Online Program

Integrating Mental Health Services at Black Colleges and Universities

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Thometta Cozart, MS, MPH, CPH, Directors of Health Promotion and Education, Washington DC, DC
The 1999 Surgeon General Mental Health Report was a comprehensive overview of issues affecting America’s mental health. This report started a national focus on mental health, but unmet mental health needs of minorities continue to exist. Blacks are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Whites but are less likely to seek professional help. A suicide prevention conference was held at a Florida minority-serving institution to address the mental health concerns of Black college students. The one-day conference offered suicide awareness, prevention, and intervention workshops focusing on special populations, such as LGBTQ individuals and veterans. There was also a specialized track focusing on women’s mental health. Racism, violence and other factors may affect a woman’s mental health. The depression rate for Black women is almost twice that of White women in the US. More than 160 individuals attended. The majority were Black females between the ages of 17 and 24 years old. The women’s mental health sessions were attended by more mental health professions who wanted to be educated about mental health issues of black females. Providers received culturally appropriate suicide prevention and mental health resources.  Mental health education should be an integrated part of college health practices, such as during orientation. Behavioral health needs to be diversified to increase the number of minority counselors, therapist, etc. to support communities of color. Policies and strategies should be created and implemented at Black institutions to impact reducing the stigma around mental health and enhance the behavioral health workforce.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Explain lessons learned from a mental health conference held at a Minority Serving Institutions focused on suicide prevention. Explore the integration of mental health services into student life activities, such as orientation, at Minority Serving Institutions. Discuss mental health issues impacting Black women and college students.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Thometta Cozart is qualified to present because she is a MPH graduate from the University of South Florida and alum of two Minority Serving Institutions. She also severed as a consultant to coordinate the women’s mental health track at the Suicide Prevention Conference described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.