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.

College of Natural and Health Sciences and College of Nursing students provide ‘Hand Up’ at ‘Stand Down’

“Stand down” is a military term which refers to the occasion where combat troops in need of respite are encouraged to go off duty, and end their state of readiness and alert. In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover are removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety and allowed to “stand down”. The time to “stand down” affords battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.

“Stand Down” is, also, a term used to describe a national community-based effort designed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help the nation’s 75,000+ homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets. The philosophy undergirding this “Stand Down” is a “hand up” not a “hand out”. During the “Stand Down” homeless veterans and veterans at-risk of homelessness are provided access to an array of resources to help them address their individual problems and rebuild their lives. The “Stand Down” offers veterans in need a daylong respite from the streets and a real opportunity to put their lives back together and provides veterans in need access to long-term solutions by building community and access to inter-organizational relationships to help fight homelessness. Any veteran who attends the “Stand Down” can obtain assistance with emergency housing, employment, clothing, haircuts, showers, hygiene products, medical/dental/optical exams, and job placement assistance.

On Saturday Feb. 22 UWP College of Natural and Health Sciences and College of Nursing volunteered alongside providers from the Veterans Administration, the Health Department, Prevent Blindness of Wisconsin and representatives of more than 75 other health care and social service organizations. The students were astounded by the numbers of local veterans that are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. Data suggest that one of every four homeless persons in our community is a veteran. Fifty five hundred local veterans are suspected to be “at risk” because they are living below the poverty line, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, or living with another family. 

“The sacrifice these men and women took leaving family, friends, and familiar surroundings to protect us in foreign lands took courage. The fact that they come back home from war or from another military duty, challenged by mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse should move every one of us.” UW Parkside Senior Amy Ganshert said, “None of us really understand the challenges of this group of men and women who have given so much to our country. Grasping the enormous sacrifice these men and women took leaving family, friends, and familiar surroundings to protect us in foreign lands took courage. The fact that they come back home with issues due to their service that result in their being homeless or at risk of being homeless should move everyone. If any veteran is in need – that is far too many!”

Veteran Army Combat Welder Claude Foster has been to six Stand Downs, “a lot of veterans need to come. They don’t think they have the problem – but it’s not just the world”. He feels that the Stand Down is good for the community and makes a real difference. The motto of the Stand Down is: “A hand up, not a hand out” and Mr. Foster is very glad for the Stand Downs because he has learned more about his health and where he should seek help.

For many of the students volunteering that day it was an awe-inspiring experience. “To support the people who have supported us and allow us to live our lives is humbling. We are a small part, helping with vision screening but it is our way of giving back” said Jennifer Blum. Others noted, “Volunteering at the Stand Down was an awesome experience”. “There should not be a single homeless veteran in America”. Supporting the men and women who have supported us and allow us to live our lives is humbling”.

“Events like these teach us things that can’t be taught in school and will help us become the type of citizens and professionals we should be”. While some of the students attending the Stand Down noted that it was their first encounter, all noted that it would definitely not be their last.

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) is a national network of community-based service providers and local, state and federal agencies that provide emergency and supportive housing, food, health services, job training and placement assistance, legal aid and case management support for homeless veterans. For more information on the date and location of upcoming Stand Downs – visit the NCHV web site at http://nchv.org/index.php/about/about/who_is_nchv/.

Guest Article by Kathryn Rotsch

UWP College of Natural and Health Sciences and College of Nursing students Kathryn Rotsch, Jennifer Blum, Brian Chieves, Amy Ganshert, Ashley Juntenen, Cassandra Stinefast, and Sarah Pahlke making a tremendous difference!

Blood drive coming to campus

Blood donations are always needed, but do you know what your donation can do for someone? The Blood Center of Wisconsin is always in need of blood donations. For years I never understood myself the importance of donating blood until I had a three-level spinal fusion and had to have two units transfused. I was able to store blood prior to surgery so I was given my own blood. But what about others whose surgeries or health do not allow this? For about an hour of your time, you can make a positive influence upon three lives. Without volunteer donations the blood supply for trauma victims, cancer patients, children living with sickle cell anemia and those with clotting disorders would be without the life sustaining power of blood. The steps to donating are simple. You can visit the Blood Drive on campus on Feb. 24, or the one on April 28 from 9AM – 2PM. Simply bring photo identification, be in general good health and have some time to spare. You may never meet a person whose life you have changed, but you will know that each time you donate you are making a huge difference in the lives of those who depend upon the blood of others to live. Since my surgery in 2010, I do my best to make regular donations and have reached a milestone of having donated over a gallon of blood. Please donate generously when it comes to giving blood now and in the future. You never know what the future may hold, but I know that I will donate until I cannot due to an unforeseen circumstance.

Article by Kari Tower-Sevick

Men’s basketball preview 2012-2013

The 2012-2013 men’s basketball team here at Parkside is a talented one. If they can stay healthy this year, they can do some damage in conference. Health is one thing that Coach Reigel can’t control, but is going to heave to deal with all season. With that being said, he has a talented bunch that is led by a multi-talented senior.

The team’s scoring catalyst and overall best player is senior forward Jeremy Saffold. Saffold was a prized recruit coming out of high school that has not been disappointing. His scoring average has been in the mid-teens while gobbling up five rebounds a game during his first three seasons. Those numbers have garnered some awards and recognition for Saffold that will hopefully land him overseas next season. This year, Saffold is a potential division two All-American. Through five games this season, Jeremy is averaging 23.5 points a game and pulling down 5.6 rebounds. He has produced better numbers by becoming a more efficient player. He is shooting 52 percent from the field, 83 percent from the line, and 39 percent from downtown. If he finishes this season anywhere close to those numbers, they will all be career highs.

Continue reading Men’s basketball preview 2012-2013