Teach-in focuses on health and wellness within the Black community

Event explored stressors, mental health issues as part of of Black History Month

By Lexi Pepe '24 February 14, 2023

Guest presenter Wendy Garvin Mayo speaking to audience

Wendy Garvin Mayo, a nurse practitioner and stress solution strategist, discussed the impact stress has on one’s mental health and well-being. She dove into the various types of stress and stressors.

“We are a stressed-out country,” she said as part of the university's annual Black History Month Teach In last week. “The highest causes of stress are inflation, government and the workplace. Forty percent of college students experience stress and 61% seek counseling for mental health.”

She also spoke with conviction on how stressors are different for the Black community as there is racism, discrimination, police brutality and health disparities.

Daymyen Layne, director of multicultural education, highlighted authenticity in the workplace and how individuals use code-switching to fit into an environment.

“Code-switching is a survival technique,” He said. “It helps us blend in and you ask yourself: ‘How much of yourself do you lose? The Carl Rogers' Theory of Personality Development touches upon it more in-depth where you switch in and out consciously and unconsciously whether it is to avoid an uncomfortable situation or when you are talking to peers.”

He described how professionalism in the workplace may be hidden as socialized white supremacy.

“Take the CROWN Act for example,” he said. “It stands for, create a respectful and open world for natural hair. You have people telling you wearing your hair naturally curly isn’t professional. You’re telling people in their natural state, who they are, and how their hair presents, that is unprofessional. There is a sense of unbelonging.”

Jay Kemp, a certified health and life coach, highlighted generational trauma and the roadmap of how to heal systemic and institutional racism.

“We often don’t think about how healing our trauma is a form of activism,” he said. “Whether you are Black or white, when you heal yourself, you begin to address the trauma that is at the root of the negative stress we are dealing with. We are healing trauma generationally.”

He suggested taking the time to dedicate at least three minutes to one’s personal well-being because, in today’s society, everything is a priority except you.

Jahmil Effend, associate director of student engagement, talked about how writing helped him cope and allowed him to give people of color a voice in his literature. He has published four books and has a podcast.

“Writing books has been an opportunity for me to create a world and story that shows the world I envision,” he said. “On the cover of my first book, ‘War in the Fallows,’ I wanted a Black king to be the hero, but I didn’t want the story to revolve around his blackness. The content of their character is what is supposed to matter.”

He is currently working on a non-fiction, self-health book based on motivation to inspire individuals to pursue their aspirations and goals.

Hallye Boughner, a Quinnipiac nursing student, highlighted the maternal mortality rates and ways the Black community can demand systemic change within the medical field.

Yealie Ulaba-Samura, a Quinnipiac psychology student, presented how Eurocentric beauty standards affect the mental health and self-perception of Black women.

Khalilah Brown-Dean, associate provost for faculty affairs, highlighted her book, ‘Protesting Vulnerability,’ and how communities of color must advocate against longstanding policy challenges that harm them. 

Erin Corbett, program director, spoke about the important lesson from Black Panther leader, Fred Hampton, an American activist during the Civil Rights Movement.

Dale Chube, an entrepreneur, discussed how perceptions of a situation can prompt growth and allow one to achieve their goals which can happen in a snap.

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now