Mental Health and Wellness for Students of Color: Curing What Ails Institutions

November 15, 2019 0 By Kody Olson


DAVID RIVERA: For all
too long, people of color have been pathologized
and marginalized, have been led to believe
that they themselves are deficient in some
kind of way because of all of the societal
messages that have been sent over the generations. How communities of color have
been mistreated in the health care system. We think about the Tuskegee
Syphilis studies, for example. There’s still a legacy
of those studies that are impacting how
people of color understand and interact
with the health care system, including mental health. And so who’s really sick? In my perspective, it’s
the institution that sick. I think that picture is
being drawn pretty clearly by my esteemed
colleagues up here. And so institutional
interventions need to take
priority in addition to developing culturally
relevant techniques for the students. And I think that’s a way
that the institution can help to minimize the number
of harmful interactions, of microaggressions,
of discrimination, of other insidious
issues that are embedded within the institution. But the institution has to
take a hard look at itself, identify where these
deficiencies lie within themselves,
like Harvard is doing. I’m really glad to hear that
my colleagues are being very open about what’s going on here,
because it can serve as a very helpful example to what
institutions can do in terms of really centering the voices
and experiences of students and of other marginalized
folks as well in order to make their institution
the institution for them.