Student Counseling Center

Past Awareness and Prevention Topics

HU Gets $300,000 Grant to Boost Services, Advocacy Against Domestic Violence

The Hampton University Student Counseling Center was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the Office of Violence Against Women. The funding was provided by the Grants to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating, Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking on Campus Program. The projects are designed to enhance victim services, implement prevention and education programs, and other elements of eliminating dangers associated with campus violence.

"We are honored by this opportunity to educate and influence our students to understand fully the nature and dimensions of violence against women; the differences among healthy, unhealthy and criminally violent relationships; the nature of true consent to sexual engagement at every stage of the encounter, including how to ask for, give or not give, and appropriately accept the decision," said Dr. Linda Kirkland-Harris, the Student Counseling Center director and project director.

HU has been proactive in similar campus efforts, including a "Red Flag Campaign" event hosted by the University Title IX office Oct. 16. The event was designed to help students identify warning signs of potentially abusive relationships. Title IX Coordinator Sonja Vega is this project's co-director.

As part of this project, the required target population each year is new, first year and transfer students; however, there will be campus-wide education and prevention outreach. Ten Student Peer Advocates will play key roles in the outreach efforts, Kirkland-Harris said. Two community partners, the Center for Sexual Assault Survivors and Transitions Family Violence Services, will provide both primary and secondary prevention services in the forms of campus-wide education programming and direct service to victim survivors.

Administrators said the grant will also help the less obvious victims of sexual assault and violence.

"Although it is a grant on behalf of women's safety, we know that men also are victims and survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence and stalking, and hope that our efforts will produce a secondary benefit for them as well," Kirkland-Harris said.

For more information contact 757.727.5617.

The Student Counseling Center, 2nd Floor Armstrong Slater, 757-727-5617
The Student Health Center, 55 East Tyler Street, 757-727-5315
The Office of the University Chaplain, 100 Clark Hall, 757-727-5340

To File a Report:
Hampton University Police 757-727-5300
Office of the Title IX Coordinator 757-727-5493

Faculty Spotlight - Dr. Linda Kirkland-Harris

On Sept. 18, Hampton University's own Dr. Linda Kirkland-Harris, director of the HU's Student Counseling Center had the honor of being a panelist at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational institute, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation aims to help improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African Americans and other underserved communities.

The panel, which was sponsored by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (Missouri) was on a topic Kirkland-Harris was familiar with, alcohol consumption/ binge drinking among African-American students.

Recently working with the Virginia Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control with "Operation Undergrad 1023-2013", a grant in which they entitled "SOBER CHILL", Kirkland-Harris spoke on the many collaborations that took place with the university on regards to alcohol education. "SOBER CHILL", explained by Kirkland-Harris had 5 objectives: To provide face to face fun without the 'aid' of alcohol, to develop engaging formats for alcohol education, to create a culturally competent educational DVD, to promote awareness of HU's Police Department's (HUPD) use of AlcoSensors, and to reduce by 25 percent the number of alcohol offenses recorded by HUPD.

Many may think that alcohol consumption is not that big of an issue, but the abuse of alcohol in younger communities is getting more serious.

"With regard to the younger community, published research consistently indicates that throughout the country, first year (followed by second year) students are most at risk of alcohol abuse/binge drinking, explained Dr. Kirkland-Harris."

"In addition, the most vulnerable time in the academic year is the first few weeks because of the combination of being released from parental monitoring and a lot of free and low pressure time on students' hands. Young ladies are of special concern because older male students and community members "prey" (student language) upon their naiveté and desire to demonstrate "I know what I'm doing" leading them to dangerous decision-making."

Other advocates on the panel included Dr. Shaquille O'Neal who has partnered with the Century Council (a group of distillers fighting drinking drunk driving and underage drinking) for the purpose of reducing binge drinking among young people. Many of you may be thinking "Shaq, An advocate of stopping underage drinking? Really?" O'neal has seen that social media and comedy are effective strategies for conveying prevention education and on the panel displayed a clip of a Godfrey the Comedian video clip. He wants to reach younger adults with an "It's not ok" message.

Others on the panel included, Ralph Blackman, director of the Century Council (alcohol education) and Dr. Linda Loubert of Morgan State University, director of a study on binge drinking at HBCUs.

