin-Bolton, director of the counseling center, said.

The panel discussed topics such as the major barriers for African Americans in getting adequate mental health care, how African Americans respond to the mental illness stigmas, how faith or spirituality reflect views on mental health, if the church adds to the stigma and whether African Americans need an African American therapist.

“I found it interesting and educational about mental health and African Americans,” Shedreanna Johnson, biology pre-med freshman from Houma, said.

Johnson agreed that often times faith and spirituality affect the mental health of the black community because a lot of the older generation will say to “pray it out of you.”

“I think it’s good that we’re partnering not just with individuals from the Nicholls campus, but we’re also bringing in outside mental health providers,” Bolton said.

Julianna Blanc, nursing sophomore from Destrehan, said the stigmas around mental health lead to the lack of awareness.

“This panel was a good idea because there isn’t enough awareness about mental health in the black community, and it is often looked down upon,” Blanc said.

 

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