Health & Fitness

BOG Calls for More Funding for Mental Health Counseling and Safety at Florida Universities


Written by: Corenda Bell

November 20, 2017

While mental health and safety have become bigger issues, the Board of Governors is calling for more money to help fund mental health services and safety within the state universities.

There are eight public universities in Florida that are understaffed with mental health counselors, according to BOG, which oversees the State University System. Both Florida A&M University and Florida State University have nearly 2,000 students per counselor.

The International Association of Counseling Services recommends that there is one professional staff to every 1,000 students. Currently, at FAMU there are five full-time clinical staff including a director.

During the BOG meeting held on November 8-9, university representatives highlighted plans for increasing law enforcement and mental health services on campus as part of a statewide attempt to ensure student safety and access to resources they may need.

The State University System Counseling Services has identified a legislative budget request for the hiring of more mental health counselors as well as psychologists, prevention specialists, and office staff for Florida universities.

“In September the counsel for student affairs presented a Legislative Budget Request to increase campus counseling services, to expand student mental health and behavior health coverage of the system,” Norm Tripp told fellow BOG members. “That budget request was approved by the board and submitted to the Legislature.”

According to a BOG document, the LBR for seven new positions at FAMU is totaled at $602,310. As for FSU, the budget request is $1,886,130 for 18 new positions.

The goals for FAMU are to hire additional staff, provide on-call telephone and self-help services to directly assist students in their mental health needs to reach academic goals. Also, FAMU wants to provide and reach out to students so that they can thrive without the need for treatment.

The Mental Health Counseling Enhancement plan for FAMU requires bringing on one professional psychologist from 2018-2019. FSU has a Mental Health Counseling Implementation Plan to hire six additional professional counselors each year from 2017-2021.

“The SUS mental health workshop that was called by the counsel of student affairs and all of the directors of our counseling center of the state. They met in October at Florida Atlantic University for the primary purpose of talking about how we can be more proactive on addressing mental health issues on our campuses,” Corey Kane, Vice President for Student Affairs at Florida Atlantic University, explained. “And reaching out to our secondary schools and elementary partners to provide some tools for them as well for we realize mental health issues don’t occur just in college, but prior to students coming to college.”

The need for more investment in mental health services is because professional services have become more critical for universities and more importantly, student success. According to the Board of Governors document, the American College Health Association states that over 5o percent of college students reported overwhelming experiences of anxiety in the last year.

“A lot of mental health issues come while students are in college,” Emerald Bell, a senior elementary education major at FAMU, said. “I think the school should have mental health outreach programs so that people with mental health issues won’t feel like an outcast or ashamed.”

More effective and professional mental health programs at universities could prevent any mental health issues for students after college.

In November 2014, FSU alum Myron May, entered Strozier Library shooting five people and injuring three. May suffered from a mental illness called paranoid schizophrenia, a thought process disorder, after graduating from the university and starting a promising career as an attorney.

Providing more counseling services and police officers on campuses may prevent any similar events from happening again.

Now, universities are challenged to provide counseling with immediate and professional service. Students who utilize these counseling services can be enabled to remain enrolled and be successful while pursuing a degree on their way to entering the workforce.

The next BOG meeting is scheduled for January 24-25 at FSU.


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Taking Fitness To Another Level


Written by: Corenda Bell

October 23, 2017

Most people may get into shape just to look or to feel good, but fitness means more to Lameitra Dupree, it is a way of life.

Dupree is a Tallahassee native with a passion for fitness, so much that she started and owns a fitness studio located in her home town. However, she did not stop there.

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Taking fitness to another level, Dupree competed in her first bikini fitness show in June 2017 in Tallahassee, FL. Sweeping first place in the SNBF North Florida Body Building Classic Competition categories of Novice Bikini, Open Bikini, and the Pro Card level. The Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness Organization (SNBF) is organized for individuals to focus on healthy lifestyles.

“Fitness is a lifestyle for me,” Dupree explained. “It wasn’t necessarily just training for the competition, but staying in traditional workouts to just my regular routine of training.”

The Florida A&M University alumna explained that she got started by seeing others competing, such as friends on social media and other forms of advertising.

