UMHCA Statement For Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor
The Utah Mental Health Counseling Association (UMHCA) Board is deeply saddened by the death of Isabella “Izzy” Faith Tichenor, age 10, who died by suicide on November 6, 2021. According to her mother, Izzy was the victim of ongoing racially and disability-based bullying at her school. This tragic event occurred several weeks after a report from the Department of Justice identified a consistent pattern of racial harassment toward Black and Asian American students within Izzy’s school district.
UMHCA is an organization committed to addressing disparities in the access to and quality of mental health care services for individuals who have been marginalized based on historical and ongoing systemic injustice, like racism. Tragedies like Izzy’s death amplify the importance of our profession in providing mental health support and suicide prevention resources for individuals, families, and communities who are often under-served and experience a lack of safety in their neighborhoods due to prejudice and hate. Izzy’s suicide also punctuates the compounded stress the global pandemic has on the lives for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who are disproportionately affected by the confluence of racism in the economic, education, medical, and mental health systems.
The leadership at UMHCA sends our heartfelt condolences to Izzy’s family. We wish to recognize our BIPOC colleagues who are numerically underrepresented in the state of Utah and who are deeply affected by the racial injustices they and their BIPOC clients experience; it is a collective trauma. We send our support to our Black colleagues and communities who are grieving and who must mourn the loss of another Black life. UMHCA wants to encourage all Clinical Mental Health Counselors to seek out the educational, professional, and ethics training needed to provide culturally responsive services to their BIPOC clients. As a professional community, we must work together to cultivate cultural fortitude and multicultural competencies, which will allow us to courageously support and advocate for our clients as well as for our colleagues. UMHCA is committed to creating opportunities for multiculturally oriented dialogue, professional development, and resources with these priorities in mind.
Here are some resources and training opportunities:
Counseling on Access to Lethal Means - Utah (CALM-Utah)
o Flyer attached.
· Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS)
o Registration: https://utahdhs.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ewE3gomcwtJpaD4
· Trauma-Informed Approach Training
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