The rose that grew from counseling

Mental health is a prominent issue for college students to this day especially on campuses with a higher enrollment of Black students, such as GSU

Many Black students do not seek therapy or utilize the counseling center on campus either because they are unaware of their resources or because of the stigma surrounding mental health in society.

One member in Grambling’s community who dedicates her time catering to the mental wellbeing of students and spreading awareness on the importance of mental health is Tundra Turner. 

Turner has been a Social-Relational coordinator and Mental Health counselor for 15 years at the university and is well known amongst students for influencing them to heal and work through traumatic events in their lives. 

Turner, a Simsboro, La. native, obtained her bachelor and master degrees in social work from Grambling. 

While several students utilize the department, Turner still believes that not as many know about the counseling resources on campus.

“A lot of students do not know that we have a counseling center on campus in the Foster-Johnson building where we help students maintain their mental ability and create healthy lifestyles,” Turner said.  

The counseling center on campus provides 100 percent free and confidential services to enrolled students at Grambling State. They deal with student related issues such as sexual assault, substance abuse and provide proactive outreach services also.

Another thing that most do not know is that inside the building there is a serenity room, also known as the “relaxation room”, where students can obtain a peace of mind while indulging in massage chairs.

In all of her years of being a counselor Turner believes that it is important for everyone to know that it is okay to not be okay and that transparency helps identify things of concern.

Her dedication to mental health stems from her own life experiences.

“I knew I wanted to be in the helping field when I was a kid, but I did not want to do nursing,” Turner said. “I was told that I gave the best advice, so I looked into psychology and social work curriculum as well as being aware of my life experiences of being a survivor of domestic abuse and a teenage parent… so it clicked that I should go into this field.”

Her life experiences did not stop her though. As she grew, she dedicated her time to help others in her life grow too.

Turner has three sons who she has poured into first-hand along her journey. Her oldest son will be getting their Master’s from GSU this Spring, another which graduated from Saint Peters University in Jersey City, and her youngest who currently attends Lane College in Tennessee.

She also has students who graduated in past years like 2009 and 2012 who still call and seek counseling from her personally. 

Aside from being a mental health counselor, Turner is also involved as an advisor for two organizations on campus The Women Empowerment Club and The Cutie Pies, a non-Greek organization. 

“I want Women Empowerment to be so big for the impact and not the numbers. I want to look back one day when I venture out of Grambling and see the organization be so big and impactful”, said Turner.

As she is an asset within her community, she thinks of all the students that she has encountered as motivation to become the best that she can be as well. This has inspired her to create a nonprofit organization named ‘S(he) Rose Again’. 

Turner’s goal with the nonprofit is to be able to financially help those in need and be able to heal the community by efforts of normalizing the action to keep moving forward even amid struggles. 

She will be hosting her first event for her organization called “Mask Off” Saturday April 10th, 2021 at 6pm. 

Through sharing her story, she hopes to inspire students in getting the help that they need regarding mental health, so that they too can grow. 

She is the epitome of resilience. 

Tundra Turner