FAMU forum promotes counseling of young men

The Florida A&M University Office of Counseling Services will host an open forum for men in Gibbs Hall on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. The forum is open to all students.

Director of Counseling Service Yolanda Bogan and Dougla-Khan Stancil, coordinator of clinical programs, said they are holding the forum to help men in the FAMU community speak openly about common issues.

“Some of the topics we will discuss are relationships, women, finances, drugs and alcohol, suicides and overall health for men both mentally, physically and spiritually,” said Stancil, forum director. “I think it’s helpful when they are around other men because they feel more comfortable.”

Bogan birthed the idea and said she wanted to increase awareness about services offered at Sunshine Manor, FAMU’s counseling center. Stancil said Bogan came to him with the idea.

“Males, normally, don’t like coming into the counseling center,” Stancil said. “So she wanted to provide another way in which we could provide the males students with the opportunity to get some type of services.”

Saundra Inge, the director of the Office of Student Activities, assisted Stancil to provide a comfortable environment and include refreshments for the participants at the meeting.

“Because the meeting is held during lunch time, we will have a light lunch that will be relatively healthy,” Inge said. “Hopefully by other people seeing this group in that area it will get them to stop by.”

Josh McNeal, a resident assistant at Gibbs Hall, said that his job duties as well as his interest to the development of young men on campus lead to his involvement in this forum.

“Sometimes there is a disconnect on campus and we wanted to get together with them and talk,” said McNeal, 23, Political Science, Orlando. “It’s not like there are a lot of guys coming in the dorm and trying to encourage these young men.”

Stancil said the forum is a different type of counseling.

“There are different forms of counseling,” Stancil said. “It’s not all about, ‘Oh, you’re crazy so you need to go to counseling,’ it can be very basic issues, like career decisions or finances.”

The forums will begin Thursday and will continue on a bi-weekly schedule until April 22.

Stancil said he would like to see men of all ages and demographics contribute to the discussion and possibly create future partnerships and programs.

“If you just deal with what you know and how you know it and everybody around is like that then you don’t grow,” Stancil said. “If you can hear from other men about their experience then you begin to get a different perspective and that could help you to mature as a person.”