Culture and health collide for Black college stude...

Culture and health collide for Black college students grappling with depression

From slavery, to the atrocious Marion Sims, to the objectification of Sarah Baartman, to the Tuskegee experiments, and the current attack on the accessibility of health care—it is easy to understand why minorities and underrepresented communities are wary of doctors, therapy, and medication. Historically, these groups of people have no reason to trust medical professionals.

Thus, not only does leading with distrust seem to be the most sensible action to take, many of the people in these communities stay far away from therapists and doctors because it is assumed that the family will have the answers one needs. In short, a shot of castor oil, a swig of Apple Cider Vinegar, and forgiveness will ease the pain. Telling the family’s business and taking what happens inside of the house, out of house, won’t. Even though, statistically, STDs and physical, peer-on-peer assault are higher among Black and Brown people and it’s clear home remedies and sage can’t be the only answer to healing.

Similarly, black and brown men as well as non-black and brown men are also known to stay far away from doctor’s offices and therapy. Social conditioning has taught men that on the spectrum of masculinity and femininity, talking about one’s feelings and ailments is the complete opposite of what a man’s man wants to portray about himself.

However, what happens when these group of people go to college? How do they survive the cultural shock? Racism experienced at a predominately white institutions, homesickness, and the uncomfortable shift of finding out that parents and families don’t know it all?

Colleges and Universities know the transition into college takes a toll and so student health centers are in place, around the country, to cater, support, and provide efficient resources to all students. Many student health centers offer mind and body wellness, confidential STD testing, alcohol abuse prevention, dental services, counseling services for anxiety, victims of assault, grief and suicide, and more.

Yes, there’s a sordid history in the lives of minority families when it concerns medicine. The same is also true for men when they attempt to leave the fixed boxes patriarchy places them in when it concerns their mental and emotional well-being. Still, there comes a time where we must all prioritize self-care. Besides, there’s no better time to practice advocating for oneself than in college.  

(Photo courtesy of Gordan Parks)


About Randie Chapman

I am a Gates Millennium Scholar and first-generation college graduate from the College of Wooster where I majored in English and Africana Studies. In the fourth grade a librarian told me I wouldn't be able to finish the first Harry Potter book and just to spite her I've been reading ever since. In addition to loving a great book I am passionate about access, people, and justice and I believe writing is the only way to manifest this love and survive 45's America. When I'm not writing for High Faluter I am intentional about normalizing honesty, vulnerability, and truth-telling on my personal blog, Words with Randie. I currently reside in Atlanta, Ga with my husband and dog, Groot where you can find us watching Game of Thrones and Insecure.