Eastern Michigan University’s “Enlighten U” podcast explores ADHD and its significance among college students

Lolita Cummings, Aesha Mustafa, Bri Burns, and Melissa Thrasher at the round table on video podcast set.
Lolita Cummings, Aesha Mustafa, Bri Burns, and Melissa Thrasher on the set of the "Enlighten U" video podcast.

YPSILANTI–Oftentimes, the signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) go unnoticed, especially until students reach their pivotal college years. Eastern Michigan University's April 2024 episode of "Enlighten U,” a podcast for students, explores how to recognize the symptoms and offers actionable strategies to combat its challenges head-on.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there is an increasing proportion of college students with ADHD, a developmental condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity and experienced by at least 4% of the United States adult population. 

Melissa Thrasher, EMU's director of media relations and co-host of the podcast, emphasized recognizing ADHD's impact on college students' mental health. 

"Addressing ADHD's implications on college students' mental health helps faculty and staff become more aware of the signs associated with the neurodevelopmental disorder,” said Thrasher. “Students must know how to help themselves manage the disorder, but also how we can provide the tools and resources to make things easier for students." 

The “Enlighten U” table welcomed EMU graduate student Bri Burns, where she candidly shared her diagnosis journey with ADHD and how it has affected her as she navigated college. She is joined on set by Aesha Mustafa, Ph.D., LMSW, a frequent guest expert who provides analysis, sound advice, and valuable information on accessible mental health resources. Mustafa is a licensed therapist and an assistant professor in EMU’s Department of Leadership and Counseling. She is also co-owner of the Integrative Empowerment Group in downtown Ypsilanti.

Burns is a graduate student in the higher education and student affairs program – and a graduate assistant in EMU’s housing and residence life department. While managing her diagnosis of ADHD, she discusses how she copes with her symptoms, including hyperactivity, forgetfulness, and fidgetiness, while balancing being a full-time student and employee.  

Mustafa details how ADHD is prevalent among college students and identifies the misconceptions that are frequently brought up about the disorder. She also provides educated and valuable advice on the resources used for those dealing with ADHD, such as treatments and medication. 

Future episodes of “Enlighten U” will address food insecurities, adjustment to campus life, navigating the transition from high school to college, and more.

For more information about “Enlighten U,” contact Lolita Cummings at lcummin2@emich.edu and Melissa Thrasher at mthrashe@emich.edu. Email messages with guest and topic suggestions can also be sent to Enlighten_U@emich.edu. “Enlighten U" is available on all major podcast streaming services and EMU's YouTube Channel. The next episode will air Monday, April 15. 

About Enlighten U
“Enlighten U” is an Eastern Michigan University-produced podcast for college students as they experience unique stressors, including academic pressures, personal growth, social challenges, and more. EMU executive director of media relations and social media Melissa Thrasher and EMU public relations professor Lolita Cummings serve as co-hosts. Each episode is released each month and welcomes a student or alum and a subject-matter professional. Episodes of “Enlighten U” address mental health topics like imposter syndrome, financial strain, grading anxiety, adjustment to campus life, social media harms, social justice, and more.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

April 17, 2024

Written by:
Nina Scarpelli

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher