Black History Month: Breaking down barriers to mental health support

Friday, January 29, 2021 Black History Month: Breaking down barriers to mental health support

A black female student reads her smartphone outside the College of Education and Human Sciences building.

Each February the nation comes together to celebrate Black History Month. During this time, many Americans reflect on, celebrate and acknowledge the major roles Black Americans have played in the United States, both past as well as the present. Through this month-long recognition, challenges endured by Black Americans, particularly in their mental health and well-being, come into focus.

Black Americans are disproportionately more likely to experience mental health issues and social stigma. Research shows that Black adults are 20 percent more likely to experience mental health issues. Historical adversity which includes slavery, race-based exclusion from health care, education, social and economic resources, translates into substantial social and economic disparities among many Black Americans.

Mental health concerns do not discriminate based on one’s race, color, gender, or identity. Furthermore, marginalized populations - such as Black Americans - are at higher risk for mental health concerns. The counselors at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) remain mindful of how these disparities can significantly impact students’ well-being.

To help break down the barriers to mental health, CAPS has partnered with the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services (OASIS) for over eight years. A counselor facilitates the Dish It Up program weekly to provide a safe space for students to discuss experiences throughout their academic journey. Similarly, a counselor also is available regularly in the TRIO office to increase access to support for minority students.

“We work hard to tear down the barriers and build bridges that allow CAPS to support Black students in their journey,” said John Goldrich who leads CAPS outreach activities.

With a culturally diverse and inclusive professional staff, CAPS offers services that help Black students overcome barriers. To learn more about CAPS services and schedule an appointment, call (402) 472-7450.

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