Tag Archives: Mental Health

TSU students promote mental wellness to prevent holiday blues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In the midst of finals, winter blues, and the holiday season, Tennessee State University students are prioritizing their mental health.

SGA student leaders partnered with the University Counseling Center for “Tiger Wellness Week.” The goal was to address the emotional well-being of students during this time of the year.

SGA president Derrell Taylor said the activities were designed to help students recognize the value of their mental health. 

Travis Ducksworth, Derrell Taylor, Elizabeth Armstrong and Amore’ Dixie during Tiger Wellness Week.

“From distributing “You Are Loved” t-shirts to passing out affirmations and creating stress balls, our focus was internal, mental, and physical well-being,” said Taylor, a senior who is a business major. 

Taylor added students even did yoga as a preventative measure to ward off the “holiday blues” during what’s considered the happiest time of the year. 

“Towards the end of the semester, we deal with finals and it’s a lot of anxiety for most students. It’s a draining time of the year. The goal was to wrap up the semester on a positive note and remind students that, despite the emotional challenges of the holiday season, they are supported.”

Travis Ducksworth, the first mental health ambassador of TSU’s counseling center,” shared insights into the impact of Tiger Wellness Week. “We were able to give people a reason to reflect and appreciate themselves even more,” Ducksworth said. “Especially during the winter months, once that sun goes down sooner, sometimes your emotions do too.” 

The emphasis is on finding creative ways to help students balance their collegiate life while prioritizing mental health.

During Tiger Wellness Week students has yoga sessions as a preventative measure to ward off the “holiday blues” during what’s considered the happiest time of the year, along with the stress of finals.

“Regardless of what your situation is, stay present,” Ducksworth advised.

Elizabeth Armstrong, a therapist at TSU’s counseling center, highlighted the importance of treating mental health as an aspect of overall health. She addressed the cultural stigmas surrounding African American mental health, urging students not to wait until they’re in crisis to seek counseling.

“Mental health is still health,” Armstrong said. “It’s important because the majority of our population, culturally, have dealt with a lot of trauma.” 

63% of Black adults believe that a mental health condition is a sign of ‘personal weakness,’ according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness. 

“People seem to think something must be extremely wrong to come to counseling, part of even normalizing that is making people aware that you don’t have to be in crisis to come to counseling. But if you’re struggling with your mental health in general, don’t suffer in silence,” stressed Armstrong. 

As the semester comes to an end, Amore’ Dixie, Representative at Large for the Counseling Center, offered encouragement for students to finish strong mentally first to finish academically.

TSU students held a balloon release with messages inside, symbolizing letting go of anything holding students back. 

“I highly encourage everyone to stay focused, stay positive, and make sure to turn in all of their work on time,” Dixie said. 

“Don’t give up now, we’re almost at the home stretch. If you are feeling overwhelmed or just want to talk to someone, be sure to stop by the Counseling Center where one of the therapists can better assist you.”

Regarding the prevalence of mental health challenges among college students, data from the American Psychological Association shows that over 60% of college students experienced at least one mental health problem during the 2020–2021 school year.

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology there has been little research on the association between HBCU attendance and mental health compared to PWI attendance. Despite this gap in research, the American Journal of Epidemiology reports that cross-sectional surveys found better health outcomes for Black students enrolled at HBCUs, including less drinking, fewer mental health conditions, better body image, and more social support.

Travis Ducksworth, the first student ambassador of TSU’s counseling center reading a mental wellness pamphlet.

The week-long event helped students understand and communicate their emotions. It culminated with a balloon release with messages inside, symbolizing letting go of anything holding students back. 

“Moving forward, we plan to collaborate with the University counseling center to implement more consistent check-ins, mental health events, and comfortable, open spaces on campus,” Taylor said, noting that hosting events in the spring will be beneficial as well.

If you or someone you know needs assistance or counseling, please visit www.tnstate.edu/counseling/contact

TSU making the mental well-being of its students a priority with additional programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As the nation deals with an increasing number of mental health issues, Tennessee State University is providing resources to address the mental well-being of its students, especially amid the pandemic.  

Dr. Richard Garvin

Incidents of suicide, or extreme bouts of depression and anxiety, have consistently made headlines across the country. Recent national statistics show 44 percent of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety. Thirty percent of students reported feeling depressed in the past year, mainly because of the coronavirus that has impacted just about everyone in one way or another over the last two years.  

Most colleges and universities have returned to in-person classes. But before that, students learned remotely, the majority at home. In some cases, says Dr. Richard Garvin, assistant professor of psychology at TSU, students had to stay in abusive environments, where campus living may have provided an escape.  

“Let’s just assume the worse in that they’ve been living with an emotional or physical abuser,” says Garvin. “And they used to go to class as their way out. But now, they’re at home for 17 months. So that trauma kind of compounded itself.” 

Garvin says the scarring that may have resulted from such an environment is why mental health programs like the ones offered through the University Counseling Center are so important.  

Junior Darius Boyd says he is appreciative of the mental health programs TSU offers because he has peers in need of help. He says the pandemic continues to affect their lives, such as students struggling to raise grades that fell because COVID-19 forced them to learn remotely instead of in-person.   

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students

“It’s unbelievable how many students are affected by depression, especially during the pandemic,” says Boyd, a business information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. “People’s lives have been shaken, including mine.” 

Programs offered through the Counseling Center include:  

  • Individual counseling and psychological services support 
  • “Let’s Talk,” which consists of virtual drop-in hours three times a week for a brief (approximately 30 minutes), informal, friendly, no-cost consultation visit.  
  •  Crisis support and intervention 
  • Psychological Assessment and Evaluation 
  •  Training opportunities 
  • Campus outreach and consultation services 

 “TSU is committed to the well-being of our students and their mental health is our top priority,” says Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “The stress from the pandemic has created an uptick in the use of services, thus we have increased resources by serving our students in new and innovative ways. “ 

The Center also offers consultation with faculty and staff regarding student well-being and outreach presentations. Additionally, TSU has partnered with MyURGENCYMD telehealth services powered by TSU to support students when the Center has limited appointment availability or for after-hours support.  

For more information about TSU’s Counseling Center, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/counseling/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.