Department of Kinesiology

School of Health and Human Sciences

Two EdD students attend the Behavioral Health Summit at Greensboro College

Recently, two students in our EdD program, Nicole Yard and Eric Tucker, attended the Behavioral Health Summit at Greensboro College, in Greensboro, NC. They both found the Summit to be extremely beneficial to their professional practice and educational endeavours.

The Summit was a platform for the Behavioral Health and Faith-based communities to converge on a number of topics related to the role religion and spirituality has on mental health. Inversely, it highlighted the importance of “person-centered” care that is central to mental health issues.  Many individuals with mental health conditions view spiritual connections as fundamental aspects of their overall treatment. When life stressors trigger mental health issues, treatment interventions that considers a faith-based perspective may directly influence compliance, “dis-ease” management, and psychosocial functioning. Relationships was central to the entire Summit. The connection to self and others becomes a reflection of relationships held to a Higher Power that must be integrated into healthcare.

Many healthcare professionals feel unequipped to address religious concepts, as much as religious leaders feel unqualified to attend to the mental health of parishioners. This Summit allowed both “worlds” to discuss the role of religion when faced with mental health questions. It also informed mental health specialists on how to utilize Places of Worship as a natural, community resource for clients lacking social supports, family connections, and/or feeling isolated. Places of Worship are especially critical to patients having mental health conditions who value spirituality.

It was important for me to attend this Summit as a student of Kinesiology, and as a Behavioral Health specialist. I found it fascinating that the clergy and behavioral health community equally valued physical activity for improving health and wellness. While religious beliefs or views on therapy may vary, the importance of being physically active was consistently aligned. The Summit further strengthened my position that exercise is a viable adjunctive therapy for some mental health conditions. It provided additional insight how I may integrate this culturally relevant concept into clinical practice and as a consideration to issues related to coursework.”

– Eric Tucker

“Mental health is an issue that affects all people in all aspects of life. It is very easy for people to write off behavioral and emotional issues as negative personal traits and fail to see the suffering and pain that is causing those issues. As an Athletic Trainer, I am in a position where I work with a wide variety of healthy, active people. It is partially my job to recognize when seemingly healthy athletes are having a problem and connect them with the appropriate resources to help them. As I said, it is only partially my job. Teachers, coaches, parents, religious leaders, friends and other family members also need to know how to recognize when someone they care for or work with has an issue with which they need help. The Behavioral Health and Faith Summit was an amazing opportunity to learn more about mental health and available resources, including faith-based healing. This was not a conference that was limited to mental health care workers, there were also students, teachers, advisors, religious leaders, caregivers, as well as friends and family of persons suffering from mental health issues. It was a great forum for people to ask questions and receive the appropriate support.

This summit addressed issues that are fundamental to daily life and functioning. As was said repeatedly at the conference, everyone, everywhere, has come in to contact with someone suffering from mental health issues. What a different experience it could have been for everyone involved had someone recognized the issue for what it was and helped that person connect with supportive resources. I valued the summit for the positive cultural encounters it created as well as the invaluable information it presented. I plan to invite the students in the Athletic Training Program I work with to come with me to the summit next year. It will allow them an experience I can’t create in my classroom.”

– Nicole Yard

Some more information from Greensboro College about the Summit:
Some of you may have missed our opening video. Here is the link to that, use as you please for educational purposes and thanks for being a part of Greensboro College’s Summit.OPENING VIDEO