Mental Health Speakers Discuss Issues of Stigma, Inclusion and Diversity

By Madeline Pratte '19 and Lexi Caldwell '20

On Tuesday April 4th, 2017, the Psychology department of Saint Anselm College hosted the 4th Annual pic2Hechtl/Lasky Lecture Event.  The series is in honor of former faculty members Richard Hechtl and Julian "Jack" Lasky, who were leaders in Saint Anselm College's Psychology department, having devoted their careers to promoting wellness through basic and applied psychology research. This year, the department welcomed Hon. John Broderick, former Chief Justice of the New    Hampshire Supreme Court, as well as Dr. Lorena Estrada-Martinez, Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts-Boston, to discuss how the community can promote wellness for youth of color.

pic1Broderick is working to promote the “Campaign to Change Direction” to help spread awareness of mental health. The campaign is working to promote possible signs of mental illness, including personality changes, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care, and hopelessness. While talking about the campaign during the lecture, he said his understanding of mental illness comes from his own personal struggles with his own son. Broderick described how his son was brave for allowing him to use his story toHechtl event 2017_edited help promote his campaign. Broderick said that he had talked to many different age groups over the past year promoting the campaign. Using his son’s story within his talks about the campaign helped to make a connection with the people he was talking to. John Broderick believes that by spreading the simple concept of “Knowing the Five Signs” of mental illness, this will help bring awareness to the extreme issue of mental health stigma in a general sense.

pic3Dr. Lorena Estrada-Martinez is a social epidemiologist who is interested in making the “Campaign to Change Direction” more inclusive of and effective for communities of color. Dr. Estrada-Martinez commemorates the campaign for moving towards reducing the stigmas of mental illness and putting mental health at the center of health conversation, but still feels that the conversation needs to improve on inclusion across race, religion, ethnicity, and gender. Dr. Estrada-Martinez outlined three important factors that she believes will lead to conversation in all communities. First, addressing the Outcome and Audience Specificity. This addresses the need to intervene at all levels by examining the disparities of suicide behavior and mental illness. She also touched upon how the public service announcements on the Change campaign website are not as diverse as they could be and should be more representative of all cultures. The second factor is understanding the Social Determinants of Mental Health. This factor looks at the varying access to quality healthcare, good neighborhoods, and positive life experiences between the different communities. Dr. Estrada-Martinez exemplifies that pic4communities of color are not given the same opportunities to access these determinants as White communities. Communities of color often are more likely to be uninsured and have poor communication with their healthcare providers, experience different racial and ethnic socioeconomic inequality, and witness trauma during their childhood. The third factor is Program Evaluation. This involves looking at the goals and objectives of the programs, the activities used to complete those objectives, the methods to assess the effectiveness of the program, and the decision-making based on data, revision, and modification. She also suggested to engage in others’ work towards ending the mental illness stigma and including people of color in order to limit the growth of disparities in communities of color. Dr. Estrada-Martinez concluded by stating that there are many steps between raising awareness and seeing a reduction in the stigmas. These steps are going to be different in all communities because there is not one direct path to follow. There is not one campaign that will be able to address all of the problems with solutions and there is a need to have a political conversation of health equality to see a change.

Hearing from Dr. Lorena Estrada-Martinez and Hon. John Broderick was a great opportunity for the Saint Anselm College community to meet and network with leaders in the field of mental health.  We thank them for sharing their work and perspectives with us.

Psychology Professor receives Martin Luther King, Jr Award for Social Justice

By Lisette Labbe ‘18, Caroline Braverman, ‘18, and Dominic Bolton, ‘18

At the the fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner, Professor Loretta Brady ‘99 of the Psychology Department was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. lorettaMLKSocial Justice award along with student Donald Stokes ‘17. This year's student-led Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner in Davison Hall welcomed a record number of 300 attendees to hear poems and speeches from student-leaders. In addition, Donna Brazile, interim Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, served as the keynote speaker and shared about King's legacy and her experience continuing his life's work. Stokes and Brady were nominated by the Saint Anselm community based on their ability to inspire and lead others to compassion and courage and because their actions reflect Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s overarching message of eliminating discrimination, oppression, and injustice. Both Professor Brady and Donald Stokes truly embody what it means to be an Anselmian.

Professor Brady was a member of the Saint Anselm College Class of 1999 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She received her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Fordham University in 2001. Professor Brady continued at Fordham University and completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2006. At the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner, Professor Brady was the keynote speaker and delivered an impactful message about continuing Dr. King’s work and progress in the United States. As a tenured professor, Professor Brady has used her knowledge and skills to dedicate her time to areas both inside and outside of the classroom. She has designed and implemented events and taught courses focused on diversity. She also works with organizations which help the homeless, specifically those affected by trauma and addiction. As a professor, she challenges students with assignments that can link psychological theory to real world situations, making for enlightening and engaging classes. Professor Brady chooses class assignments, course projects, and research papers that have to do with real issues in the community to better equip her students to have the skills and knowledge necessary to work in the community after leaving Saint Anselm College.