-Mechala Simpson '15

Hampton University Peers In Prevention (HU-PIP)

2011-2012 HU-PIP with Actor and AIDS Activist, Laman Rucker

2011-2012 HU-PIP with Actor and AIDS Activist, Laman Rucker

Hampton University Peers In Prevention (HU-PIP) is a group of student peer educators who work with both the Counseling and Health Centers on Alcohol, HIV and Hepatitis prevention. It was established in 2011-2012 through a Minority Serving Institutions Substance Abuse, HIV and Hepatitis Prevention Initiative sub-contract from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It is comprised of upperclass students who are selected based upon application, interview, social clearance and minimum 2.5 GPA. HU-PIP is best known for participation in assisting the implementation of mass HIV and selected STIs testing in November for the Magic Johnson Foundation's Point Forward Day, in December for the National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and in February for the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The concluding 2012 awareness and education program, was a Jeopardy© type of game called "Final Exam" with guest host, Laman Rucker, who, in addition to being a TV and film actor, is a dedicated HIV/AIDS activist.

Out of the Darkness Community Walk

Peer Counselors carry the banner at the 2013 Out of the Darkness walk.

Peer Counselors carry the banner at the
2013 Out of the Darkness walk.

In academic year 2007-2008, the Student Counseling Center launched the "Keep on Living" Suicide Prevention Initiative with funding from the HBCU-Center for Excellence in Behavioral Health at Morehouse School of Medicine. While we have continued to be engaged in prevention since then, this year we have increased focused attention. The American College Health Association's 2011 National College Health Assessment (ACHA–NCHA), a national survey of college students at 2- and 4-year institutions, revealed that approximately 30% of students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" at some time in the past year, and more than 6 % reported seriously considering suicide, with about 1% having attempted in the previous year. Depression is a major risk factor for suicide, which is the third leading cause of death for teens and young adults ages 15 to 24.

Peer Counselors walk through the Curtain of Cranes

Peer Counselors walk through the Curtain of Cranes

With this in mind, we kicked off the HU Peer Counselor Organization's 2013-2014 Fall training weekend by participating in the Hampton Roads 2013 Out of the Darkness Community Walk at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach. The annual Walk's mission is to bring the treatable disease of depression and the tragedy of suicide into the light, and is for anyone who has been touched by depression or suicide. The program included informative and moving personal testimonies of personal experiences with depression, suicidal intentions and surviving the suicide of a loved one. There was a wall of remembrance covered with photographs and tributes to friends and family who died by suicide, games, drawings, group photos, entertainment, instruction on making origami cranes – the international symbol of hope and healing – refreshments, and, of course the walk around the Mt. Trashmore park and lake. In addition, clinicians were on hand to assist individuals with screening for depression.

We have posted photos of Peer Counselors walking through the curtain of cranes – the starting point of the walk, and holding their banner.

Meet Dora

This year, we have again been funded by the HBCU-CFE to introduce a student- suicide prevention program developed by the Depression OutReach Alliance called The DORA Campus Program. Our 18 trained peer educators, known as DORA Helpers, are ready and equipped to help eliminate the stigma associated with seeking mental health counseling and to provide a safe atmosphere for at-risk students to express their needs. The Program is conducted via hour-long small group information and discussion sessions facilitated by the Helpers: Deshaun Adams, Prayer Jackson, Jazmine Brown, Sean Johnson, Patience Canty, Shawnna Mencias, Brianna Crawford, Asia Miller, Vincent Dillon, Barbara Nyuguna, Marissa Edwards, Lesley Robinson, Patrice Francis, Heather Scriven, Sunny Harris, Keira Weldon and Terrance Wright. Staffs Counselors are on-hand during the sessions, and referrals to the Counseling Center are assisted for those students who acknowledge being in need of and ready for professional help.

The CFE selected us to participate in the 2014 Dr. Lonnie E. Mitchell Behavioral Health Policy Academy. This prestigious invitation will allow two staff members and four DORA Helpers to travel to Atlanta to attend the 2 ½ day Institute from April 4-6, 2014. We will have an opportunity to present our prevention efforts to the other participating colleges and universities, and learn how enhance our strategies to maximize our impact on the student body. To contact the 2013-2014 DORA Helpers or to learn more about how you can participate in DORA please call the Student Counseling Center at 757-727-5617.

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