BSU talks mental health, lists resources at forum

Bre Celestin, Cultural and Campus Reporter

The Black Student Union continued its week by hosting a mental health awareness forum in the Lumpkin Auditorium Tuesday night.

BSU President Jay Caver and other executive board members presented a slide show explaining the meaning of mental health and how it affects people.

Yolanda Williams, academic adviser for the Office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement talked with the audience about mental health in the black community and the factors that play into it.

“(Mental health is) a part of life, and I think the world is different for younger generations,” Williams said.

Williams said it is important to acknowledge and talk about what is going on in people’s personal lives.

“If we don’t take care of ourselves, nobody else is going to take care of us. We have to talk about mental health because we talk about everything, like physical, sexual and emotional health,” Williams said.

Williams said that because of the stigma, it is difficult for minority cultures to talk about mental health, and people have different ways of coping with it.

“It’s so important for us to connect with who we are,” she said.

Jerimiah Boyd-Johnson, sophomore criminal justice and political science major and BSU parliamentarian, said mental health is important in the black community.

“A lot of times, our mentality and the way we feel about things are suppressed and sometimes we can fall into a depression and we don’t know how to handle it,” he said.

Boyd-Johnson said the event is open for talking about depression and how to get through college life.

“One of the largest things I hope students take out of this forum is to go get help,” he said. “It’s OK to say you’re not OK and go out receiving counseling and help.”

Norriana Hayes, a junior majoring in human service and community leadership, said her major focuses on mental health and it is important for everyone to have a day off sometimes.

“Everybody should know about (mental health) because mental is just as important as physical,” Hayes said.

Nancy Carreno-Rodriguez, a senior majoring in mass communication, said that she came to the forum because it is mental health awareness and it is important to be knowledgeable about the topic.

“Personally, it’s very important for me and my family, and more people should be informed,” she said.

Carreno-Rodriguez said she has a lot of knowledge about mental health.

She said she has also participated in an event from the educational department that taught her how to see the early signs of a mental illness.

Yanet Flores, a senior majoring in human services and community leadership in family services, said learning about mental health is important because it affects everyone everywhere.

“It’s important to educate ourselves and to be aware and to continue to bring information and learn about it. It’s happening, and a lot of us don’t know about it,” Flores said.

Flores that it is important for the minority group.

“We’re very closed off with opportunities and services, so I believe going to the resources is beneficial for us,” she said.

Flores said that mental illness is an everyday thing so there should be more awareness than just for a month.

BSU will host Battle of the Orgs in the Coleman Auditorium Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Bre Celestin can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].