Multicultural Stigma Event at SXU

Miryam Villarreal

April 1st, 2017

On Wednesday, March 29th, SXU’s Psychology Club hosted, for the first time, the Multicultural Stigma event. The purpose was to raise awareness on mental health from a variety of multicultural approaches. It took place in the Butler Reception Room from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. All students and staff were welcomed. Several clubs from campus spoke about the stigma of mental health among different communities.

In an interview with the Xavierite, Psychology Club’s president, Adelinne Whittenhall, said that the club really wanted to host a collaborative event, “We felt like there are stigmas about mental health in a variety of cultures. Who better to help us with this event than all of the cultural clubs on campus? We asked all of the cultural clubs, the Student Veteran Alliance, and the Spectrum Alliance to present about how mental health is viewed in their culture. We received participation from four other clubs on campus for this event.”

SXU’s Student Veteran Alliance (SVA) was present and was the first club in going up. Shalom Torres and Connor, both members of SVA, spoke about the stigmas of mental health based on their experience in the military and as veterans. Torres and Connor focused on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the myths that some people believe on the subject.

PTSD is a mental health problem that occurs after experiencing a trauma or a life-threatening event. Traumas that women are more likely to experience are sexual assault and child sexual abuse; whereas physical assault, combat, and accidents are more likely in men. When in the military, events such as combat or missions can lead to PTSD.

Additionally, Torres emphasized that women have to fight to earn respect [in the military]. “Ten years ago, women weren’t allowed in combat, now they are. At this pace, we can reach to where we are supposed to be.”

They both mentioned that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs provides suicide hotlines, support groups, and clinics. However, women are more likely to seek help after the military and are, therefore, diagnosed more often with PTSD than men, since men generally seek less help. In response to this, Connor said, “it’s a culture thing that is not going to change [unless we do]. There definitely needs to be a cultural shift.”

 

Up next went the SXU’s SPECTRUM Alliance. Members of the club spoke about the dual stigmas in the LGBTQIA+ community.

According to their presentation, LGBTQIA+ individuals are three times more likely to experience a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety disorder. Additionally, they are two to six times more likely to attempt suicide due to lack of support, constant feelings of loneliness, and experiencing bullying.

The presenters stressed the importance of showing support and care to LGBTQIA+ individuals to help them overcome the fear of coming out and of being discriminated against.

After this, the video Snapping the Chain: Ending Mental Health Stigma in the African American Community was shown, sent by the African American Diaspora Club and Black Student Union.

Lastly, professor Nicola Demonte opened up a discussion with the audience about the stigma of mental health among different communities. Some students in the audience shared their experience with mental health in their culture.

“I think it was a very helpful event. I do not think this topic is discussed enough. I know I learned a lot about PTSD and the increased mental health struggles those in the LGBTQIA+ community face . . . I am thankful that various Registered Student Organizations and Emerging Registered Student Organizations were willing to contribute to the success of this event,” said Whittenhall.

For more information about the event you may contact the Psychology Club via email at sxupsychclub@gmail.com

Miryam Villarreal

Senior News Editor

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