‘Take it one step at a time’

first_img“It’s so easy to look around a high-pressure environment at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s and think, ‘Everyone here is a rock star and everyone is so smart and has incredible internships and jobs.’ I can’t risk saying I need help with this because then I’ll risk falling behind. I can’t risk not keeping up with the rest of my peers,” Saint Mary’s senior Emily Haskins said.“People [need to] realize that asking for help is the best thing you can do.”As Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Week with panel discussions, prayer services and Touchdown Jesus bathed in green light — the color of mental health awareness — the week also offers students with mental illnesses a chance to reflect on their experiences.‘You don’t know where to draw the line’Haskins was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) last year after struggling with it throughout high school and college, but had refused to see a doctor. She said it can be difficult to distinguish the stress that naturally goes along with life as a college student from a more serious condition.“Obviously being in college is stressful,” Haskins said. “Everybody is stressed out, which makes it harder because you don’t know where to draw the line between ‘Am I being a baby about this?’ and making too much of a big deal.“But I could give myself an entire Saturday afternoon in the library and just look at my assignment and start to have a panic attack, feeling like I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t think and my thoughts would start racing. It wasn’t like I procrastinated or needed to feel that way.”Notre Dame junior Tracey Cheun, who has been diagnosed with depression, said the college environment can be both therapeutic and detrimental to mental illness.“College seems to make the condition worse and better,” Cheun said. “Worse because it is Notre Dame, it’s a very esteemed institution, so there’s pressure. But also better because I’ve been lucky enough to have the people around me, and I can’t imagine being where I am today without them, or being this mentally healthy without their encouragement.”Amber Kearse, a Notre Dame senior, said the pressure to excel in school made coping with her depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) more difficult.“I’ve had depression before, but it wasn’t diagnosed depression,” Kearse said. “The depression [I had my] freshman year was kind of related to the ADHD. I had sort of been the smart person at my school and I always thought daydreaming was a part of my personality. So when I came here and I was struggling, I couldn’t tell anyone at home because I was so used to being at the top of my class and getting straight A’s.“It was really stressful and really lonely because I didn’t want to tell anybody, but then I couldn’t really do anything because I wasn’t telling anybody. I didn’t really want to go to counseling because I didn’t want to admit anything was wrong, but then I finally went and talked to someone.”“Having problems outside of school just makes worrying about school a lot worse,” Kearse said. ‘Family dynamic’Cheun, who lives on campus in Badin Hall,  said the resources on campus, ranging from the University Counseling Center (UCC) to resident hall staffs, make living with mental illness more manageable. “The counseling center is a really great resource,” she said. “I think people really underestimate it or they’re kind of afraid that they’ll be perceived as [weak] or that they have huge issues and there’s something wrong with them. They’re really nurturing there.“I [also] think the family dynamic here is so strong and that helped me get through a lot of it. I know Badin is pretty small, but the hall staff and [rector] Sr. Denise [Lyon] would stop by my room a lot and make sure I was okay.”After initially fearing medication, Haskins said she came to recognize its potential to assist her after asking God for help.“My medication helps,” she said. “I didn’t want to take medicine because there’s such a stigma about it. I didn’t want to be dependent on it.“[But] medicine isn’t a crutch. Doctors have been blessed with far more smarts than I to help people get through it. If anybody out there has an anxiety disorder and hasn’t done anything about it, you honestly deserve medicine, or help if medicine isn’t your thing.”As a Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) major and business economics minor, Cheun said her professors have also been remarkably accommodating, which has helped her progress as a student and manage her illness. “All of [my professors] have been incredibly supportive and understanding, whether it’s paper extensions or me not being able to get out of bed because I’m too depressed and I just can’t do it,” she said. “They’re always willing to go out of their way for me and meet me after or outside their office hours. That’s helped a lot, and definitely piqued my interest in my academic endeavors because I don’t feel so discouraged or judged by them.