New Club Prioritizes Black Mental Health

When Weinberg Sr. Jem Feuilladieu was a college freshman, he dreamed of Black Northwestern students “thriving” rather than just “surviving” on campus.

this fall, they founded the Black Health and Wellness Collaborative to make those dreams come true.

According to its mission, BHWC aims to provide a space of discourse, support, and resources for black students. The club’s weekly meetings at the Black House include discussion rooms, workshops on topics such as the history of black mental health, and collaborations with organizations such as the Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators and the Center for Awareness, Response and Education.

After noticing the stigmatization of black mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, Feuilladieu brought the idea for BHWC to a group chat of black NU students in the spring.

“My goal was just to create a community,” they said. “I didn’t have too many details in mind about what I wanted that to look like, but I wanted a space where we could have support and Black joy.”

SESP Senior Nala Bishop she said immediately responded Feuilladieus message, and the two spent the spring and summer working with other interested students to build the organization.

As the organization’s queer and trans director, Bishop works to prioritize the mental health of black queer and trans students.

“It’s still being molded into the role I envision, but at the moment (it looks like) it’s a really good support system,” Bishop said.

Bishop hopes to partner the group with Howard Brown Health and smallWORLD Collective, two Chicago-based organizations rooted in supporting queer and transgender people.

The board of directors, led by Feuilladieu co-chairs and Weinberg senior Nathalie Boadi, works together to schedule meetings, which Feuilladieu says usually draw between seven and 13 people.

Feuilladieu said BHWC plans to continue holding discussions and workshops, including a potential Spirituality and Wellness Fair during Winterkwartier.

Weinberg junior and Curriculum Development and Marketing Chair Joelle Moore proposes and curates meeting themes. Moore also manages the club’s social media, which includes weekly infographics on topics such as myths and facts surrounding ADHD.

“All the meetings are my favorites just because people show up and talk about things,” said Moore. “I’ve never been in a space like this before, where people as a collective are so willing to be vulnerable and share things that have affected them.”

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