Student launches organization, brings awareness to mental health

Group shot of students who participated

More than a dozen students recently attended JCSU senior Ramel Brown’s mental health discussion, Mel’s Mind, in the Rotunda September 20, 2019. The psychology major is working to break the stigma around mental health. 

“My motivation is inspiring and impacting people,” Brown explained.

Despite advances in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, minorities are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, have less access to mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care.

JCSU’s Director of Counseling Services Tierra Parsons, who sat on Brown’s panel discussion, is excited about the efforts he’s making on campus to raise awareness.

“There was an excellent interactive activity that allowed students to share similarities regarding going through college,” she said when speaking about the influence Brown has on his peers.

 “It was great to see so many males come out and ask questions. I haven’t seen that in the six years that I’ve been at JCSU,” Parson’s emphasized.

His fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, who he receives major support from on this effort, sponsored Brown’s program.

Brown explained, “As black men we don’t usually speak or express our emotions our feelings, we tend to suppress.”

Brown hopes sharing his journey with others encourages his peers to seek the treatment needed for mental wellness. Brown, who has experienced depression, knows all too well the risks involved.

“Sharing my story shows that they’re not the only ones going through something,” he said. “I provide a comfortable atmosphere, understanding and comprehension with others.”

Brown is just getting started. He plans to host more mental health discussions throughout the semester, launch an IGTV roundtable discussion and a YouTube channel.

Counseling services also has events lined up for Mental Health Awareness Month, celebrated in October. For the first time ever one of the volleyball games will be dedicated to mental health awareness. The game will take place Thursday, October 10, 2019 in Brayboy Gymnasium at 6pm against Livingstone College.