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FAMU Psychologist Returns from Ferguson, Missouri After Offering Trauma Support to Community
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) psychology professor Jackie Collins Robinson, Ph.D. traveled to Ferguson, Mo. earlier this month to volunteer to assist local children and community members in dealing with the aftermath and subsequent trauma surrounding the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Dr. Robinson, who is a licensed psychologist and licensed school psychologist in Florida, spent four days in Ferguson. Her visit was inspired by an invitation from the president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists to help the organization meet the emotional needs of impacted adults and children in the Ferguson area through conducting wellness workshops.
“The St. Louis Chapter is one organization responding to the people of Ferguson’s demand for trauma related interventions,” Robinson said. “I was happy to lend my skills to this effort.”
Robinson’s time in Ferguson was focused on providing intermediation for impending social and emotional distress within the local schools and community.
“The shooting of Michael Brown, and the related protests and marches – some of which have contained violence – could potentially lead to an increase in trauma related behavioral and emotional problems among adults and children in that community,” Robinson said. “I met with different people and offered my support to help them through what they are experiencing in that community.”
She added, “My hope is that through the support of community members and professionals, the children there will not suffer increased behavioral problems and decreased school performance in the aftermath of the violence.”
According to Robinson, she hopes the time she spent in Ferguson will serve two purposes: to contribute to the healing process for those traumatized by the tragedy and to demonstrate to FAMU students what it truly means to be committed to the community public service.
“While I was there I met and observed children who have to pass by the site of Michael’s death every day. That consistent reminder can impact them in ways that could affect them mentally and even in their day-to-day behavior, such as not trusting those in authority or being afraid to go to sleep with the lights off. I felt it was my duty to use my experience in psychology to reach some of the people who may be forever changed by what happened in Ferguson.”
FAMU President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D. expressed her support of Robinson’s efforts and affirmed the University’s commitment to fostering an academic environment that encourages students to explore careers in the social sciences.
“Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is proud of the guidance and insight Dr. Robinson offered to a community that has experienced very unfortunate events in the past weeks,” said President Mangum. “The events surrounding the death of Michael Brown underscores the need for institutions like FAMU to continue to provide training for future social scientists, in order to ensure our communities have the support needed to be healthy and productive.”
Robinson currently serves as the director of the Center for Ethnic Psychological Research and Application (CEPRA), and is a nationally certified mental health first aid instructor.