Mental Health and Wellness for Wilberforce University Students
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on June 20, 2022 |
A friendly competition among eight historically Black colleges proved profitable. The contest in one group was won by Wilberforce University at the conference of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (HELF) held recently in Charlotte, North Carolina. This organization was developed to strategically train and support students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
A sponsoring organization offered a $50,000 grant to the participating colleges at the “Ideation, Innovation and Collaboration: The Future of HBCUs” three day meeting.
Universities were divided into two groups and were directed to collaborate on a proposal that would benefit student outcomes. Wilberforce leadership created one of the winning partnerships with Delaware State and Tuskegee Universities to offer mental health and wellness services for students at all three institutions. The three universities will share the grant funds with the other winning group - Harris Stowe State University in Missouri, Wiley College in Texas, Arkansas Baptist College, Lemoyne Owen College in Tennessee and the Southern University System in Louisiana.
“I think that ten years ago, you easily could have had the same focus, but I think for HBCUs, we have recognized a heightened need for mental health care coming off the pandemic,” said Dr.
Parris Carter, Wilberforce University VP for engagement and success. “The need has always been there, but the pandemic exposed a lot for students who have lost family members.”
Through a partnership with Prevention First, an Ohio based non profit that promotes healthy behaviors, Wilberforce has already begun a similar pilot program – with six WU students completing a mental health training initiative. Future plans will include students who will serve as trained mental health counselors. Wilberforce is ready to begin the program, hopefully during the fall semester.
Carter went on to say peer counseling is a more effective network that attracts more student involvement, ensuring that direct participation can encourage more students to come forward to address their mental health issues.
“HBCUs are doing more to address mental health because it impacts a student’s ability to thrive on a college campus. Wellness is added because that allows us to broaden the kinds of needed services. Everybody doesn’t need to see a professional therapist, but they do need to understand their bodies and minds.”
Wilberforce University is the nation's first, private, historically Black college/university (HBCU). Founded in 1856, it is a member of the NAIA, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and the Ohio Link Library Consortium. According to hbcu.com, located near Dayton, Ohio, Wilberforce is one of the top five HBCUs in the midwest.
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