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PHSC mental health community summit on “Having a Successful Mentality”

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Everyone agrees that a healthy mental attitude is important whether it’s in the workplace, on campus, in the family, or in the community. On Wednesday, October 26, the LIFE (Linking in Faith and Education) program at PHSC held a panel discussion on the topic, “Having a Successful Mentality.”

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Dr. Micheal Jones, Associate Director of LIFE, was the moderator of the panel discussion. He explained that LIFE is a program that acts as a liaison between the students and the community.
“It’s about understanding how education affects us all,” remarked Dr. Jones, “and being able to bring resources and awareness between the college and the community.”

They also work on diversity issues, whether it’s racial, gender, various disabilities, etc. Their goal is to make PHSC accessible to everyone who wants to get an education and to do everything possible to make the experience a successful one.

The panel was made up of seven individuals. Representing PHSC in various capacities were Jodi Savell, assistant professor of psychology; Darcy McDowell, Director of Student Accessibility Services; Dr. Eddie Williams, associate professor; and Louise Downey, Academic Success Coordinator. Jacqui Turner with BayCare Behavioral Health; Dominic Johnson, Workforce Development Specialist with CareerSource; and Yvonne Miller program coordinator with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) represented the community organizations.

The members of the panel discussed positive techniques for dealing with stress and burnout. They also talked about having a balance in your life between career and family, as well as career and personal time. One of the panelists suggested that everyone should strive for an 8/8/8 ratio–8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of personal time.

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Another topic of discussion was the difference between getting joy from your life and getting pleasure. Joy is long-lasting; whereas pleasure is temporary. How you measure success was another topic that the panel discussed. The panelists also discussed the importance of having a mentor in school, as well as in the workplace.

The keynote speaker for the summit was Rodney Williams, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Williams spoke about resiliency, the importance of training and mentorship, and not letting others deter you from your aspirations.

He also shared his journey through nursing roles and responsibilities and fielded questions about how he deals with job-related experiences like stress and death. He specifically gave insight into his niche field of working with anesthesia and the challenges he and his team had to overcome through the pandemic. Williams co-authored a book on that topic which is scheduled to be published in the summer.

There were also vendors at the summit representing various businesses and non-profit agencies in the community. These included the Dawn Center, which works with victims of sexual and domestic violence; Big Brothers/Big Sisters, an organization that matches adults with children ages five to thirteen; and Hernando County Community Coalition, which advocates for mental health and substance abuse prevention.

Another vendor was Young Adult WorkForce, a program that is part of Career Source that works with individuals between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four who have barriers to employment. These include lack of a high school diploma, having an arrest record, being a single parent, having a mild disability or being homeless. The program is free and, in addition to job training, the young people receive incentives like gas cards and financial help to pay for uniforms or tools.

Representatives from Baycare Behavioral Health were there to explain their program that offers free and confidential mental health counseling to college students. Vocational Rehabilitation was another agency that was at the summit.

NAMI representatives discussed its role in providing counseling and peer support for people living with mental health conditions and their family members. True Victory, a local company founded by U.S. military veterans is a sportswear and streetwear brand. Daniel Torres explained that his company is dedicated to building champions on and off the field.

Pasco Hernando State College has a wide range of academic programs, extracurricular activities, and services which they offer not only to their students but also to the community at large. For more information go to www.phsc.edu.

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