Junior Psychology Major, Joshua Daniel
Joshua A. Daniel is a McNair Scholar and a junior majoring in psychology. He is studying African American maternal mental health in the Program for Research on Anxiety Disorders among African Americans (PRADAA) to help improve the mental health within African American communities.
Hearing about the personal experiences of others every day is just one of the reasons Joshua studies psychology. He feels that sharing perspectives is crucial to building mutual trust and understanding saying, “realizing that every single life we see is as diverse, rich, and intricate as our own can help increase the humanity we see in each other.” Joshua also finds motivation in his faith. “The biggest person that has helped me get to where I am is God. Developing my relationship with Him and spending time with Him has been crucial in this journey.”
Joshua is particularly interested in studying the prevalence of mental health issues within African American communities. As an African American, Joshua is personally affected by these struggles. He is concerned about suicide in the African American community, which is exacerbated by the discrimination which African American individuals face in everyday life. He desires to bring about positive change, both in himself and the world around him; “I came to the realization that if something could be done, then something should be done. Why not start with myself?”
The ongoing studies at PRADAA Joshua is participating in involve perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PMADS involves mental health disorders that occur during or after pregnancy, including depression, anxiety, and loss of appetite and sleep. Over the summer, Joshua will be conducting literary research on the topic to help improve symptoms of PMADS African American mothers may experience. He explains that African American mothers experience symptoms of anxiety and depression disproportionately to mothers of other ethnicities because of the discrimination they face.
He says, “With racism, discrimination, low-income families, mass incarceration, and a multitude of mental health stigmas associated with the African American population, we need more help than given. It is essential to prioritize Black maternal mental health to ensure the well-being of future generations.”
He takes pride in earning his place as a McNair Scholar. The McNair program connected Joshua to his current research opportunity in PRADAA and has provided faculty mentorship and professional development workshops. “My proudest accomplishment in my research is becoming a McNair Scholar,” Joshua said. “These resources helped me gain valuable skills and knowledge necessary for success in graduate school.”
Advising prospective undergraduate researchers, he shares, “After class, walk up to your professors, plan a meeting with them, and in that meeting tell them your goals and how you want to achieve them. Professors at Kent State are more than willing to help you with your success.”