2023 NAMI-UW Spring Gala
Our members are the heart of our student organization and we are honored to have such amazing UW-Madison student be a part of our community! Therefore, we hosted our first annual NAMI-UW Spring Gala to celebrate the wonderful things we’ve done together this year (2022-23) and recognize our members for their commitment, dedication, and passion for NAMI-UW’s mission: to advocate, educate, and support!
Our 2023 Award Winners!
The event took place on April 26th, 2023, 7:00-8:30 pm at Union South, Varsity Hall. Our attendees enjoyed socializing, playing games, entering our raffles, taking photos, and dining on delicious meals during the our Pre-Award Ceremony time!
Beginning the Award Ceremony, once all were seated, Katherine Zimmerman, 2022-24 NAMI-UW President gave a speech to welcome our guests and give thanks to our dedicated members and our talented executive board leaders: Vice President, Lauren Roskopf; Bandana Project Director, Noelle Kotrly; Events Coordinator, Kat Schneider; Marketing Director, Abbey Skramstad; Workshop Coordinator, Isabella Reilley; Volunteer Coordinator, Anna Rehfeld; Fundraising Coordinator & Treasurer, Zach Goetz; and Secretary, Alyssa Shack. Kat Schneider also gave an heartfelt and amazing speech recapping all of the social events she hosted this year and said thanks to our members, along with shouting out a few members for their outstanding participation! Then, we took a trip down memory lane by watching a video showcasing the exciting and fun events we hosted this year and finally announced our 2023 NAMI-UW Spring Gala Award Winners along with our raffle winners!
By: Dorothy Watson
Major life changes can be difficult to handle, but it is possible to manage them in a healthy and
productive way. The first step is to be honest with yourself about how you are feeling and any
concerns or fears that come up during the transition process. The next step is to take some time
for self-reflection and think carefully about the direction you want your life to go in. You can use
the following tips to take action when you're ready to handle your life change.
Learn How to Relax
The first step in navigating major life changes is to develop relaxation techniques that work for
you. This could include yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or journaling. Taking the
time to relax your mind and body will help reduce stress levels, which can make it easier to
tackle the next steps in making big life changes.
When making big life changes, it’s important to focus on the positives in your life. Think about
what has been working well for you and what you are grateful for. This will help keep your
spirits up during this transitional period and remind you of all the good things that are still
happening in your life, even if other aspects are changing.
Set Manageable Goals
Making big life changes often requires setting achievable goals so that each step along the way
feels manageable. Break down large tasks into smaller tasks so that they feel more doable and
less intimidating. Setting achievable goals will also give you something tangible to work toward
every day until you reach your larger goal of making a major change in your life.
It’s important to have friends who can offer support when going through major life changes, as
they can provide emotional support as well as practical advice when necessary. Reach out to
friends who have gone through similar experiences or those who can listen without judgment so
that you feel less alone during this time of transition. Having this social support will help you
Find a Less Stressful Job
If one of your major goals is changing jobs, consider using free online resources to update your
resume or portfolio before applying for any positions. You'll also want to keep all of those files
together for easy access; there is a tool to help with this that even lets you rearrange the
documents so you can keep everything organized. No matter what type of job you're looking for,
going in with a stellar resume and portfolio can help you do it with confidence.
Make a Move
Moving can be an intimidating process, especially if you're thinking of going to a new city or
state. However, sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what's needed to jumpstart a new
career or some inspiration. For an easier transition, consider moving to a smaller space that
requires less maintenance. You can look for Madison rentals online, narrowing down the options
by price, the number of rooms you need, and the neighborhoods you're interested in. Some sites
even offer an online tour so you can see exactly what the space looks like without visiting in
Making big life changes can take a lot out of you, both emotionally and physically. It is important
to take care of yourself during this time and focus on maintaining your mental health. By taking
steps like finding a new job and exploring rentals and relocating, you can handle anything life
throws at you.
By Katherine Zimmerman, NAMI-UW President (2022-2024)
Taking care of your mental health has become crucial throughout the past few unprecedented years. As the increase of those affected with mental illness has become more apparent, it has become even more important to have the proper resources to accommodate growing demands for mental health services. However, the mental health profession has only just begun to respond to the world’s efforts for diversity and inclusion, leading individuals from varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds underrepresented. The lack of diversity within the mental health profession has created adverse effects for minorities working in the mental health field. These problems have prompted the additional development of inclusive mental health services to counter mental health stigma related to marginalized groups.
Due to the lack of diversity within the mental health profession, Black individuals within the profession are more likely to experience microaggressions, leading to a decline in Black mental health professionals. A qualitative study of Black faculty working within counseling and counseling psychology programs found microaggressions were commonly perceived, such as feelings of invisibility/hypervisibility, receiving inadequate mentoring, and difficulties determining whether discrimination was either race or gender-based (Constantine, Smith, Redington, & Owens, 2008). Microaggressions can cause marginalized individuals to feel less motivated to stay within the field and increase the risk for mental health issues. Likewise, within higher education, there is an underrepresentation of female faculty members of color and Black faculty members causing their numbers to decline possibly due to structural racism which is ingrained in many university structural systems (Constantine et al., 2008). The underrepresentation of marginalized groups within the mental health profession is harmful to disempowered individuals wanting to go into the field and has an influence on the lack of diversity within the mental health profession.
