It’s well known that there is a stigma attached to accessing mental health in the Black community. We can even say that this is true for the BIPOC community. One way to combat this is through increasing awareness. In Episode 58, we get to talk to Dr.Brandon Gamble, the Dean at Oakwood University. Dr.Gamble, an educational psychologist, has worked to develop the leadership capacity of Black youth, specifically males, for decades. We talk about the value of developing safe spaces for youth to foster decision making.
You can listen to Episode 58 the Don’t Mix In Podcast here:
The research has told us time and time again that African American teenagers tend to underutilize mental health services. Dr.Gamble de-mystifies mental health and explains how we can go from perceiving youth as “at-risk” to leaders in progress. Get ready – This is definitely worth a listen.
“In a space where people aren’t really into helping they have to really create and become their own generators of new spaces to create new ideas”Dr.Brandon Gamble
Dr.Gamble explained how he de-stigmatized mental health through building community and resiliency with Black Youth. He poses the question- “What is right with Black people?” What’s working.
Also, he discussed the Guide Right program and it’s impact on his students. Here are themes from the interview:
Developing Internal Resources
Dr.Gamble emphasized the importance of his students developing an internal locus of control. Locus of control is basically our beliefs about the “causes of his or her experiences and the factors to which that person attributes success or failure” (Psychology Today). For example, Dr.Gamble explained that he he taught the students how they could solve problems to “help them become leaders also lead in finding resources for themselves”.
Creating a Safe Space for Leadership Capacity
Providing his students with a safe space was another key aspect of Dr.Gamble’s work with Black youth. Additionally, he mentioned how it began as an idea on how to “help them be better decision makers how could we provide a safe space for that leadership capacity to germinate”.
Accessing Mental Health Support Prior to a Crisis
Likewise, we discussed how Dr.Gamble supports his students in becoming familiar with accessing resources prior to a crisis. For example, he will walk through the process of calling an agency with a student. This ensures that the student will be at ease with getting help when or if a crisis occurs. This process de-mystifies the process of seeking mental health supports. I remember doing this for a student with him. Dr.Gamble was my school psychology intern supervisor circa 2000 in Long Beach, California. I also talked about mental health, for LGBTQ+, in a previous post here.
Building the Habit of Accessing Health Care
Similarly, Dr.Gamble explained how he encourages his students to access health care early. He mentioned that Black men tend to not seek health care. Therefore, building the habit of going to the doctor while his students are young is critical.
What’s Your Overcoming Story
We close the episode with Dr.Gamble posing a the question again – “What is right with Black people?” and how can we better understand overcoming major obstacles and odds to provide that to the next generation. In other words, “What’s your overcoming story?”
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