“In terms of my everyday life, I take it one step at a time,” Cheun said. “I keep mood charts, I exercise, I take my medication everyday, I follow up with my family on a weekly basis. Sometimes I’ll ask my roommates or my boyfriend to let me know if I’m behaving bizarrely and don’t realize it, because that does happen sometimes.” ‘Kind of a quiet thing’ In light of Notre Dame graduate Mark Gallogly and his wife Lise Strickler’s $10 million gift to the University to create the Rev. James E. McDonald, C.S.C., Center for Student Well-Being, Kearse said the University should focus on peer support for students with mental illness.“There was no real obvious peer support,” Kearse said. “There’s counseling, but it’s better to also have something with other students. Once you leave counseling, that’s who you have to deal with and who you compare yourself to. I think it’s better to have a support network that involves the people who you are living with and you go to school with everyday.“There are a lot of people who experience depression here, but it’s kind of a quiet thing,” Kearse said. “… If people were used to dealing with other people or noticing the signs, they would probably reach out to their friends more or check in on them and try to get outside help if they think the person needs it.”Cheun said the University could do a better job directing students to off-campus mental health resources, as well as making on-campus support groups more accessible.“More openness and availability of support groups would help a lot,” she said. Saint Mary’s junior Torie Otteson spoke at Tuesday night’s student panel in Rice Commons about her own journey and struggle as a way to break the silence surrounding mental illnesses.Otteson said students don’t talk about the issue of mental illness because it’s thought to be a private thing.“People don’t talk about it, but it’s very empowering to share my story of mental illness,” Otteson said. “People listen and they understand. We have a wonderful community here and they realize maybe [mental illness] is not such a scary thing.”Otteson said she lost a lot of time to mental illness but now she’s taking her story and turning it into something positive for others and for herself. “I want to be able to help people realize that you’re not alone and there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it right now,” Otteson said.“[Mental illness] has made me a stronger person in general. If I can made it through that, I can make it through anything.”Haskins said she has never sought help on campus because she feels it carries a stigma, partly because there is not enough information about student mental health resources.“I’m a senior and I don’t know how much it costs to take advantage of campus resources or how that gets billed to you,” she said. “I think if people were more aware of that, it would be better.”Haskins also said students and faculty alike need to make people aware that “[mental illness] is biological and not just something you make up or is a crutch,” something which she said events like Irish State of Mind and Support a Belle, Love a Belle weeks help to do.‘You’re not a diagnosis’Saint Mary’s first year student Kendall Smith also spoke on Tuesday night’s student panel about her experience with mental illness.Smith shared her personal journey of depression that led to self-harm, an eating disorder and substance abuse.“When something stressful happened, I felt the need to change myself,” Smith said. “I dyed my hair, got piercings and finally recognized, ‘why did I feel the need to change myself?”Smith realized through her struggles with depression that she needed to prepare herself to deal with different outcomes instead of altering herself. Depression leads to eating disorders, self-harm and substance abuse, she said, but her story is no longer a sad one to tell.“Depression is a temporary thing if you want it to be,” Smith said. “I’ve spoken about [mental illness] before, but it was a sad story.”Now her story is one of learning and growth. Smith said she has found passion in telling her story because it’s not another chapter of her life — she’s closing the book on depression.“It’s a form of closure, to my history of depression and self-harm,” she said. “I’m really proud of myself for living through that and finding myself through it. It’s always been in the back of my mind; I’m hoping that this will be a way for me to say goodbye to that side of myself.”Smith said people should know that mental illness is something that doesn’t need to be kept to in the dark; it’s something to work through with support.“They were given it, and it’s something they can work through, not something they have to tolerate,” Smith said. “Mental illness doesn’t mean crazy.“Mental illness isn’t a race issue, not a class issue, not a gender issue — it’s a human issue,” Smith said.“You’re not a diagnosis, you’re a person.”Tags: Irish State of Mind, love a belle, Mental health, mental health awareness, mental illness, SABLAB, student stories mental illness, support a belle, support a belle love a bellelast_img read more

