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Southern University awarded grant to expand mental health support for students

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s been more than a month since Arthur Miller lost his baby girl, and the pain is still unbearable.

“It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination,” Arthur Miller said.

Arlana Miller died by suicide in May 2022. Miller was a freshman and former cheerleader at Southern University. In an extensive note posted to Instagram before she died, Miller detailed her struggles with mental health.

RELATED: Southern University still mourning after cheerleader dies by suicide, sparks conversation of mental health

Her unexpected passing sparked renewed conversations about the resources available for students on campus and in the community.

”I’ve heard people come up to me and say, because of what your daughter said in the letter, I immediately went and talked to my son and my daughter,” Miller said.

The Transformational Partnerships Fund awarded Southern University and seven other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) a special grant that’s designed to improve mental health support for students of color.

RELATED: Bastrop father of Southern cheerleader speaks out after suicide

Southern University will build a support system between other HBCU’s around the country with a commitment to address issues like anxiety, depression, and other forms of trauma.

”What that Grant seeks to do is educate our communities, to take away those taboos that might exist around seeking help and seeking assistance. Also, to make it as amenable and as convenient as possible for students that feel that they need support in that area,” said Dr. Carl Walton, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Southern University.

Outside of the university, they believe everyone can play a part in making a difference.

“If we can get a safe place for our children, for our young people to talk, we’ve got to be able to be willing to listen without being so judgmental about what you hear without always coming up with the answers,” Miller said.

Miller plans to start a foundation in his daughter’s honor where parents and kids can have a safe space to talk with each other about mental health.

The Nation Suicide Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255.

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