Multicultural counseling competence (MCC) is a crucial skill for individuals to possess within the mental health profession; however, a lack of diversity has caused a deficit in this skill throughout the field. In 2004, about 80% of psychology doctoral students were White, even though research suggested racial/ethnic minority counselors had significantly higher levels of MCC than White counselors (Spanierman, Poteat, Wang, & Oh, 2008). Since most psychology doctoral students are White, lack of diversity continues to be problematic for the mental health profession. This lack of diversity is hazardous since White professionals have lower MCC levels which lead to an MCC deficit within the overall field and causes individuals from varied backgrounds to be underrepresented in mental health services.
The negative outcomes created by the lack of diversity within the mental health field have affected important aspects of treatment due to a lack of cultural understanding. To properly diagnose and treat mental illness, mental health professionals must be aware of cultural influences on individuals. However, racial and gender biases are continuing to prevent individuals in need of mental health services from receiving proper care. Garb (2021) stated, that racial and gender biases occur in the diagnosis of conduct disorder, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, mood disorders, as well as antisocial and histrionic personality disorders. The biases observed within psychological diagnosis are harmful towards destigmatizing mental health within marginalized groups; due to minorities and women being considered marginalized groups, it’s important to acknowledge how racial and gender biases overlap in psychological diagnosis. Moreover, the way symptoms of mental illness are expressed within different cultures also appears to have a significant effect on the process of receiving mental health treatment.
Dana Givens, a writer for the New York Times, explained various first-hand experiences dealing with mental health stigma as a Black woman. She stated, “Growing up in a predominantly Black community in Harlem, therapy was stigmatized as something for people who could not handle challenges.” (Givens, 2020). These potentially harmful cultural influences play a large part in one’s decision to seek mental health services. Shaun J. Fletcher, who researches health disparities among African American men, due to American culture, how African Americans “deal with mental health, or choose not to, is based on how [they] are socialized” (Givens, 2020). American culture has taught Black communities they do not have the privilege of being vulnerable like other communities—reinforced by the evident racial imbalance between mental health professionals and the general population.
The need for diversity within the mental health profession has become increasingly visible due to recent research on how prejudice and discrimination impact one’s mental and physical health. Discrimination is internalized throughout one’s life and correlates with various poor health markers/outcomes and children who experience discrimination have higher rates of mental illness (depression, ADHD, etc.) (Khullar, 2017). The lack of diversity within the mental health field creates unequal social conditions which foster unequal health outcomes for marginalized groups due to a lack of proper representation in mental health services. This leads to individuals not receiving treatment for mental health facilitated by a serious public health crisis experienced by communities who deserve better mental health services.
Currently, efforts to develop more inclusive and diverse mental health services have become the mental health field’s newest priority as they work on strategies to accommodate marginalized groups. There has been an increase in the development of digital companies to assist people in finding a therapist who is skilled and culturally competent. It can be extremely difficult for people of color to locate a therapist with a shared cultural background; however, InnoPsych offers a solution. InnoPsych offers a searchable directory of potential therapists, where users can filter providers in various categories, such as their state; type of insurance accepted; and therapist’s availability, ethnicity, and specialty (Caron, 2021). The creation of these new tools for mental health can help individuals find high-quality mental health services.
Alfiee M. Breland-Noble, a psychologist who teaches cultural competence and multicultural counseling skills stated cultural competence is about behaving “in a way that allows other people to feel welcome, to feel heard and to feel understood” (Caron, 2021). Furthermore, research studies have brought new ideas on how to better MCC within the mental health profession. Spanierman et al. (2008) suggest “affective reactions play a more central role in the process leading to increased multicultural knowledge … multicultural awareness was directly predicted by color-blind racial attitudes and multicultural knowledge, consistent with the extant literature.” Supervisors must be aware of White trainee affective reactions and respond appropriately by necessitating White trainees with low levels of MCC to more intensive multi-cultural training. By doing so, White trainee multicultural knowledge/awareness will increase overall leading to a better cultural understanding and improvement of mental health care for marginalized groups.
In order to have higher quality treatment for those suffering from mental health, diversity is important to have true understanding and empathy towards various cultural backgrounds. Cultural backgrounds have a large influence on mental health stigma experienced by marginalized groups which can manifest into additional challenges, such as an increased risk of future mental illness or exacerbated symptoms of mental illness. Lack of diversity in the mental health profession has created multicultural counseling incompetence due to the lack of racial and ethnic minority professionals within the field. Likewise, the prevalence of White professionals creates a racial imbalance between mental health professionals and the general population. Additionally, Black mental health professionals are discouraged to pursue careers in counseling psychology due to microaggressions experienced within higher educational programs. Consequently, lack of diversity has also influenced racial/gender biases in diagnosing psychological disorders causing mental health stigma related to marginalized groups to increase due to a lack of cultural understanding. However, new developments offer tools for individuals to find mental health services and ways to improve MCC training which may create more cultural and ethnically diverse mental health services and improve diversity within the profession.
Original post & references: https://0zimmermank.wixsite.com/encouragekindness/post/the-importance-of-diversity-within-the-mental-health-profession
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