By Quinton R. Arthur
Mental Illness carries a stigma in many communities as something that can easily be resolved or is not a valid illness. During Diversity week, Psych in Action helped to inform students and staff about the issue and offered progressive ideas to help change this trend.
The Psych in Action panel was composed of experts in mental health from Roosevelt and the community.
The first topic discussed were differences in mental health among various communities.
Dr. Melissa Sisco, a professor at Roosevelt, explained the role in which culture plays in regards to diagnosis of mental health.
She discussed the ways in which different cultures sometimes experience varied symptoms, and how those cultural differences can often lead to stigmatization within each community.
There are often major barriers to mental health access in minority-filled areas, according to the panel. Especially in poor, black and Latino communities, there are cultural and financial barriers that can keep people from getting the diagnosis and treatment that they need.
Dr. Michael McPartland offered solutions on combining professional and community efforts to change the state of mental health.
One topic of discussion was the relationship between community members and their respective churches, especially in black communities, and the ways the church can help dispel stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Mental health issues can affect students as well. Dr. Kusha Murarka of the Counseling Center offered insight on how students experience mental health.
“A lot of students are feeling overwhelmed, they are feeling stressed, and they feel like many students do, that they just can’t make it through the end of the semester,” Muraka said.
Muraka said that these are normal issues to deal with, and in some students they begin to affect their overall mental health. Most of the time, according to Muraka, these are the types of situations that the Counseling Center helps combat.
There are many campus resources for students to take advantage of, as explained by Amber Hegewald, peer advocate in the Counseling Center.
Hegwald said that the Counseling Center has hosted events on campus, including Destress Fest and Therapy dogs. They also provide a large number of written resources that to students and their specific needs.
“We’ve been pretty successful so far, especially this year,” Hegewald said.
For more information about Psych in Action, contact the president Desire Bernard via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.