Social Justice and Mental Health


Student Counseling Services staff believe that social justice and mental health are intimately intertwined. To effectively decrease the suffering caused by mental health concerns we must also work to increase equity and social justice. Living within a social system that is founded on and thrives upon oppression and discrimination is the root cause of interpersonal traumas, anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental health concerns - not only for people holding minoritized identities, but also for those holding privileged identities. For people with minoritized identities, the consequences of oppression within our society often are deadly. We directly advocate for the human rights of all our students, bringing to light systems of oppression and discrimination within our own practices, the practices of our field, university systems, and our communities locally, nationally, and globally. Within our practice, we strive to proactively educate ourselves and to actively integrate culture, identity, oppression and privilege into our therapeutic work. We recognize that each student holds multiple intersecting identities and create space for students to explore their whole selves as an integral part of addressing any mental health concerns.

Statements Regarding Social Justice Events


Central Washington University has no tolerance for discrimination.
  • Black Lives Matter

    June 9, 2020

    Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty of Central Washington University:

    As a staff we are saddened and outraged by the violent deaths of all the Black people who have lost their lives by the hands of law enforcement including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. In addition, we mourn the lives of Black people taken by individual citizens acting out of hatred for people of color. We recognize that these acts of violence have gone on for over 400 years and that racism is an inherent part of white culture upon which the United States was founded. The state-sanctioned violence and police brutality toward the Black community cannot be ignored for the sake of comfortability of white individuals or just trying to “play it safe” by choosing to be silent. These individuals were parents, siblings, friends and family, community members. Their lives will not be forgotten!

    We also condemn the systemic intolerance and injustice experienced every day by individuals of color such as Christian Cooper and untold others. Acts of racism, stereotyping, and discrimination are perpetrated in thousands of ways – not only in our nation, but in our own community of Ellensburg and at CWU. These daily acts cause the slow death of Black Americans through lack of access to fundamental rights of dignity and respect, as well as equitable access to education, healthcare, food, jobs, safe shelter, and systems of power.

    As employees of CWU, members of the City of Ellensburg, and fellow human beings, we declare:

    We support Black Lives Matter. We strongly oppose discrimination, hate, and intolerance.

    To our Black students, faculty and staff, we support you. We apologize for the times we have failed you in your time of need, either by creating barriers to even coming through our doors or, once you took the risk to come, by not hearing and supporting you. We are very sorry for the pain we caused you. Please know that you are important, cherished, and needed. We are committed as individuals and as an organization to taking responsibility, making positive change, and taking action on issues of social justice.

    Particularly, Student Counseling Services commits to:

    • Taking responsibility, individually and as an organization, for our participation in upholding white supremacy and discriminatory systems and practices.
    • Educating ourselves and doing the life-long work of becoming anti-racist as an organization, in our systems, our practices, and ourselves.
    • Actively examining the racist roots of our profession and how they shape our current practices at Student Counseling Services and developing policies and practices based in social justice.
    • Being open to and actively engaging in hard conversations, feedback, and emotions without trying to minimize, dismiss, or police the tone of victims and survivors of discrimination.
    • Speaking out on social justice issues and advocating for reform consistently and persistently, using our power and position to dismantle discriminatory and racist practices, policies, and systems at our university, in our town, in our state, across our nation, and globally. We commit to centering and elevating the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and other minoritized communities.
    • Collaborating with others across CWU and beyond who are committed to social justice work.
    • Developing and publicly posting, each year, a social justice action plan for Student Counseling Services.

    Student Counseling Services desires to be a place of solace and healing for all CWU students. We cannot be this place if we do not collectively acknowledge our privilege and take responsibility for our past and the impact it has on the present. We commit to creating a future steeped in justice and holding others accountable to do the same.

    The Staff of Student Counseling Services
    Central Washington University

  • Anti-Asian Pacific Islander Violence

    Student Counseling Services stands in opposition to racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and hate. At this moment, we stand in particular support of our Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander students, staff, faculty, and community members as anti-AAPI violence continues to rise in our country. We have seen a 170% rise in anti-AAPI violence since the on-sent of COVID-19, culminating in the recent murders of Asian-Americans in Georgia and California. Anti-AAPI violence, oppression, and discrimination have deep roots in the United States, running back to the experiences of the first Asian immigrants. Yellow Peril, the overthrow of the government of native Hawai’i, the colonization of the Philippines, Japanese Internment Campus, and blaming Asians for the creation and spread of COVID-19 are but a few examples. The insidious and deadly operations of white supremacy and systems of oppression must be rooted-out and dismantled, both individually and collectively. Mental health disorders should never be used to explain away acts of white violence.

    We want to be clear that what is pathological and intolerable is white supremacy, white violence, and the daily micro- and macro-assaults perpetrated upon the AAPI and all other marginalized communities. The need for spaces and relationships in which the fear, burden, anguish, anger, and a host of other experiences can be openly shared is human and the seeking of this support vital. We encourage you to find these spaces and relationships.

    Student Counseling Services seeks to provide this space and theses relationships. Please reach out to us at 509-963-1391 or Counseling@cwu.edu. Other areas of support include the Diversity and Equity Center, Wellness Center, Office of International Studies and Programs, and ASCWU. TimelyCare services include TalkNow, a 24/7/365 supportive video chat service open to all enrolled CWU students.

    Some national resources include:

    Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Tell Your Story

    Bystander intervention training to stop anti-Asian American and xenophobic harassment

    Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate (reporting)

    Asian American Psychological Association COVID-19 Related Resources

  • Pride Flag Burning

    2021

    To the LGBTQ+ Community:

    We are saddened and angered by the theft and burning of the SURC’s Pride flag and the broadcast of this hate crime over social media.

    Student Counseling Services opposes prejudice, discrimination, and hateful and intimidating acts. We recognize that in this month of Pride celebration, members of the LGBTQ+ community experience increased discrimination and targeting. We stand in support of our LGBTQ+ students, staff, faculty, and community members, their allies, and their loved ones.

    LGBTQ+ rights are human rights.

    Please know that SCS has a virtual support space open to all LGBTQ+ students Friday, June 11 from 1:00pm-3:00pm. Please drop by https://zoom.us/my/scstiffanysmith if you are interested. Or email Tiffany (she/her) at Tiffany.Smith@cwu.edu for more information.

    Additionally, any student wishing to process their experiences and feelings is encouraged to reach out to 509-963-1391, Counseling@cwu.edu, or through TimelyCare (register with your CWU email address).

  • Anti-Trans and Gender NonConforming Legislation

    2021

    To the Trans and Gender Non Conforming Student Community:

    Our hearts are broken by the news of additional regressive and repressive legislation recently passed in Tennessee, creating legal barriers for access to gender congruent bathrooms and locker rooms and also prohibits TGNC participation in girls sports. We know anti-trans legislation efforts are happening in multiple states right now that actively targets trans youth and adults.

    To our TGNC community, please know that we see you, we care about you, and you deserve access to gender affirming care.

    Always.
    No Exceptions.
    Trans rights are human rights.

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