New Knowledge Center Hopes To Improve Mental Health For Students Of Colour

By Aaron Brophy 7/21/16 |

The Steve Fund Knowledge Center aims to improve student of colour mental health — photo via Steve Fund Facebook
A new online resource has launched to help American students of colour cope with the stresses and mental health concerns in and around their academic lives.

The Steve Fund Knowledge Center is a free online resource hub that's meant to help post-secondary school administrators, parents and students navigate the many mental health challenges students of colour may face.

The Knowledge Center was launched in July to coincide with Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the U.S. Office of Minority Health, minorities are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, have less access to and availability of mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care.

Events such as the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philander Castile also impact the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of colour.

The Steve Fund was established In 2014 in memory of Steven C. Rose, who graduated from Harvard College and earned a Masters degree from City University but committed suicide at age 29 after struggling with mental illness.

There's a solid array of webinars, studies and interviews with experts in the Knowledge Center, with topics ranging from "The Mental Health Needs of High-Achieving Students of Color" and "Marginality, Belonging and Success: The University Experience and the Mental Health of Students and Emerging Adults of Color" to "Bridge over Troubled Waters: Maintaining Wellness for Students of Color in Racially and Academically Stressful Environments." These expert presentations were frequently debuted at schools like Stanford, Yale and Harvard.

The Knowledge Center is funded by the Steve Fund, the U.S.'s only non-profit organization focused on promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of students of colour. The Fund, whose slogan is "for an equal chance at mental health," also supports programs campus seminar and outreach programs as well as 24/7 mental health text support for American students of colour.

"Our goal is to provide carefully vetted information to university and college administrators and other stakeholders, so they can make informed decisions on how to better support the mental health and emotional well-being of students of colour," Steve Fund president Evan Rose said in a statement. "We are thrilled to launch new resource during July, which is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month."

Only 49 percent of African Americans students complete their four-year college education, compared to 71 percent of white, non-Hispanic students, according to a CollegeBoard report. Additionally, studies show students of colour are less likely to seek help when they feel depressed or anxious, experience more instances of micro-aggression than European-American peers and frequently feel less emotionally prepared for college than their peers.

Ideally, Steve Fund officials hope the Knowledge Center will evolve into an important resource to help students of colour.

"The current Steve Fund Knowledge Center is just the beginning," said Fund co-founder Stephanie Bell Rose. "Our vision is to go from 30 to hundreds of expert content items and become a crucial resource for anyone trying to improve support for the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color."

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