North Carolina A&T State University has officially opened the Behavioral Health Clinic on campus.

HERE WE GROW AGAIN

North Carolina A&T State University has officially opened the Behavioral Health Clinic on campus.

The Department of Human Development and Services, in the School of Education, has created the clinic within the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness out of the belief that all people in need of mental health services should be able to receive them.

"The Behavioral Health Clinic is a strong example of how the university is focusing on community engagement by bridging university-community partnerships while at the same time providing opportunities for students to learn the latest techniques in behavioral health in a hands-on way. It's a win-win for our community and our university," executive directory Kelly Graves said.

“Together, we have the collective power to heal our community, empower the down-trodden, and be a voice for those who are struggling to find their own.”

Professor, author, poet, performer, producer and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou was on hand as the keynote speaker. Angelou shared stories from her childhood about growing up in Stamps, Ark. and St. Louis about trauma she suffered from being molested by her mother’s boyfriend and her uncle Willie, the unlikely visionary.

Angelou began her speech singing lines from the Mahalia Jackson song, “God Put a Rainbow in the Sky.” She said the song is a metaphor for life.

“At the worst of times there's a possibility of seeing hope,” she said.

When Angelou was a child in St. Louis, she was molested by her mother’s boyfriend. She told her mother’s family what happened and the man was arrested and later killed. She stopped speaking for six years as a result of the trauma she experienced. She was sent back to Arkansas to live with her grandmother who became her “rainbow.”

Her grandmother always told her that she would grow up to teach all over the world and she has. At last count, Angelou said she holds 71 doctorate degrees and has educated people all over the world.

Her uncle Willie was poor, crippled and ashamed of himself, was too ashamed to travel to the county seat but managed to become that rainbow in the cloud for Angelou and a line of others that stretched from Arkansas to Washington, D.C. and beyond.

That’s what this clinic is for people in the community, she said.

“Here you are gathered this morning and throughout the day to cut the ribbon and open the gates to benefit people you may never know,” Angelou said.

“I came to say thank you. When times are tough, God put you, a rainbow, in somebody else's cloud.”

The clinic will offer comprehensive clinical assessments, psychological testing, outpatient individual and group therapy as well as marriage counseling/couples therapy, medication management, support groups, peer support and advocacy programs and wellness experiences.

The staff includes licensed professional counselors, clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, certified substance abuse counselors, psychiatrists and specialized advocates. These professionals specialize in conditions such as depression, anxiety, anger management, substance abuse, additions, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, domestic violence and eating disorders, among others.