In support of Suicide Prevention Month and also with a goal to focus on Mental Health Education, the Roberta Baines-Wheeler (RBW) Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Awareness Group, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, held it’s annual RBW PH Awareness Group Health Symposium. This event, free and open to the community, was held on Sunday, September 8, 2019, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, on the historic campus of Fisk University. The core mission at RBW PH Awareness Group is helping to increase awareness of pulmonary hypertension while also building healthier communities.
Greetings were extended by Mayor David Briley, Senator Brenda Gilmore, and Judge Marsha Blackburn. Other community leaders attending the event included Judge Allegra Walker-Birdine and Brenda Haywood. Nearly 400 people attended the event.
“The Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. along with the Minerva Foundation was pleased to partner with RBW PH Awareness Group on the RBW Mental Health Symposium,” said June Kellum of the Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. “Mental health is a component of our 5 Point Thrust. Providing our community with the education and tools to care of our mental health in the same way we take of our physical health is a genuine need.”
The symposium included sessions on the following topics: (1) Suicide Awareness for youth; (2) QPR Training; and (3) Meditation, Mindfulness and Resilience: Strategies for Everyday Living. There was also a relaxation station, expert area, and special performance by the Hadley Park Line Dancers.
“Research shows major depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most commonly associated with suicide,” said Sydney Y.K. Brown, Executive Director of RBW PH Awareness Group. “About ⅔ of people who die by suicide are clinically depressed and more teenagers and young adults die by suicide than by cancer and heart disease combined. As of 2017 suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for young people ages 10-19. Statistics state that 3.8 million adults experience mental health-related problems each year. Along with these statistics, a large lack of knowledge surrounds the availability of effective treatment and other resources. Our goal was to come together to bring awareness and resources to the community.”
Dr. Lisa McGee of the HBCU Wellness Project was also in attendance. “The Roberta Baines Wheeler Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Day has integral components reflecting mind, body and spirit that foster strategies for fighting pulmonary hypertension,” McGee explained. “It is a dynamic gathering that educates, motivates and creates a space for individuals to make informed choices for their lives- a truly outstanding community engagement experience.”
Dr. Katherine Y. Brown is the founder and driving force behind the Roberta Baines-Wheeler Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Group.
“We were excited to partner with the Minerva Foundation, United HealthCare, See Through Conversations with the First Lady at Fisk University, KYB Leadership Academy, and other community leaders,” said Dr. Brown. “It was good to see so many people come together to bring awareness to mental health.”
RBW PHA Group shared that plans are already underway for the 2020 RBW PH Awareness Group Health Symposium which will expand its mental health offerings. For more information about RBW PH Awareness Group email: RBWPHGroup@gmail.com, or contact Sydney Y. K. Brown Executive Director at: RBWExecutiveDirector@gmail.com, or phone Dr. Katherine Y. Brown at 312-623-2433.