Outreach and Alcohol / Drug Education
The Howard University Counseling Service strongly believes in the promotion of mental health and wellness through out the university community. We understand that for many university students, there is a stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment; that one is weak, that counseling is only for depressed and suicidal people and ultimately going to counseling means that one is crazy. These stereotypes often serve as barriers to students receiving mental health treatment.
At the University Counseling Service, the outreach team, which includes the interns, work hard to dispel these erroneous ideas. Through utilization of outreach activities, we are dedicated to educate the university community in preventive mental health strategies. We attempt, in all of our outreach activities, to reduce the stigma that is often associated with receiving services in a counseling facility. Our typical annual activities include participation in the following:
- New Student Orientation. Each year the interns and the outreach team present a creative, entertaining and informative programs about how to make a healthy transition from high school to college and how to recognize if additional assistance is needed.
- Day and Evening Workshops, presented in classrooms, dormitories, student union, and other areas where students are. We address concerns related to stress, adjustment to the university, career choice and numerous other topics.
- Primary Prevention Activities, simultaneously offered with other mental health centers across the nation during National Depression Screening Day and National Alcohol Screening Day.
- Collaborative Services, offered when we join with other campus agencies for program presentations on various topics. Crisis Intervention Services, provided during times of tragedy. These services assist with restoring victims to pre-crisis equilibrium.
Notorious BBP (before break party), this event is a pre-spring break wellness fair. The purpose of this fair is to help our students to have a happy and healthy spring break by arming them with the necessary resources to make informed decisions during the break. Another purpose of the fair is to make students aware of wellness resources on campus and in the community. All of this takes place in an atmosphere filled with music, food and fun. Events like this help to remove the stigma of visiting a counseling service.
In the past, interns have worked with the outreach supervisor to create an outreach training manual containing information about mental health and programs can increase help seeking behavior. The members of the 2007 internship group helped the outreach supervisor to write a screenplay aimed at increasing help seeking behaviors in students by decreasing mental health stigma. The film entitled, LOST & FOUND: a college story was funded by a grant from SAMHSA and has been shown to hundreds of students and mental health professionals across the US.