By Kiera O'Hara-Heinz
On March 2, 2021 at 7:00pm, Saint Mary’s will be hosting a mental health workshop for Black students, staff and community members titled “Rest and Restore: The Path to Soul Care.” The event, which will take place over Zoom, is the second of the College’s Black Mental Health series, a three part collection of workshops that are a part of Saint Mary’s 44 Days: Honoring Black History.
The event will be hosted by Dr. Tameka Jackson, a licensed psychologist who specializes in meeting the mental health needs of the Black community. Dr. Jackson will be leading exercises and activities focused on finding inner strength and resilience, taking sacred pause and restoration of the soul.
Jenee Palmer, director of the High Potential Program and the organizer of the series, says that the Black Mental Health series originated in 2019 after student feedback requested the formation of healing spaces for Black mental health during the 44 days. She is excited that this year's series will feature workshops led by Black psychologists on a variety of topics.
“We have designed the Black Mental Series workshops as intentional affinity spaces for our Black students and community members,” Palmer said. “We hope that participants will leave sessions feeling validated, nourished, and in community with others.”
The first event hosted by Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson “Black People Don’t Do That! The Messaging and Myths That Harm Us” was held on February 16th, and focused on the myths that have been defining, and hurting the Black community. This event was meant to create discussion around the stereotypes that have followed the Black community, causing pain to the Black community, including members within our Saint Mary’s community.
The third and final part of the Black Mental Health series will take place on March 9, 2021 at 6:00pm over Zoom. Titled “Why You Talk White?” this event will examine the experiences of racial minorities in primarily white institutions and the academic and professional stress pressured on Black people to speak Standard American English. The event will be hosted by Dr. Carnetta Porter, a registered psychologist whose doctoral research was focused on the relationship between language acquisition and formation of racial identity.
These events are meant to provide students, faculty, and staff who identify as being a part of the Black community safe spaces to talk about the challenges they face, and be provided support within their community. These events recognize the importance of mental health, and hope to take away the stigma surrounding discussing mental health, and the affects it can have on individuals.
Special thanks to Jenee Palmer for her participation in this interview.
Victoria Vidales '21,