You are here: Home / News / From Awareness to Action: How an Ogden Honors Education Encourages Leadership

From Awareness to Action: How an Ogden Honors Education Encourages Leadership

Ogden Student Launches Hotline to Combat Disparities with Black Mental Health

LSU’s Ogden Honors College encourages students to view their education as more than what happens in the classroom, encouraging them to participate in service, study abroad, internships, and research. Rising Psychology senior Tai Lambert intends to use her Honors experience to focus on an important and timely challenge: mental health in LSU’s Black community.

Lambert, a member of BlackOutLSU, a group of students leading the campus-wide movement for equity and justice for LSU’s Black community, is in a perfect position to combine her activism and research interests.

“The Honors College exposed me to conversations, hands-on experiences, and faculty mentors. My experience in the Honors College has elevated my education by introducing me to new methods of learning and real-world applications within my field,” Lambert says. 

Complex layers of discrimination, exposure to violence in communities of color, hate crimes, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, generational trauma and other systematic injustices perpetuate, if not propel, mental instability in the Black community, according to Lambert. Between the current COVID-19 pandemic and police brutality, the Black community has been disproportionately impacted and is collectively experiencing mental hardships. 

While the severity of these inequalities is well documented, there are relatively few accessible, culturally-specific resources to combat the traumas Black people experience. This led Lambert to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to launch the Black Mental Health Hotline, which will provide free, confidential support services to the Black community.

The hotline will allow people in need to receive immediate counseling from licensed professionals and will provide callers with resources that are available in their communities to get established in long-term care. For now, the resource is available to Louisiana residents, but there are plans to expand the program nationwide in the coming years. The hotline number is 1-833-800-2644.

Lambert is also working on an Honors thesis, the culmination of the Ogden Honors curriculum, which allows students to answer questions, solve problems, and demonstrate their abilities by completing a long-term project with an expert research faculty member. She has been working under the direction of Dr. Paul Frick, Roy Crumpler Memorial Chair in Psychology to investigate how exposure to violence negatively impacts children’s mental health.

Frick was especially impressed with the design of Lambert’s thesis project, which like most undergraduate students represents her first attempt to design an empirical study.  “She was exceptional at it - she may have developed one of the best undergraduate thesis proposals that I have seen in 30 years as a professor,” he said. “What was even more impressive is that she had to work more independently and be more self-motivated than is typical, due to the spring semester being interrupted by the pandemic. Also, it was clear that she wanted to develop a project that not only was scientifically interesting but that had important social policy implications.” 

Lambert plans to attend medical school and eventually become a pediatric psychiatrist. She plans to continue to work in underprivileged communities to expand access to mental health resources.

Lambert says they are now looking for licensed mental health specialists and social workers to volunteer for the hotline. Volunteers can email Lambert at tlamb@lsu.edu.

The Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College

The Ogden Honors College, established in 1992, is a vibrant, diverse, and prestigious community for high-achieving students on LSU’s campus. The Ogden Honors College provides students — from all majors and senior colleges — with an opportunity to enhance their education through an interdisciplinary curriculum bolstered by service, leadership, fellowship, research, and study abroad opportunities.