If you are a Drew student who is noticing yourself struggling because of this, you can email Counseling and Psychological Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. At Drew, we strive to create an inclusive environment that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. Therapy is not a substitute for social or political action, but it can help us stay strong.
(All clinicians at Drew’s McClintock Center for Counseling and Psychological Services are members of the New Jersey College Counseling Association. Here is the collective statement from our Board of Directors.)
In light of recent, national events that have highlighted acts of racism, injustice, and police brutality directed at the Black community, the New Jersey College Counseling Association (NJCCA) wants to express solidarity with the ongoing conversations and movements directed towards dismantling the structures and beliefs that maintain inequality and racism. The NJCCA believes that by working towards freedom and justice for Black people, we are, by extension, taking one of many steps towards addressing and combating how these forces are affecting all marginalized groups within the collective humanity as well.
The various ethical codes, multicultural guidelines, and standards for cultural competence of our professional disciplines call upon us to “respect the dignity and worth of all people”, to “not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices” and to “address institutional barriers and related inequities, disproportionalities, and disparities”. They dictate that we self-reflect on our attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and skills to identify ways in which we can support, empower, and advocate for others, while also identifying ways in which our limitations in these areas may also be adding to further marginalization. Thus, in addition to determining what meaningful contributions can be made, the NJCCA will also use this time to reflect how the organization can better serve the Black community as well as identify and eliminate any practices within the organization that may encourage marginalization and oppression.
As college mental health clinicians, we encourage all of our members to also examine the degree to which their institutions and sub-communities may be engaging in racist and/or prejudiced practices. Universities and colleges that house systems that promote marginalization and isolation can be harmful to the mental health of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, and for those students who have a pre-existing mental illness, such acts of alienation can worsen their condition (Primm, 2018). In addition to facing stigma around mental health treatment, Black college students have reported fears “related to mistrust of providers and limited cultural sensitivity,” (Busby, et. al., 2019) leading them to seek support more often elsewhere. Among ethnic minority students, Black college students historically report the least favorable evaluations of campus climates and endorse higher levels of race‐related stressors (McClain, et. al., 2016). As college counselors, we have the unique opportunity to offer and re-configure our clinical resources and supports towards addressing the mental health issues of Black college students. We can take the much-needed steps of also addressing individual, interpersonal and institutional racism within our respective higher education institutions.
Busby, D. R. Zheng, K., Eisenberg, D., Albucher, R.C., Favorite, T., Coryell, W., Pistorello, J., & King, C.A. (2019) Black college students at elevated risk for suicide: barriers to mental health service utilization. J. Am. Coll. Health, 36(1), pp. 1-7
McClain, S., Beasley, S.T., Jones, B., Awosogba, O., Jackson, S., & Cokley, K. (2016). An examination of the impact of racial and ethnic identity, impostor feelings, and minority status stress on the mental health of black college students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 44, 101-117
Primm, A. (2018, July). College Students of Color: Overcoming Mental Health Challenges. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/July-2018/College-Students-of-Color-Overcoming-Mental-Health