College life can be overwhelming to many students here at Florida A&M. The thought of leaving friends and family behind, the stress of handling a 16-credit course load, your 20-page English paper due in two days, can eventually make any Rattler want to strike out or much worse.
Students can suffer from depression, anxiety, mental health and even worse suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, we have the office of Counseling Services at Sunshine Manor, located in the heart of FAMU. Rattlers are offered free counseling and psychiatric help to those who have stress, pain and anxiety going on in their lives.
The unfortunate issue is the stigma that many African Americans turn away from seeking psychiatric or psychological therapy. A second year nursing student, who didn’t want her name used felt that many African Americans feel too ashamed to pursue therapy, much less tell their problems to someone they don’t know. She commented, “I wouldn’t tell my family my problems, so I’m sure I wouldn’t tell a stranger”. FAMU Rattlers need to understand that there is nothing wrong with seeking help during stressful times. Not getting help can lead to suicide, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the third leading cause of death for Black Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 in 1999-2004.
Releasing stress and talking about your problems through therapy is a healthy alternative instead of keeping your emotions internal. Director and Licensed Psychologist, Doctor Yolanda K.H. Bogan, informed me that Sunshine Manor not only offers counseling. They have several projects such as the Sasha Arts Project shedding light on HIV and Aids epidemic as well as their student organization program Active Minds, educating students about various mental health issues throughout the semester. However, many students aren’t taking advantage of the benefits that Sunshine Manor has to offer. Many students try to salvage their semester by seeking services from the office in the last weeks of school for a chance to bypass their lack of consistency in keeping up with school work. Despicable? Yes, but luckily counselors make sure that students who really need the help are receiving it.