June 28, 2022

In Summer Search's sixth iteration of our Championing for Justice and Equity (CJE) series, we continue our discussion on racial inequity in the American healthcare systemturning our focus to Mental Health.

With everything going on in America right now, we know the need for equitable access to quality mental health care -- especially for our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities -- has never been greater.

As Stacey Thompson, Summer Search's 
National Director of Learning & Development, puts it:

"Right now our country is on fire and our nervous systems are stressed... Even though our system is challenged and taxed right now, we can all embody and hold safe spaces for the people around us. That is life-changing."

We invite you to watch the full conversation and read the selections and resources below. Stay tuned for our next event, Closing the Racial Wealth Gap (Oct. 25, 2022).

The Conversation

  • 00:00 – 02:33: Welcome – Jeff Dorigan

  • 02:34 – 06:52: Panel Introductions - Anika 'Niki' Hawkins

  • 06:53 – 16:37: Stacey Thompson

  • 17:41 – 30:55: Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman

  • 32:26 – 39:55: Dr. Vanessa Hintz

  • 40:45 – 56:32: Panel Discussion + Q&A

  • 56:33 - 58:00: Closing - Niki Hawkins
CJE Mental Health Speakers

Our speakers for 'Advancing Equity in Mental Health.'


Jeff Dorigan

Senior VP, Brown Brothers Harriman. Board Chair, Summer Search Boston.

"Mental health awareness is embedded in all aspects of our programing. Our students are navigating stressors at every milestone of their journey into adulthood... At Summer Search we don't shy away from difficult topics. It's important to show up together in talking openly about mental health."

Learn More: Read the American Psychological Association's report on teen stress and The New York Times piece on the lingering impact of school closures during the pandemic.

Anika 'Niki' Hawkins

Vice President of Community Engagement, 6abc, WPVI-TV.

"We must value Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in order to move forward."

Learn more: Explore the Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health.

Stacey Thompson

National Director of Learning & Development, Summer Search. Depth Mentoring Designer. Summer Search Bay Area Alumna.

"Where there’s conflict, if handled with care, we have the opportunity to deepen relationships. When we talk about identity, when we have the opportunity to more deeply understand ourselves and others, then we can start to build more liberating experiences and environments around us. When we talk (about) and support mental health, we have the opportunity to make sure people feel deeply cared about, resourced, and supported."

Learn More: See how Summer Search's Depth Mentoring approach has evolved to better support the mental health of our students and mentors.

Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman

Vice President of Research, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

"It's important to attend to cultural differences. There's no right answer here, there's no right culture here, but different cultures do address mental health differently. And we need to understand that and be aware of those differences so that we can gain equity in the conversation about mental health. The only way we can do that is by partnering with people in the community."

Learn More: Get the facts on suicide and explore ways to take action against suicide prevention.

Dr. Vanessa Hintz

Senior Director of EDI Engagement and Outreach, American Psychological Association.

[Referring to a quote from King T'Challa from the 2018 film, Black Panther] "We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."

Learn More: Check out Dr. Hintz's unique body of work connecting pop culture and psychology.

Dr. Vanessa Hintz referencing a quote from the film Black Panther.

Dr. Vanessa Hintz discussing a powerful quote from Black Panther and how it applies to mental health work.

Don't Miss Our Next CJE Event:

Advancing Equity in Mental Health Illustration

Our full 'Advancing Equity in Mental Health' event illustration. Click to view full-sized graphic.

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