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Drexel Students Hold Conference To Erase Mental Health Stigma

December 10, 2010

The Behavioral Health Counseling (BHC) undergraduate department in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions held a conference on Saturday December 5th, for high school students to explore ways of ending mental health stigma in schools and communities. In coordination with the Los Angeles based “Lets Erase The Stigma” (LETS) organization, participants focused on reducing the negativity high school teens have toward mental illness so that those in need of mental health care will feel more comfortable seeking help.

Students from high schools in Philadelphia  and surrounding counties, and as far away as Virginia, left the conference with a better understanding of the effect of mental health stigma on their peers. They were provided resources to be used in establishing LETS clubs within their own schools. Through skills learned in workshops, students also left empowered to take leadership roles in promoting an end to the stigma.

The student participants will continue to be supported in their anti-stigma efforts by the LETS organization and the BHC program faculty and students. Plans are already underway for a second BHC/LETS conference to be held this coming spring. Among the agenda items for the spring conference will be reports on progress made in the various high schools represented in this most recent conference to end stigma.

Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling undergraduate program integrates biological, psychological, and social sciences with evidence-based treatment technologies to provide a uniquely relevant education for students interested in pursuing behavioral health care careers. Course work in this highly innovative Bachelor of Science degree program develops “real-world” skills in individual and group counseling, psychiatric rehabilitation, addictions treatment, assessment and treatment planning, and family-focused mental health services.