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Project to treat, study discrimination and its effects

jbrehm2, November 22, 2010 | View original publication

Project to treat, study discrimination and its effects

Nebraska residents who believe they've experienced discrimination have a new, free and confidential resource available to help them. They also have an opportunity to help researchers understand the link between discrimination and mental health issues.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty, including trained psychologists and law professors, along with advanced students in law and psychology are collaborating in a unique project designed to understand all forms of discrimination and to reduce its effects on people's everyday lives. They've established the Weibling Project for the Psycholegal Treatment and Study of Discrimination. The project, named for an alumnus, aims to break the discrimination/mental illness dysfunction cycle.

"Unfortunately, people feel that they were discriminated against on a daily basis in a variety of forms," said Richard Wiener, professor of psychology and director of the Weibling Project. "The results of discrimination feelings manifest themselves in social and personal dysfunctions. With this project, we have the opportunity not only to learn more about discrimination and its effects, but also to improve the quality of life for Nebraskans by reducing these dysfunctions through the coordination of legal and psychological services."

The services are available to Nebraska residents who believe they have experienced discrimination because of age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, mental health concerns or religion.

Participants will meet first with legal counsel to determine the viability of any legal claim. They'll also meet with mental health staff to evaluate any emotional trauma caused by the experience.

Participants will be invited, although not required, to take part in the project's research.

The project also has an educational component. Staff members plan to offer seminars for government agencies, schools, workplaces and other organizations in Nebraska to share information about what discrimination is, how to avoid it and how to cope with the effects.

For more information, visit http://unl.edu/psypage/weibling or call (402) 472-9639.