Chicago football players fill the black community’s mental health void.


It has been almost nine years since its inception. A life changing event That forced Dwight White, then a quarterback on the Northwestern University football team, to change his direction. White suffered a stomach ache when he was hit during training, and it was discovered that he was born with one kidney, a disease called renal agenesis.

Medical professionals, sports staff and his parents advised him not to play white football, but he decided to continue playing – until three weeks later he was hit in the same spot and suffered internal bleeding due to a kidney problem. Having never been beaten there before, White decided at a young age to walk away from the sport he had dedicated his entire life to and was featured twice.

“He said, ‘I can’t do this to my mother.’ I can’t worry about her every game,'” White’s mother, LaWanda, said in 2014. “That affected me.

“Giving up football was devastating,” White said.

“It was really hard for a while because I felt really lost…especially for a young black guy with golden dreams of playing at the next level, which could eventually be professionally,” he said. “At that time, I didn’t really know who I was or who I could be.”

White continues to explore life outside the sports bubble with his college funding. He became more involved with black people on campus to understand his needs. He spent time reconciling his old and new life.

“I always had an academic/counselor/mentor in athletics, but[university staff]tried to point me in the direction of mental health counseling, proper treatment,” White said. “I remember very clearly, I was in denial. I was like, ‘This doesn’t do anything for me.’ There were two sessions when I came in and I slowly came out.

That’s when. Acquired wisdom As a healing tool.

“I used to sit down with myself… and think about what will bring me happiness in the future when I continue my studies and graduate, and that’s how I started to communicate through art,” he said. “While I was still, the creative process began to flow: ‘Everybody look at this. That’s what I mean.’

Artist Dwight White works on paintings at his studio in Chicago on May 31, 2023.

White in 2011. white Colored walls It can be seen around Chicagoland. One is in the Printers Row area on West Ida B. Wells Parkway between Plymouth Court and Dearborn Street. And his creative work has been used by brands like Nike, Levi’s and Pinterest.

The Houston native spends his time developing art into such experiences Something I can feelAn annual event for the black community featuring fine art, street art, music, fashion, design and the artists behind the pieces. The celebration of blackness kicks off June 19 with a floral design workshop with Plank & Pistils, a Chicago-based floral studio dedicated to highlighting black stories, and a hat-making workshop with artist Samantha Turner.

The What I Can Feel event features more than two dozen free wellness programs that focus on healing through yoga, mental health talks and live music. White says he tries to make something I can feel, something that inspires and empowers, focusing on social cohesion and the black experience.

“Going to practices more often and being in the community and just showing up sometimes is good self-love,” he said.

Artist Dwight White works on a painting in his studio in Chicago on May 31, 2023.

White is an advocate for mental health at a time when reported symptoms of anxiety and depression are on the rise in Cook County’s historically marginalized communities, according to recent data. Mental Health America, Illinois. White says getting mental health help from someone who looks like you and shares your experience makes all the difference, and that’s a need I feel is filling.

“One thing that’s unique about the creative body of work I’ve been able to work with is that many of us, including myself, are open to talking about our mental health journey because it’s so prominent in our daily practice as artists. Entrepreneurs, like black people,” White said. “We’ve been there and we all have that fighting mentality. My athletic struggles eventually led to my struggles in corporate America, and I eventually transitioned into a full-time struggling artist, and that’s the story I want to share.”

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Ryan Mundy shared his mental health story on May 24 at a collaborative event between the NFL team and Social Works, the Rapper’s youth empowerment nonprofit. The charity held a week-long program on how to incorporate health into everyday life. Mundy is the founder of the Mental Health Mobile App. Alkeme HealthIt offers courses, meditation and live experiences on stage.

Like White, Mundy experienced a period of transition. When he retired as an athlete after 24 years, he had to figure out life without sports.

Social Work host panelist Ryan Mundy in association with the Chicago Bears will speak on mental health issues on May 24, 2023 in Chicago.

“I certainly couldn’t imagine anything beyond football. A little over 30 and I still have a lot of life to live but I don’t know how to live it or how to go about it. “Also going into my family, there was a lot of chronic health issues. I was into networks and relationships to understand business, entrepreneurship. And then I started putting two and two together because of what I was going through, what my family was going through, and I wanted to fill a huge gap in the marketplace.

Mundy controls his mental health – “Smiling on the outside, but struggling on the inside“He once spoke on the ‘Today’ show — and created a way to help the black community. His app launches in 2022. The main demographic is black millennials, but Mundy says his goal is to serve children and adults.”

“By keeping our focus on black mental health, a lot of people will identify with that and find themselves in some of the products and content that we put out into the world,” he said. “We’re going to hire licensed clinicians and build video courses to break down complex topics like generational harm, being black in the workplace, and more. Starting in 2024, we’ll start delivering one-on-one therapy and connecting people. Our platform.”

Knowing money, fame and fortune don’t translate to peace, happiness and contentment, Mundy and White are paying mental health forward.

“I felt part of my responsibility to show what it’s like to celebrate blackness through art and creativity and to show that we have to love ourselves,” White said. I was born again here (in Chicago). I know what he did for me and I know him, so I tried to give back what he poured into me.”


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