Last week, SGA highlighted a desperate need for a counselor dedicated to the serving students of color at UVM.
First-year SGA senator Carter Yee brought up a resolution calling on Counseling and Psychiatry Services to hire a mental health specialist to work specifically with students of color.
We agree with Yee when he said that cultural competency is key to success in mental health counseling. Racism is a public health issue.
The Center for Health and Wellbeing stated last year that the University community needs to “do better in dismantling the racism and white supremacy that is embedded in our culture.”
They proposed that the University could aid in the struggle by acknowledging and breaking down prejudice in health care.
Yee’s call for a counselor for the Mosaic Center for Students of Color is a great way for the University to prove its commitment to justice for all UVM community members.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, cultural competency is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures.
In a health care setting, cultural competency is important because it affects how well the mental health provider can meet patient needs.
In order for a patient to get the highest quality care, their counselor needs to be able to understand their experiences, beliefs and values, and how those are culturally rooted.
Some members of SGA, in discussions around the resolution, were worried that this was too specific of an ask for the University.
The Cynic has written before about the University-wide need for more mental health counselors, citing long wait times for counseling.
But we fully support this specific hire because students of color have a more immediate need.
They face a public health issue that white people at UVM are not.