Saint Mary’s to host interfaith conference

first_imgSaint Mary’s will host “Building an Interreligious Community,” an interfaith conference on Feb. 2 and 3 in Rice Commons that will allow students, faculty and staff to engage in peaceful religious dialogue. Sophomore Sophia McDevitt said the goal of the conference is to produce citizens who are better informed about religion. “It’s through an organization called Interfaith Youth Core, and their goal is to cross religious boundaries because, in building relationships across religious boundaries, the world can become better through more religiously informed citizens,” she said.The conference will consist of workshops, activities and a panel of experts who will discuss religion, McDevitt said.“We’ll have a panel of different religious leaders and [students] will get to ask questions and then throughout the weekend, [students] will be put with different groups to work with during the activities,” she said.Sophomore Alayna Haff said the conference looks to create an environment where students can avidly participate in religious discourse. “The two-day conference will teach students and faculty how to have better interfaith dialogue and how to have productive, peaceful and beneficial conversations with people that are religiously different,” she said. “We want to create that environment on campus and at other campuses, as the conference is regional and includes Saint Mary’s, IUSB [Indiana University South Bend], Bethel, Notre Dame, DePaul and Lewis [University].”Haff said she believes the interfaith conference is necessary and timely. “I feel like communication is so hostile now, with arguments all the time, which is negative, unhealthy and unproductive,” she said. “Interfaith dialogue promotes a healthy and productive way to refrain from that kind of dialogue. You’re welcoming someone else’s opinions in with open arms. Once you learn how to have interfaith dialogue with someone, you learn to have dialogue with anyone that’s different from you with different kinds of views.”McDevitt said she has always enjoyed the mindful dialogue that interfaith discussions provide.“I’ve always been interested in the idea of dialogue across religions because I think it is so important to be informed global citizens, especially in our current political climate,” she said. “Too often, incorrect information is spread about people’s religions and that hurts because, as a person of faith, it would hurt me if people misunderstood Catholicism and thought something of me that wasn’t true just because they had misinformation. It’s important to me that we come together and form communities with other religious people so that we are able to support each other. If we don’t support each other, who will?” Haff said interfaith dialogue has allowed her to feel more comfortable with herself and her religious views. “Learning about other religions has helped me feel more comfortable about myself and how I feel,” she said. “It’s also been helping me figure out what type of faith I am interested in. I’m learning about myself, about other people and my place in the world. I believe that that’s what interfaith dialogue does for people.”Students who want to create an open, interfaith dialogue can do so by opening themselves up to people who practice different religions, McDevitt said. “Get to know people of other faiths, don’t assume you know things about their faith and be wary of what sources you are getting information about religion from,” she said.The best way to learn about a religion is to listen to those who practice it, McDevitt said.  “Listen to people,” she said. “If you have doubts about what people of other religions believe, ask someone of that religion. If you’re open, and even if you say the wrong thing, if you’re being truly honest and they can tell that you want to learn more, they are very accommodating. All places of worship are open to all people.”Haff said unhealthy dialogue is created by the need to assert a difference of opinion. “When having a conversation with someone who has a different opinion from you, it’s our natural response to then give our opinion, especially if [our] opinion contradicts their opinion,” she said. “This is when the dialogue becomes unhealthy. When someone’s giving their opinion, they’re not always asking for the other person’s opinion.”The only way to have a healthy and productive discussion is to withhold differing opinions until the very end, Haff said.  “When your immediate response is your opinion, you don’t learn anything,“ she said. “The only way to learn is to ask them questions, show interest in that person and try not offend that person.”McDevitt said the goal of this conference, and all future ones, is to encourage an interfaith community. “We’re hoping to build an interreligious community among young people,” she said. “South Bend is a wonderful place for interreligious dialogue because it has a women’s religious group that has Jewish, Muslim and Christian women in it and a lot of other groups like that. These groups have really been trying to build the attendance of young people so that they’re more informed as they grow older.” Registration for the interfaith conference closes Friday. Tags: compassion, interfaith, religion, religious dialoguelast_img read more

