The Black Student Union hosted the Cerebellum Check-In, a seminar on mental health in the black community, Monday night at Florida State University’s Globe Auditorium.
In a panel discussion with FAMU psychology professor Huberta Jackson-Lowman, Ph.D., licensed mental health and national certified counselor at the FSU counselor Center Melissa Comeau, Care Center liaison Yvonne Langdon- Maduekwe, Ph.D., second-year FSU sociology student Candace Tavares and third-year FSU spanish student Kayla D. Burnett tackled black mental health issues the community may encounter.
The open panel discussed depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses that the community suffers from. This event created a safe zone for students to openly seek help and speak about mental health issues.
Vice president of FSU’s Black Student Union Ebonique Brooks said they wanted this event to bring awareness.
“We want to bring awareness toward the universities because a lot of people suffer from depression and they may think they are just having a bad day,” Brooks said.
An audience member proposed the black community often suffers because African-Americans realized early on they may not have the same worth as other races.
Lowman says that sense comes from the environment that they live in.
“We are constantly dealing with the systematic discrimination that goes on in society, so the sense of hopelessness and despair that many adults have come from them not being able to find jobs. We have schools that are very under-resourced and teachers that are not the most qualified very often that our kids are attending,” Lowman said.
Lowman continued to say the African-American portrayal in the media is negative.
“We have media portrayals of us that present us in a very negative stereotypical light and all of those come together to bear what happens with our families,” Lowman said.
The panel and peers motivated each other to seek help if they feel they have any signs of stress and mental illness. The National Alliance of Mental Health shows that only 25 percent of African-Americans get help, compared to to more than 40 percent of Caucasians.
Brandon Brown, Mr. Black Student Union, urged the audience to reach out to family members and friends to get help in a timely manner.
“I feel obligated to reach out to them to get in their head, especially after learning that these issues are affecting the black community but no one is speaking out about it,” Brown said. “Seek help early, don’t let this type of thing drag out.”
Counseling services are provided for FAMU students at 101 Sunshine Manor and is open Monday through Friday from 8-5 p.m.
The Office of Counseling Services also offers extended hours Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. by appointment only. For after-hour emergencies, call 911 or 850-599-3256.