Professor Brady’s research and work in and out of the classroom has worked on issues of social justice. As a psychologist, Professor Brady examines relationships between justice and psychological phenomenon such as the social psychological research on in-grouping and out-grouping. An in-group is a group (such as race or social class) to which a person psychologically identifies as being a member, while the out-group is a social group with which an individual does not identify as. In-grouping and out-grouping can lead to stigmatization, stereotyping, and discrimination. Professor Brady’s work focuses on highlighting the shared aspects across groups, such as values, interests, and language, as a way to reduce the negative effects of in-grouping and out-grouping. She is passionate about helping people thrive despite adversity and recognizes that resilience and having a full life is important for every individual.

“There are some paths I can influence, obviously it would be difficult to alleviate poverty by myself, but what I can do is start to bring groups together and  highlight some of those values and interest areas that are shared.”

As part of this work, Professor Brady is passionate about building a community for underrepresented populations. For example, every year, Professor Brady helps with a community event called “Women in Tech.” Those who participate are women who are in the tech industry, women who are curious about tech, and women who have been in the industry for many years but want to connect with the up-and-coming generation  and share what they’ve learned over the years. For on campus work, Brady likes to invite women of color entrepreneurs on campus to speak. She picks this demographic based on the fact that women of color are often underrepresented.

“I think it is important that students hear from a variety of voices.”

The Social Justice Award also reflects Professor Brady’s current work – capacity building translational research projects where she connects the evidence-based research with specific populations’ needs within the community. For example, she is working with two youth service organizations to help them apply for grant-funding and develop a training program to address staffing needs.

Within the Psychology Department, at Saint Anselm College, in New Hampshire, and within the areas of Psychology and Social Justice, Professor Brady has devoted a lifetime to working towards social inclusion and bringing different perspectives of those unrepresented to help build and grow communities. Her work is deeply valued and necessary for the progress of social justice. We are fortunate to have her in our department and in our classrooms and look forward to see what she will do next!

Welcome Back!

by Abigail Mark, ’18

Welcome back, Anselmians, and welcome, Anselmians who join us for your first year on the hilltop this fall! Just as importantly, though, welcome to the Psychology Department Blog. Whether you are a major, a minor or simply someone interested in the fascinating field we study, our blog aims to connect, inform, and engage our readers. Here, you’ll find articles written by professors and students with information about upcoming events, ongoing projects and research from our department, and interesting topics from our field. To start, here are some great opportunities for involvement in the Department of Psychology:

Psychology Ambassadors

The Psychology Ambassadors are a group of students who represent and are involved in the endeavors of the department. Ambassadors, clothed in spiffy, navy polos, can be seen chatting with potential majors at open houses, giving department tours ambassadors-2016-for-blogwith faculty members and attending dinners and talks with distinguished guest speakers. Pictured here are the newest inductees to the program: Olivia Griffin, Olivia Thornburg, Steph Conti, Taylor Francis, Lisette Labbe, Maria Soto, Caroline Braverman, Madeline Pratte and Alexis Caldwell, as well as returning ambassadors Richie Curran, Elizabeth Gallagher and Abby Mark. If you are interested in becoming a Psychology Ambassador, keep your eye out for an email announcing the next call for applications.

Psi Chi

Psi Chi is the International Honor Society of Psychology. It is considered both a psi-chi-logopersonal honor and a sizable academic achievement to be inducted. Members meet regularly throughout the semester and often attend conferences and annual meetings of organizations such as the New Hampshire Psychology Association, the New England Psychology Association, and even the American Psychological Association. Professor Finn and Professor Ossoff co-sponsor the Chapter on campus, and eligible students are contacted, usually in the spring semester, with information about induction and membership.

Psychology Club

A unique feature of the Psychology Club is that, unlike the organizations previously mentioned, it is open to anyone regardless of major or academic status. It’s aim is to involve the Saint Anselm College community in our department’s work, something which we hope one and all will feel welcome and encouraged to be a part of. The club meets regularly, organizes, and attends psychology-related events.

Guest Speakers

Keep an eye out for upcoming speakers on campus. It is no secret that the college community is constantly inundated with e-mails, but if you receive one regarding a guest speaker in Psychology on campus, don’t ignore it! Our very own Department Chair, Professor Ossoff, is scheduled to give an upcoming talk related to the ever-hot election topic. Distinguished psychologists are no stranger to the Saint Anselm College campus, and their talks are relevant, captivating and worth attending for both enjoyment and expanding your academic horizons.

Lastly, and importantly, please know that you are always welcome in our department. Barbara’s couches are a comfortable, quiet haven to do homework upon, Professor McKenna’s enthusiastic “Hello!” could be heard from a mile away, and Professor Rickenbach may, if you’re lucky, have baby Jack on her arm walking down the hall. Stop by and say hello sometime. We hope to see you involved in some of our programs and present at some of our exciting events. Lastly, pay a visit to our blog monthly for new posts which are sure to challenge you, interest you and excite you for this year in psychology to come!