CMHC stresses intersectionality with Suicide Prevention Week panel

Miguel Robles

The Counseling and Mental Health Center held a panel Tuesday night at the Multicultural Engagement Center to recognize the intersectionality of mental health, including people of color and members of the LGBT community.

This panel was part of CMHC’s eighth annual Suicide Prevention Week.

“As a member of the LGBTQA+ community and being of mixed ethnicities, the conflicting cultural messages and the queer trauma experiences in the news right now are a huge part of the stressors that interact with mental health,” environmental science senior Zoi Thompson said. “I was impressed with the voices presented in the panel. It’s not often that you see people of color stepping up and coming out to speak about these issues. I really appreciated the effort to bring in diversity.”

Middle Eastern studies sophomore Carlos Campos, internal relations director of Students for Equity and Diversity, spoke about how the media has fed a stereotype by portraying men of color as aggressive. 

“There are a lot of societal expectations and pressures on men in general to not be emotional and just be a little blunter, a little more stoic in how they approach trauma and how they approach issues,” Campos said. “We need to destigmatize these emotions, because I don’t think aggression is a healthy way to express frustration. Not only is it unhealthy, it’s also inaccurate. Men have feelings too.”

Marian Trattner, the suicide prevention coordinator for CMHC, said these events have had positive impact on students.

“There’s been an increase in student activism and interest in getting engaged in mental health,” Trattner said. “This helps students who have had experience with suicide, it helps them to not feel as alone and gets them doing something in a positive way to move forward.”

CMHC’s diversity coordinator Kimberly Burdine said the center offers diversity discussion groups tailored to different minority groups to create spaces for these groups to share their concerns relating to mental health within their communities.

“The counseling center offers individual and group counseling, psychiatry services, as well as the MindBody Lab,” Burdine said.

Thompson said her expectations for the panel were exceeded by the open and comfortable conversation between the speakers.

“Mental health is a process. Mental health is evolving. Mental health is really complex, and there’s no easy answer even though sometimes we wish there was,” Thompson said.

The CMHC will continue to host events throughout the week, including a panel Wednesday, which will focus on suicide prevention and advocacy.