Can We Reduce Stigma in Mental Health?

I was fortunate to participate in a panel discussion at the University on how to reduce stigma in mental health. It is part of their ongoing Big Questions series in collaboration with Minnesota Public Radio. I had a fun time and I think lots of important issues were raised. I believe the podcast (News with Tom Weber) will be available to listen here

The stigma associated with mental health issues can prevent people from accessing the help they need. As part of the ongoing Big Questions series at the University of Minnesota, four panelists met on Dec. 5th to discuss with host Tom Weber ways to move beyond stigma in mental health.
  • Victoria Blakeborough, University of Minnesota senior, student advisor and past president of Active Minds, a student group at the University of Minnesota working to raise mental health awareness
  • Glenn Hirsch, psychologist and director of Student Counseling Services at the University of Minnesota
  • Richard Lee, professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota
  • Abeer Syedah, student body president at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and a senior studying political science, gender studies, and sociology




Familee lab dinner and karaoke

End of the semester means time to eat and stress relief with song. Added bonus, my 84 year old dad was in town for the fun! And first time Melissa sang karaoke. 

Big Questions: How do we move beyond stigma in mental health?

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Big Questions is a series brought to you by the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts and MPR News. This series will foster thoughtful discussion through a liberal arts lens, bringing multiple and diverse perspectives to bear on today’s pressing questions. Moderated by MPR News host, Tom Weber, the event will feature a discussion centered around the following question:

How do we move beyond stigma in mental health?

Discussions about mental health often focus on the role of stigma in preventing people from accessing mental health resources. Join us as we explore how we can move beyond stigma in our efforts to address mental health concerns, improve access to mental health services, and enhance well being for all.


  • Victoria Blakeborough, student advisor, Active Minds and College of Liberal Arts undergraduate
  • Glenn Hirsch, PhD., assistant vice provost and director, Student Counseling Center, Office for Student Affairs
  • Richard Lee, professor, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
  • Abeer Syedah, president, Minnesota Student Association and College of Liberal Arts undergraduate

Big Questions is free but registration is required.

My talk on international adoption at my alma mater – VCU

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to be speak about my research at my alma mater РVCU Рas part of their Distinguished Speaker Series. It was  wonderful trip down memory lane and a great chance to meet with scholars and students in the Department o Psychology. Click on the photo or go to to view the talk. Fast forward to around 5:30 to begin my talk.



6:24 time mark is an excellent example of the needed conversation in inter-racial relationships/marriages. In my research on these issues, it is clear that many (if not most) inter-racial couples (particularly involving a White partners) do not have or know how to have constructive conversations about racial differences in the family

#ThisIs2016 video

ITR Symposium on Precision Healthcare

Fourth year graduate student Xiang Zhou presented his State Fair research at the local ITR symposium on precision healthcare and was selected as one of the best posters. He received a travel award for his great work. 

Second year graduate student Christine Wu also presented her first year research project on the relationship between pubertal timing, discrimination and ethnic identity development. 

Minnesota State Fair study

My graduate and undergraduate students collected data on parenting motivations for five straight days at the State Fair. The study was titled simply, “Unpack your parenting, Get a backpack!” It was a big hit with over 850 participants completing the survey. People really wanted those UMN drawstring backpacks! Can’t wait to begin analyzing the data and hopefully showcasing our newly validated parenting measure. Great work, Xiang and Christine, making it all a success.