Nursing, Public Health and Health Sciences to Host Webinar on Racism and Mental Health

Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) face unique challenges that contribute to mental health disparities in their communities, from discrimination to inaccessibility, distrust, avoidance, and cultural stigma. Add to this the strains from a global pandemic and the increases in racial violence—people are suffering.

The live Zoom panel discussion “Racism and Mental Health: Why Are We Dying?” will bring together health, policy and diversity experts for a thought-provoking conversation on systemic racism and mental health. Scheduled for Thursday, May 20, from 4 to 5 p.m., the event is being presented by the College of Nursing and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, in partnership with the UMass Amherst Alumni Association.

Register  for the Zoom link.

During the webinar, UMass faculty and alumni experts will share their professional experience and research on the effects of racism on BIPOC mental health. The panelists will discuss the different forms of systemic racism, amplified mental health issues and suicide, needed improvements in healthcare delivery, research being conducted at UMass Amhers, and resources available to BIPOC communities.

The panel discussion will be introduced by Allison Vorderstrasse, dean of the College of Nursing, and moderated by Gabrielle Abelard ’97 ‘01MS, clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing and the founder and director of Abelard Psychotherapy.

Panelists include Khadijah Tuitt '20 DNP, certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and president of the Western MA Black Nurses Association; Luis Valdez, assistant professor in the department of health promotion and Policy at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences; and Linda Ziegenbein '13 PhD, academic and diversity advisor, and the interim director of the Office of Student Success and Diversity in the College of Natural Sciences.

The webinar is being held to mark Mental Health Awareness Month and is the first discussion in a new series “Mental Health: Policy, Practice, and Perception.