The Steve Fund Knowledge Center is a resource for expert information about the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. Read more

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Knowledge Center Contents

White Papers

Volpe-Steve Fund white paper

What We Know About the Mental Health of Students of Color during College

A Review and Call to Action
Vanessa V. Volpe, M.A.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

ABSTRACT

With the combined increased mental health needs of today’s college students and more students of color attending college than ever before, the mental health thriving of college students of color remains a key issue for researchers and practitioners. While college may be a stressful time for many individuals regardless of their racial/ethnic background, students of color often face additional unique risks to their mental health thriving during college. Therefore, the aim of the present paper is twofold: 1) to survey what is known both about the mental health challenges and strengths of college students of color, and 2) to provide new directions and recommendations for treatment professionals, college personnel, and institutions in supporting the mental health thriving of college students of color.

This work was supported by the Steve Fund to foster research on the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color.

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Steve Fund parents guide

What Parents of College Students of Color Need to Know

By Dr. Annelle B. Primm, M.D., M.P.H.
Medical Expert, The Steve Fun

Often when young people of color move on to college, there are significant changes not only in their lives, but in the lives of their parents as well. While they navigate new territories, parents and other family members must navigate new ways to assist them in their journey. Having knowledge and strategies to be informed and to assist this exciting but sometimes challenging phase in young people’s lives can make a fundamental difference in this experience.

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Expert presentations

Marginality, Belonging, and Success: The University Experience and the Mental Health of Students and Emerging Adults of Color

The university environment, quality of the university experience, and the “feel” of the campus community can have sizable effects on the mental well-being of young people of color. Speakers in this panel will address the forces at play within the university environment, the scope and scale of the challenges they present, and their impact on the adjustment and overall success of aspiring young people of color during their college years and early adulthood. Experts will compare the distinctive mental health challenges of the college years and environment to those of other life stages and settings. Experiences of marginality and belonging and how they contribute to overall well-being of students of color will also be examined.

The presentations in the videos below were made as part of a panel at the 2015 Young, Gifted, & @Risk Conference, organized by the Steve Fund and Stanford University.

Is making it to college enough? Masculinities, stress, and success among black college men.

Is making it to college enough? Masculinities, stress, and success among black college men.

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By: Daphne C. Watkins, PhD, University of Michigan School of Social Work and School of Medicine

By: Teresa LaFromboise, Ph.D., Professor of Education. Stanford University.

By: Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland, Ph.D., President of San Jose City College

How Culture, Mindset, and Identity Shape and Affect Mental Health Among Young Adults

Speakers in the videos present their cutting-edge research in affective science and social psychology that demonstrates the ways in which our cultures, subjective mindsets, and identities shape young people’s emotions, feeling states, and experiences of mental health and well- being. Cultural differences in how we ideally want to feel, as well as what we want to avoid feeling, can powerfully shape young people’s emotional experiences and responses as well as psychological health. Likewise, changes in our subjective mindsets, or the lenses through which we perceive and interpret our experiences, can shape how young people experience and respond to emotional states—for example, viewing stress as something that either enhances or debilitates your performance, i.e., your “stress mindset,” can influence one’s behavioral responses to and physiological experiences of stress. Implications for supporting the psychological and emotional health of young adults and young adults of color in elite college environments will be discussed.

The presentations  were made as part of a panel at the 2015 Young, Gifted, & @Risk Conference, organized by the Steve Fund and Stanford University.

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By: Virgil Moorehead, Psy.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Counseling and Psychological Services, Stanford University

Promising Strategies for Mental Health on Campus and Beyond for Young People of Color

The presentations below address the unique obstacles to mental health literacy and help-seeking among young people of color on campus, and the need for engagement by college leaders, peers, families, communities, and other key stakeholders in promoting their health and well-being. This panel will also discuss key elements of current approaches and practices aimed at helping young people of color overcome mental health challenges in university settings and beyond, sharing key learnings and implications for next steps. The presentations highlight innovative mental health programming, and offer suggestions for addressing the mental health crisis moving forward. The impact of tensions and events in the broader society upon the emotional well- being of college students of color is also examined.

The presentations in the videos below were made as part of a panel at the 2015 Young, Gifted, & @Risk Conference, organized by the Steve Fund and Stanford University.

Strategies that Promote Mental, Emotional, and Academic Well Being

By: Jeanne Manese, Ph.D., Director of the Counseling Center (University of California-Irvine, Counseling Center Goals in Action (GIA)

Relational processes in shaping underrepresented students’ academic and health outcomes

By: Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Ph.D., Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California-Berkeley

Maintaining wellness for students of color in racially and academically stressful environments

The presentations below were made during a lunch-and-learn event organized by the Steve Fund at Harvard University in 2015.

Understanding and overcoming challenges to the mental health of high-aspiring young people of color.

By: Annelle B. Primm, M. D., MPH, Senior Psychiatrist Advisor, Urban Behavioral Associates

Bridge over troubled waters: Maintaining wellness for students of color in racially and academically stressful environments

By: Dr. Kevin Cokley, professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Department of African and African American Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin.

Webinars

Steve Fund Webinars

The mental health needs of high-achieving students of color

An introduction by Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble, Ph.D., MHSc.

The Impostor Phenomenon

An introduction by Dr. Kevin Cokley

Minority status and mental health: Increasing awareness and prevention.

By Dr. Daphne Holt, MD, PhD