“I actually found out about the one that I ended up doing, or the competitions in general, through social media. Friends that have done them in the past,” Dupree shared. “And then I went to my local gym and seen that they had a flyer or poster of one that was going to be here in Tallahassee. So that gave me the motivation to go ahead and get in shape for it.”

Dupree’s healthy lifestyle is clearly shown in her day to day routine. Her sister Latoya Dupree mentioned how she has seen fitness become more important to Lameitra as she has gotten older.

“She’s always been athletic since she was three,” Latoya Dupree, co-owner of Cheer Tech Dance and Fitness said. “As she has gotten older she recognizes the importance of health and fitness.”

For most competitors it takes roughly six months to prepare for competitions. Dupree, however, trained for just three months before conquering the SNBF North Florida show.

Along with being a co-owner of Cheer Tech Dance and Fitness Studio, Dupree is a certified trainer and prefers to train herself for these competitions.

“I usually train either at the gym by myself, or I would do it when I do group training with my clients here at the studio,” Dupree stated.

It takes more than just working out to prepare for the competitions. Having a strict, healthy diet is also imperative in her training method. That means eating more than the average person. For Dupree, it takes six meals a day consisting of fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks, and lots of water.

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public health data facts show that black women have a 38 percent of excellent health. Dupree explained that it’s surprising that more black women are becoming more interested in competing in fitness shows.

“The funny part is not even just women, but the African American race period, men and women participation is becoming bigger. Dupree explained. “Actually, the way our bodies are made up we are winning more, and the more we become involved we can actually take over!”

Now that Dupree has experienced a successful fitness show, she plans to compete more to reach her goals.

“My goals are to win my first SNBF Pro Show,” Dupree said. “I won my first show I ever did and got my pro card, now I want to win my first Pro Show.”

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Now in the process of preparing for her first Pro Show, Dupree is on her way to accomplishing her goals and impacting the health rate of black women in America. Because fitness is not just a destination, but a lifestyle.





Step Into the World of Nefetari’s


Written by: Corenda Bell

October 7, 2017

There may not be many Tallahassee South Side residents who are aware of the healthy, vegan and vegetarian restaurants in their area. In fact, near Florida A&M’s campus is a fine dining restaurant that offers vegan and vegetarian dishes along with artful décor, live music and much more.


Nefetari’s is located on South Macomb Street, less than 100 yards south of Gaines Street. It is a unique restaurant with a wide range of delicious choices of farm to table offerings.


“We do raw vegan, vegan cooked and then we do vegetarian,” said Nefetari’s co-owner, Dana Dennard. “We start with really completely raw deal or all vegetables, no meat.”


The vegan and vegetarian dishes are among the most popular at Nefetari’s. Even though a majority of the restaurant’s customers are older, many people of diverse backgrounds and ages visit and enjoy Nefetari’s unique, healthy dishes.


“We have families that come here a lot of times. College students will be vegan and their parents won’t be,” Dennard continued. “And so, they come here and everybody is happy because the parents who are stomp meat eaters can order lamb, and the child can eat straight vegan. We serve that every day.”


Nefetari’s presents a royal ancient African culture with sacred displays, featuring royal colors such as gold, silver and purple. The restaurant is named after an ancient queen. Dennard mentions that the restaurant is named after two queens with the same name of Nefetari.


“We mainly focus on the second queen,” Dennard explained. “Nefetari one and two, Nefetari two is the royal wife or main wife. Rameses the Great who was considered the greatest builder in the world history.”


Along with Nefetari’s, there are other restaurants in Tallahassee that offer vegan or vegetarian entrees. For example, Blaze Pizza offers vegetarian pizza, Essence of India features vegetarian and vegan options and Soul Veg, located just north of FAMU Way, offers all vegan soul food dishes.


Nefetari’s and Soul Veg are the two restaurants with healthy food options closest to the Tallahassee’s South Side.


The Florida Health Charts confirms that black populations in Leon County have a higher percent of overweight adults than white populations. One reason is that the South Side has fewer restaurants or grocery stores that offer affordable healthy or organic foods.


Also, according to Florida Health Charts, the USDA food desert locator identifies southern and western areas of Tallahassee as food deserts because there is a greater challenge for residents in these areas to have access to healthier foods.


For residents of the South Side who look for healthy restaurants that cater to vegans and vegetarians, Nefetari’s is a great start.