Brittany L. Mosby, Inaugural Director of HBCU Success, Discusses Mental Self Care

by Carjamin Scott on July 30, 2018, at 7:32 p.m. CST

Brittany L. Mosby is the inaugural director of HBCU success at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

Mosby, an HBCU graduate, completed two mathematics degrees. A B.S. in Mathematics from Spelman College and an M.S in Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, she is a Doctor of Education student at Vanderbilt University studying Higher Education Leadership and Policy.

Prior to working for THEC, Mosby spent 7 years as an associate professor, teaching Mathematics and Statistics at Pellissippi State Community College.

“I loved teaching students, and felt that my education and teaching career had prepared me for strategic data positions,” said Mosby.

Rejection and Discouragement

Mosby began applying for jobs in her skillset and received rejection letters from them.

“I was discouraged after that because I spent a considerable amount of time completing job applications and got no feedback, only rejection letters,” she said.

A friend at THEC told her to apply for the director of HBCU success position. She mentioned, “I was tired of applying for stuff and not getting it, so I didn’t apply initially.” Eventually, Mosby applied and several months went by. She expected that she did not get the position.

In addition to dealing with the issue of rejection after applying for jobs, Mosby was experiencing the stress associated with working while enrolled in school and battling a relationship.

Mosby recalled, “I had a toxic friendship I was battling, I still hadn’t heard anything from THEC, and school was becoming more demanding.”

“You know, sometimes, being a college student can bring out issues of self-worth. I found myself asking questions like, Am I worthy? Am I supposed to be here? Do I belong here?”

“You know, sometimes, being a college student can bring out issues of self-worth. I found myself asking questions like, Am I worthy? Am I supposed to be here? Do I belong here?” she explained.

DSC_0081Self-Care and Therapy

Her therapist empowered her to make decisions that were the best for her in ways that friends, classmates, and family could not have. Her therapist said, “Brittany, your ego is resilient, you are still going to work and school. You are whole, you are living a fulfilled life.”

When she was least expecting it, she received a phone call notifying her that she was selected for the director of HBCU student success position. “I had applied for that job in June and didn’t hear back until October,” she said.

“There is value in divine timing and things aligning in life, particularly things that you do not expect to happen.”

Considering everything, Mosby says it felt like, “Jonah and the Whale.” God gave her another chance and she took it. “There is value in divine timing and things aligning in life, particularly things that you do not expect to happen.”


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Message about Success 

She is excited to see what will happen at TN HBCUs. Her focus is on student success, completion, and retention.

“It’s not basketball, it’s not Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, that’s not common. We can’t teach our kids to wait for a one in a million chance. They need to be proactively engaged in their future. They need to go to college, get degrees, and find employment. It is all connected.”

What else is connected to success? Education, physical health, and mental health.

What else is connected to success? Education, physical health, and mental health. Mosby believes that mental self-care is necessary to get the most out of your college education, your career trajectory, and your relationships.

“My therapist is one of the most important relationships in my life,” she mentioned.

Mosby further explained, “People need to understand that the goal of therapy is to have you functioning at optimal capacity. In popular culture, it’s portrayed that therapy is only about assigning blame and looking backward – but that is not the case.”

Brittany L. Mosby’s Quotes on Therapy

“Therapy is a self-care indulgence.”

“Blood pressure checks are as important as mental illness and anxiety.”

“As a community, we measure blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. We need to tackle measuring and assessing our mental health.”

“Good Christians pray to God to take care of their mental health AND they go see a therapist. Faith without work is dead.”

Key Takeaways

The issue of mental health and self-care awareness is real. According to a Vanderbilt-led study, the risk of suicide for teens aged 15-17 has increased, particularly during the month of October. The study was conducted from 2008-2015 at children’s hospitals across America. Other studies indicate, aside from alcohol-related deaths, suicide is the number one cause of death for college students.

aside from alcohol-related deaths, suicide is the number one cause of death for college students.

Major life changes, strained relationships, dealing with issues from the past, feelings of isolation, and using substances to cope are all great reasons to see a therapist. Research indicates that therapy helps to manage health conditions and is worth attending even without a medical problem.

The common misconception that a therapist is simply trying to figure out what is wrong with you is just not true. If you have not seen a therapist, it’s time that you invest in one. Mental health is as important as physical health. Everyone can benefit from talking to a therapist. Mental health is an integral part of our overall health and well being.

Other Articles of Interest

Setting the Agenda for Tennessee’s HBCUs

Meet Tennessee’s New Director of Student Success

Mental Health in Schools: A Hidden Crisis Affecting Millions of Students

New York, Virginia become the first to require mental health education in schools

11 Very Good Reasons to Go to Therapy

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

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