Texas College Aims To Help Every Student With Mental Health, Trauma

By David Konow 07/09/19

Paul Quinn College is taking a progressive approach to mental health that leaves no student behind. 

Texas college students

With stress, anxiety and depression a common struggle among college students, there is more focus now on mental health in higher education than ever before. Now Paul Quinn College in Texas is working hard to make sure that their students have their mental health needs covered.

As Dallas News reports, every student who comes into Paul Quinn College is encouraged to meet with a counselor for a mental health assessment, and the school has a free mental health clinic that students can visit as well.

Dr. Stacia Alexander is the director of Paul Quinn’s mental health clinic, and she tells new students at the school, “We’re here for you. For whatever feelings you struggle with—with whatever you hide from everybody else that you think means nothing, that you think makes you out of your mind. We are here to talk to you about these feelings.”

Setting Students Up For Success

Paul Quinn College often takes in a lot of students who come from underprivileged backgrounds and are trying to find their place in the world. Several years back, the school’s president, Michael Sorrell, tried to figure out why the school’s graduation rate was so low. “It took us a while to understand that that was a product of trauma,” Sorrell says.

The first years of college can be especially stressful. You’re on your own for the first time, you want to succeed, and it can be hard to balance your scholastic, professional and personal workload.

Dr. Jessica Moore, a mental health professional who works at Paul Quinn, recalled that the subject of mental health didn’t come up much when she was in college. But today, “the students are good at letting us know the things that they need. They are quick to say, ‘OK, we need to talk about trauma or peer relationships or stress management.’ And then we all work on an event or program to address that.”

Dr. Alexander has freely given out her cell phone number for students to reach out and contact her, and with this new openness about mental health at Paul Quinn, her phone has been buzzing frequently from students looking for help.

“The thing we’re trying to get students to understand is that [their] traumas are real. And they do impair or affect how you process daily information. And if you continue to ignore that, you’re going to continue to be impaired and not reach your full potential.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.