Speaker talks black mental health

Phillip Roundtree challenges mental health stigmas

KIARA FOXfox00034@rangers.uwp.edu

The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs brought Phillip Roundtree to address black mental health issues.

On Tuesday Feb. 27, students got the chance to listen to Phillip Roundtree talk about his experience with mental health and how it is current to today’s society. This event called “Black Mental Health Matters” addresses an issue that many have attached a negative stigma to.

Who is he?

Roundtree is the founder of Quadefy, which is “a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing empowerment services to enhance the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength of an individual, team, and/or business.” Roundtree travels the country giving speeches that try to help people cope with mental health issues in a positive way. He says, “you will rarely hear me say suffering because words have power, words impact stigma. So no I am not suffering, I am living with mental wellness issues.”

Roundtrees  struggles of getting a masters degree in social work, an MS in Exercise science, being a Pro Natural Bodybuilder and Powerlifting Competitor, as well as his journey dealing with anxiety and depression has made him want to help other people who struggle with expressing and recognizing mental health issues. Roundtree tries to “give a face, voice, and hope to those who’ve yet to recognize their emotional and cognitive strength.”

Society’s impact

Society has put mental health and wellness in a dismissive state. Roundtree wore a shirt that said “this is what depression looks like” which sparked the conversation of what mental wellness looks like in society and the media. He says, “we are used to seeing people who are dealing with psychosis in the media. We do not see people like me, a black man who is 35 years old.”

Another thing that we see in society is that in the black community, people look up to musicians as role models and hip hop music as a guide for living life. Roundtree said that “being a product of the 90’s” led to him coping with the death of his brother by getting a tattoo because this is what he saw from rap groups like Bone Thugs and Harmony.

As college students, having someone that you can relate to is a vital key to success. Zachary Atkins, a student here, said “college students can relate to [Roundtree] because he expressed the importance of being aware that any one around us could be going through a troubling time. I think listening to someone be comfortable in their own skin and openly talk about living with a mental illness can make someone more comfortable to get treatment or accept their own mental wellness state.”

Black Mental Health Matters showed students that it is okay to have mental wellness issues and that there is nothing wrong with seeking help from others.

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