Eastern Michigan University announces new mental health initiative supporting students of color

A new mental health support group for students of color has been created at EMU in collaboration with the University of Michigan and Washtenaw Community College. (Eastern Michigan University)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Eastern Michigan University has launched a new mental health support group for BIPOC students.

The group, NAMI Campuses in Color, was created in collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Wolverine Wellness, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Washtenaw Community College.

It aims to provide support to students of color who struggle with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. The partnership is supported by EMU sponsors the Center of Race and Ethnicity and Counseling and Psychological Services.

“Racism and stigma make it harder for people of color to get services and support, and this has worsened during the pandemic,” program coordinator for CORE Le’Shay Webb said in a statement. “This group is needed at EMU because it provides students with encouragement, support, and a community that understands what it is like to live with mental health issues and to talk about things that affect them in a safe space.”

Students from all three schools can attend the free group sessions, which take place on the first and third Sunday of every month. Locations for the meetings alternate, and some are held virtually.

“The partnership came about a few months after I joined the board of NAMI-WC,” NAMI-Washtenaw County board member Renée Randall said in a statement. “We wanted to find a way for NAMI-WC to expand its support services, education, and advocacy reach to young communities of color in the county.

“We hope to alleviate some of the burdens on the already-overwhelmed campus offices responsible for providing mental health and wellbeing services and provide students of color with information and practices they could share with their communities.”

Graduate student therapist at CAPS, Xiyu Cao, facilitates meetings with training she received from NAMI.

“As a person who struggles with mental health herself and a clinician who witnesses students’ struggles, particularly students of color, I was eager to utilize my professional training to help students in need,” Cao said in a statement. “I’m hoping that by participating in the support group, students can learn that they are not alone and there is always hope. I encourage people to register for our group. We wish to help as many people as possible.”

To learn more or to register for the group, visit its website.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.