Mental Health Matters Day to Focus on “Continuing the Conversation”

“Continuing the Conversation” is the theme for the 2018 Mental Health Matters Day scheduled for November 13 at A&M-Commerce.  J. Danée Sergeant, a survivor of trauma, homelessness and polysubstance abuse disorder who lives with bipolar disorder, will be this year's keynote presenter.

“The goals for the annual Mental Health Matters Day are to decrease the stigma associated with mental health issues, to increase the help-seeking behaviors for our students while highlighting the available resources and to encourage meaningful dialogue around mental health concerns,” said Dr. Nick Patras, director of the Counseling Center.

Since reaching out and receiving help for their mental health, Danée now empowers others to speak up, embrace who they are and seek the help they need so that they can survive and thrive in college and beyond.

“Y'all know my slogan: ‘Say something.' Speak out on behalf of someone who may not have found their voice yet. Let's lift each other up! Cliché, I know, but we need each other,” Danée said.

A graduate of Southern University at New Orleans, Danée is finishing their Masters of Social Work degree at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and plans to enter a career in research involving the LGBT population, specifically communities of color.

Danée has volunteered at Rainbow Heights Club, an organization that provides advocacy and support to LGBT-identified mental health consumers. They are also a talented spoken word artist who enjoys sharing their feelings safely within audiences of their peers.

The keynote presentation will take place at 2 p.m. in Ferguson Auditorium.

Campus Connect Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training will kick off the day and is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Rayburn Student Center Ambition A & B.  The training is an interactive and experiential program that focuses on enhancing knowledge, awareness and skills concerning student crises and student suicide. Dr. Tina Yang and Caleb Barnet from the Counseling Center will conduct the training.  Only 30 seats are available, and you must register through the Training and Development calendar to attend.

The day will conclude with a presentation at 6 p.m. on “You are of Sacred Worth:  Faith and Mental Health” hosted by Wesleyan Campus Ministry at 1504 Lee Street in Commerce. “Come to the Wesleyan to learn simple spiritual practices that help you reconnect to the presence of the divine within you.  The presentation will include progressive theology about mental health issues with affirming scriptures,” said the Rev. Brian Dierolf, campus pastor at Wesleyan Campus Ministry.

Dr. Patras encourages students, faculty and staff to attend these important events.

Joining the Counseling Center as campus sponsors of Mental Health Matters Day are Student Disability Resources and Services, Residential Living and Learning, Athletics, Campus Recreation and the Rayburn Student Center.

For more information, visit the Counseling Center website: