Hi everyone! My name is Jasmin Perrier and I’m excited to be a Community Research Fellow this summer! Here are a few quick facts about me:
- I am a rising senior majoring in Psychology
- I have two minors — one in Social Work and another in Spanish. I am also pursuing a certificate in Latin American Studies.
- I was born and raised in Washington D.C.
- My family is Jamaican and one of my favorite things is learning how to cook cultural dishes from my parents.
- In my free time, I enjoy writing poems, baking, and playing my ukulele.
- My go-to fun fact is that I can clap single-handedly!
With regards to my project, this summer I am serving as a research assistant to support the dissertation work of my mentor at Steel Smiling, Dashawna Fussell-Ware, which focuses on exploring the relationship between Black youth and mental health. More specifically, for this project, we plan to conduct a city-wide survey of mental health literacy among 350 Black youth between the ages of 12-14 in Pittsburgh. This project is important because its overall purpose is to measure the present knowledge and beliefs of Black youth concerning mental illnesses and treatment methods with the intention of sharing such information directly with community organizations throughout the city. Hopefully, our results can be used to assist in the creation of improved mental health programming tailored to address the unique circumstances of Black youth.
After meeting with my faculty mentor, Dr. Brianna Lombardi, I am considering reshaping what my summer research goals may look like. While I will continue to work towards developing the aforementioned dissertation project, there is also space to construct a sub-project on survey development. We plan to use a pre-established self-reporting measure of Mental Health Literacy (MHLq) designed for youth between the ages of 12-14. This measure was created by Portugues researchers and relied on a content analysis of the discourse provided by focus groups made up of Portugues youth. As I aim to measure the Mental Health Literacy of Black youth living in Pittsburgh, it is necessary to place a special emphasis on conducting cognitive interviews and focus groups within this specified population. With this in mind, I am considering centering my summer project around the process of survey adaptation.
In the past, I’ve conducted research that examined student satisfaction and experiences in different contexts (i.e. at various universities in Colombia and at PITT). While I have experience in working with generally young participants, this is my first project with a direct focus on mental health!
I am especially interested in working on this project due to its focus on both Black youth and mental health literacy. I strongly believe that Black youth are in special need of intentional mental health support as they are not only vulnerable to the same struggles as their adult counterparts but are also faced with unprecedented rates of suicide and depression. Mental health literacy can be utilized as a tool to identify existing stigma, gaps in knowledge, or erroneous beliefs about mental disorders which hinder their recognition, management, and prevention. I believe that assessing the present mental health literacy of black youth can contribute to the development of more effective and relevant interventions.
Thanks for checking out my blog and for learning a bit about my summer research!