Speaker reflects on definitions of success, value of self-worth

first_imgSaint Mary’s Student Diversity Board welcomed Gabe Salazar, a motivational youth speaker, podcaster and author, for a panel in Rice Commons on Thursday night. Salazar travels the U.S. speaking at grade schools and universities about different social issues and his life experiences. As the author of the book “Born on Accident, Living with a Purpose,”  Salazar said he wanted to speak candidly about his life experiences like he had within his book. Besides being a published author, Salazar is also a highly rated podcaster who puts out content to help motivate Latino youth.Salazar said much of his life has been shaped by experiences he had as a child.“I was born to a teen mom, abandoned by my father and grew up homeless in a car in Houston, Texas,” he said. “But I became the first of my family to go to college after overcoming obstacles of homelessness, gang influences.”He said the conversation around ambition and success is often unproductive because of conflicting definitions.“It’s not about who went through what stuff, it’s about overcoming hard stuff,” Salazar said. “I think every individual needs motivation. It is so important. The problem with motivation and even the word success is that half the room thinks one thing  — something monetary — and the other half thinks the other thing — happiness.”Motivation was what pushed Salazar through high school and into college, he stated, but figures in his life helped him along the way.“Mentors will make a difference in your life,” he said. “He wrote me a letter of recommendation for a scholarship and he helped me fill out my FAFSA. I won that scholarship, I got accepted, became the first in my family to go to college and I graduated in 5.5 years.”Once Salazar finished telling the audience about his life story, he began to speak on issues many young adults are forced to deal with, such as mental health.“It’s no wonder in America, in 2019, we have the highest rates of depression, anxiety, teen suicide, teen drug use — more than we’ve had in the history of America — where students don’t even love themselves,” he said.Being kind to oneself and following the Golden Rule — or the Rule of Reciprocity, as he explained it — is something Salazar said he believes in and promotes in all of his talks.“I believe in treating others with kindness, with dignity, with respect, because I have such a high expectation and value system for myself that when I do good things for other people, I do it because that’s the value I have for myself,” he said.Speaking on his relationship with his father, he said understanding human emotion is key to unlocking one’s potential.“When I started understanding that emotion is a choice and the human being is stronger than any emotion — I can choose to hate and I can choose to love,” Salazar said. “When I chose to love, something changed in me. I became a better speaker, a better father, a better husband, a better human being.”The event ended with Salazar playing a game he had created called “Fact or Opinion.” An audience member volunteered, and he began to ask her fact or opinion questions. This was a game he played with his own daughter when she was younger to help her learn her worth as an individual. Salazar said he first began playing the game with his daughter to teach her self-worth, and now he plays the game with audiences to teach them the Golden Rule.“Fact or opinion: we are on Saint Mary’s campus; we are in Indiana; the sky is blue; it is raining outside,” he said. “You are incredibly gorgeous. Fact or opinion, you have great significance in this room.”Salazar continued with this exercise for a few more minutes before he had the volunteer retake her seat. Closing his talk, Salazar said he hopes everyone learned something from the activity.“As long as you can look in that mirror at the end of the day and be able to say, ‘I just love who I am,’ you’ll have success,” he said.Tags: confidence, Gabe Salazar, Golden Rule, Latino, Rice Commons, Saint Mary’s College, Self-Love, Student Diversity Boardlast_img read more

Rape reported to Title IX Office

first_imgA rape was reported to the Notre Dame Title IX office Nov. 15, according to the Notre Dame Police Department’s (NDPD) Tuesday crime log.The alleged incident took place Nov. 10 and occurred in a north women’s residence hall, the crime log said.Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors of sexual assault are available online from the NDPD and Title IX office websites.Tags: crime log, rape, Title IX Officelast_img

Chautauqua County Health Officials Gives Coronavirus Update

first_imgMGN ImageMAYVILLE – Chautauqua County health officials say as of noon Monday there remain no confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus in the county, although four people are in precautionary quarantine.The newly formed Chautauqua County COVID-19 Response team is meeting daily to evaluate and respond to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation. The team is made up of local public health and emergency response professionals.The COVID-19 Response team expects to provide updates to local media at approximately 4 p.m. daily. WNYNewsNow will provide coverage.The team says the best ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are to: Wash your hands often with soap and waterCough/sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and throw it awayPractice social distancing – try to keep at least 6 feet between you and another personStay home and avoid others if you are illIf residents have symptoms including fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing call your healthcare provider, and they will give you appropriate guidance.Only call 911 if you are having a medical emergency.The best ways to keep yourself healthy are to:ExerciseEat healthyGet enough sleepQuit smokingGet a flu shotGet a pneumonia shotChautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel also requests that if the public needs to conduct business at any Chautauqua County Government offices that they please call beforehand to see if their transaction can be handled over the phone, online, or by mail to help with social distancing to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Labor Department: Many Missing Key Aspect Of Unemployment Filing Process

first_imgImage by labor.ny.gov.JAMESTOWN – As millions of New Yorkers are waiting for unemployment benefits, the state’s Department of Labor says many are missing a key step to getting that money in their pocket. Thousands of New Yorkers are reporting that their claims have been approved but they have yet to see that money in their account.State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon says that could be because people are not certifying their claims each week.This is a requirement by the federal government which confirms that a person was unemployed for all or even just part of the previous week and that they’re willing and able to work. It applies to both the traditional unemployment benefits and the pandemic unemployment insurance.Currently people can only submit backdated certifications over the phone – but now they’ll be able to submit previous weeks certifications online.The Department of Labor will email people will missing certification and send them a form to be verified. Anyone without an email will receive a phone call from a representative. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Alleged Shoplifter Arrested After Fleeing Lakewood Walmart This Week

