Mental illness discussed at forum

On Thursday morning, the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication will host a mental health issue symposium entitled, “Looking Good but Acting Strangely: The Quiet Taboo of Mental Health.” Organized by professor Valerie White, the event is part of Homecoming Week and is geared towards Florida A&M students to help them better understand mental health.

White, an assistant professor in the Division of Journalism, said the forum should prove to be very informative.

“The forum is an opportunity for faculty and students alike to get information on different mental illnesses and how they may affect classroom performance and also to help guide students on where they may receive assistance,” she said. “We’re going to talk about the scope of the mental health on campus, provide strategies on teaching and dealing with the mentally ill, and then identify characteristics and coping mechanisms for dealing with students and colleagues with mental health issues.”

Dr. Jermaine Robertson, a psychologist and FAMU professor, Sandra King of the Bond Community Health Center, Dr. Thu Thai, a university psychiatrist and Dr. Yolanda Bogan, director of FAMU’s Counseling Center are slated to appear. White said the event should be successful and several students agree.

Myah Clayton, a senior health care management student, said the event sounds fascinating and planned to attend.

“I’m definitely going to this event,” said Clayton, 21. “It sounds very interesting and I think its something that we as African-Americans should know more about. I think the issue is very prevalent in today’s society and I think it should be explored.”

Robyn Dean, 21, a junior nursing student from Tallahassee, agrees. Dean said the event sounds like a great opportunity.

“More people should know about this issue,” said Dean. “I think it will be a good opportunity for students to learn more.”

White said that mental health is becoming prevalent in the black community and she hopes the symposium can shed light on the matter.

“In the black community, we have acted as though mental health issues do not exist,” she said. “We choose to just work it out instead of seeking professional help and I am finding that more and more mental illnesses are becoming evident in our community.”

The event will be held from 9 am to 10:30 am in the SJGC Lecture Hall.