Atlanta Black Star reported on a paper co-authored by David Stovall, GCI scholar and professor of educational policy studies and African- American studies, that stated that mental health issues among black students are often unnoticed because of the students’ intense academic focus and desire to achieve.
Stovall and McGee are both mentors and teachers, and have been aware of the firsthand accounts many Black students have experienced as they try to both survive and thrive in a mostly White environment. Stovall asserts that Black students facing this multi-faceted burden have to be “protected against daily discrimination.” There are also research studies indicating that grit is needed for mental fortitude when accomplishing a task. Still, a more holistic approach is needed when gaining a clear understanding of the mental, emotional and psychological harm that Black students face while in college and beyond.
The authors of the study make a case for systemic changes in the university system, so that Black student healing can begin. This healing will have to take a different approach than traditional wellness methods.
“The process of healing from racial battle fatigue and institutional racism requires significant internal commitment and external support,” the study concludes. “Black college students are brilliant, talented, and creative, and they dream as big as other students. Pursuing higher education should not make them sick.”