Support the open letter to UCLan to provide specific peer well-being and mental health care for Black students #blacklivesmatter
By signing this I suppport the open letter to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) regarding the lack of Black representation in the university's well-being sector.
I believe that Black Lives Matter and that Black mental health matters always, but especially so at this moment and going forwards.
To the University of Central Lancashire,
My name is Odette Emilie Anne Yende and I am the current BAME representative for the university. One of my main goals for this year was to try and ensure that the university hired a Black mental health councillor as currently we do not have one and I am determined to see this goal through. I had previously emailed student services about this matter but was met with a poor and dismissive response.
With the knowledge of what is currently transpiring globally due to the unlawful murders of Black people by systems designed to and the hands bound to keep us oppressed we can no longer ignore and turn a blind eye to the discrimination that Black citizens face. It is now time for the university to hold itself accountable. It is time for change.
Black mental health is something that is very important because already this topic is seen as a taboo in the Black community and this is something that needs to be addressed. As a Black student we unfortunately do not have many safe spaces where we can discuss our many hardships with someone who understands and identifies with the stigmas and unconscious preconceptions that we Black students face daily in today’s society.
I had previously conducted a focus group specifically with Black students about their experiences in university and if and why they believed that a Black councillor would be beneficial, the results heavily showed that they would largely benefit from this as they would feel more comfortable speaking openly with someone who both looks like them and has similar life experiences.
At this moment in time, Black mental health is more important than ever. So how can the university help in ensuring that their Black students are taken care of now and in the future?
- Firstly, by hiring a Black mental health councillor as Black students’ mental health is just as important as the mental health of our non – Black peers.
- A set date for conversations to be held during induction week with students, surrounding mental health in the Black community to help deconstruct the stigmas surrounding this topic.
- Providing reassurance to Black students that the student union is there to support them by performing regular checks to vulnerable students as well as encouraging Black students to seek help if required.
- Providing a safe space specifically for Black students to express their emotions regarding the current climate. This should be held by a Black member of teaching staff.
This is an important issue that needs to be addressed because as students we go to a culturally diverse university and this needs to be reflected in our staff, to not only promote inclusion but to also ensure that every student is represented. As a university you can not claim to stand in solidarity with Black lives and yet dismiss the mental health of those very students you say matter.
With kind regards,
Odette Emilie Anne Yende
UClan BAME representative
Victoria Yates UCLan student Contact the author of the petition
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