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Stock image by Rusty Clark / CC BY 2.0 LAKEWOOD – A 34-year-old Jamestown man is facing charges after allegedly fleeing police responding to a shoplifting incident at the Lakewood Walmart this week.Lakewood-Busti Police say Joshua Warner fled the superstore on foot just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday.Officers say Warner was later located and placed into custody.During their investigation police allegedly discovered a hypodermic instrument and multiple stolen items from the store in his possession. Warner is charged with petit larceny and criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument.Police say he was later released with an appearance ticket and is schedule to appear in Town of Busti Court at a later date.last_img read more

St. Bonaventure University President Recovering Following COVID-19 Diagnosis

first_imgImage by St. Bonaventure University / YouTube.OLEAN – St. Bonaventure University’s president is now recovering at home after he was hospitalized with COVID-19 over the holidays.The school announced over the weekend Dr. Dennis DePerro tested positive on Christmas Eve.He was hospitalized in Syracuse last week after developing pneumonia as a result of contracting the virus.DePerro has been at his second home in Syracuse since the university’s holiday break on December 18. “I’ve started to feel better the last couple of days and can’t thank the hospital staff enough for the care I’ve received,” said DePerro in a statement. “I have complete confidence in Dr. Zimmer and the university’s administration team as I work toward a full recovery. I look forward to being back on campus very soon.”The school says vice president of Academic Affairs, Doctor Joseph Zimmer will temporarily take over the day-to-day leadership of the university. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Taboo Reunion Concert Is Happening! (But We’re Petrified Boy George, Raul Esparza & Euan Morton Don’t Know)

first_img Thirteen members of the fabulous ensemble are also on the bill, although Brooke Elliott, who went from the Taboo chorus to instant fame as the star of TV’s Drop Dead Diva, isn’t one of them. Taboo, that fabulous musical flop we can’t get out of our heads, is coming back to the New York stage. Cast members from the show will reunite for two performances at 54 Below on February 8 at 8PM and 11PM, exactly 10 years to the day that the Boy George bio-musical closed on Broadway after a three-month run. Set for the concerts (benefitting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) are stars Sarah Uriarte Berry (who plays Nicola), Jeffrey Carlson (Marilyn), Liz McCartney (Big Sue) and Cary Shields (the hot rocker guy that breaks Boy George’s heart). Not yet set for the concerts are stars Boy George (Leigh Bowery), Euan Morton (George) and Raul Esparza (Philip Sallon), which leaves us sad but hopeful. Maybe they haven’t checked their voicemail? No word yet on whether the show’s famous producer, Rosie O’Donnell, will be there either. Again, we’re hopeful!center_img Either way, we can’t wait. Seriously, the score for this show is incredible! View Commentslast_img read more

Tracy Letts Wanted Benedict Cumberbatch & Ewan McGregor Out of August: Osage County

first_img View Comments Directed by John Wells, the ensemble cast of August: Osage County is led by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, who both received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. In addition to Streep, Roberts, Cumberbatch and the Broadway-bound McGregor, the cast includes Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard and Misty Upham. The film, which is still in theaters, has grossed more than $26 million at the U.S. box office. Star Files Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein deserves credit for asking Tracy Letts to adapt his own play August: Osage County for the film version. We don’t think anyone else would’ve been able to keep the venomous hilarity of the Weston family fully intact in the Pulitzer Prize-winning black comedy. Yet, Letts and Weinstein did butt heads over one thing during the making of the movie—the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch and Ewan McGregor. According to the London Evening Standard, Letts did not want a British invasion in his Southern-cooked American masterpiece.center_img Letts, who won the 2013 Tony Award for his performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and will soon be back on Broadway in The Realistic Joneses, grappled with McGregor and Cumberbatch being cast in the film because he thought it might send “the wrong message.” It seems Letts was worried about casting “international” actors in the “profoundly American” story, which follows a family in Oklahoma. However, the celebrated writer conceded that he was “glad [he] lost the fight” with Weinstein and admits that McGregor and Cumberbatch “both do a great job” in their roles as Bill Fordham and Little Charles, respectively. Tracy Lettslast_img read more