An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated number of Black-identified therapists at the counseling center. It has been corrected.
Does NC State Care about Black Students and Their Mental Health?
The simple answer is no. NC State University has shown time and time again that it does not care about its Black students, from allowing racists to speak on campus to not hiring and retaining Black faculty and staff. We do not feel welcome and seen on this campus, and that needs to change. Black spaces need to stay Black spaces and need to stop being invaded by white students. You have plenty of spaces on campus for you, why do you feel the need to take the very few spaces meant for us?
These spaces on campus — built by us, for us — are an important part of building our community and allowing us to find sanity within each other’s shared experiences on this campus. Since coming back to campus this semester, I have noticed significant changes to the Black community and our spaces. COVID really did a number on us and it’s been hard to find that same community that was here my freshman year. That, and classes being back in full swing with no COVID pass/fail grace period has really taken a toll on the mental health of many Black students not only here, but across the UNC school system.
Conversations surrounding the mental health of college students, especially Black students, are becoming more prevalent on different social media platforms. You would think that a college campus would have an abundance of resources for its students regarding such a serious matter, but it doesn’t. I guess it should be a given at a PWI that it would care more about its white student population.
Even still, I think that it is absolutely ridiculous to only have four Black therapists on campus. Four Black therapists for almost 2500 students to see if they want to talk to someone. Do they not realize that Black students want to be able to talk to people that look like them and have shared experiences? That we do not want to settle for the white therapist who does not understand Black issues? NC State needs to hire more Black therapists and treat them way better so that its students have more options.
Another resource that NC State has for students suffering with mental health issues is the CARES program. Faculty, staff and students can submit a report on a student’s behalf, even if they don’t know the student well. If the CARES report is flagged as high priority or high risk, there is a possibility that the student could have campus police show up at their door.
This is under the guise of students being saved from themselves in the form of a wellness check. As Black students, dealing with law enforcement is already a potentially traumatizing situation. When you add mental health issues on top of that, it is a recipe for disaster and unneeded additional trauma.
It is important to recognize that there are some good parts to the CARES program such as letting the student know that people are worried about them. However, I think that the possibility of dealing with law enforcement in such a vulnerable state is not worth the benefits.