The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is hosting a summit on the mental health needs of minority college students. 

The department is teaming up with historically Black colleges and universities for Wednesday's discussions.

The online summit is called Peeling Back The Layers On Minority Mental Health. The purpose is to assess in-depth the needs of minority students and faculty, and how best to address the mental health aspects of the pandemic. 

Deepa Avula is the NCDHHS Director for the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Avula says that the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges already faced by college students.

"And one of the things we also know is that African Americans, the data tell us they get mental health care at lower rates than the general population, and so it was very important for us to hear directly from HBCUs about what's working well on campus, what additional resources we need to be focused on as a state to meet the needs of our students — so that's really why the need for the summit was so critical at this time," says Avula. 

Online panel discussions will take place Wednesday, February 23, between noon and 3 p.m. Registration is required.

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