Mental health has become a buzzword in educational spaces. I, a rising sophomore in college, was a firsthand witness to this striking transformation through my time in high school, writes Maleah Downton. From “mindfulness” to “self-care,” these words conquered and dominated school counseling activities and resources. Here in Kansas City, my high school did it all – assemblies, presentations, peer-groups, everything. Despite their efforts, I could never connect to these initiatives, she says.
Mental health at school never acknowledged me – my Blackness.
As a Black student in a predominantly white space, my racial identity was present and a large component of all my experiences within the school setting, both educationally and socially. Though my school was checking all the mental health support boxes, my experience existed outside of the boxes’ constraints, according to Downton.