NC State Humanities and Social Sciences: In the Community

NC State Humanities and Social Sciences: In the Community


[MUSIC] Wall: Well, it started a little more than two years ago. Several of us had an interest in common, and that was what we would need to do to adapt the conditions in the neighborhood
so that we could stay in our homes rather than plan to go to retirement homes.
When we realized that we needed to come up with that information, we thought at first
that we could take it on ourselves. But we pulled it all in, and had it on a table, and
we didn’t know what to do with it. So one person in the group realized that social work
students do things like that, needs surveys, assessments, as part of their training.
Uribe: They approached the social work department at NC State asking for some assistance in
completing a needs assessment for their neighborhood. Their neighborhood is what we call a “naturally
occurring retirement community.” Meaning that the majority of the neighborhood is over
the age of 50 years old. And as they’re aging, they want to learn how they can age
in place, and what resources they might need in order to do that.
Wall: We need to know who’s in the neighborhood, even more deeply than we do right now. And
we need to know something about neighborhoods that are the next ring out because we don’t
know how many people it’s going to take to create the aging-in-place village that
we want. Uribe: We will be presenting this research at
the NC State Graduate Research Symposium, as well as the Social Work Research Symposium,
as well as, obviously, delivering the results and the information back to the community.
NC State prepared me really well for this research. This is the first formal research
project I’ve ever been a part of, and so everything was new to me going into it. And
the constant support from the research professors through the social work department really
allowed this project to get off the ground. Wall: The beauty, apparently, of their involvement
is that it’s uncommon for a student to be able to see and entity come to fruition. But
in this case, she’s getting both. We’re getting the chance to start at the ground
and then watch it build. And it’s possible that additional classes of students will continue
to work with us in the future. [MUSIC] McSwain: It’s a federal grant that works directly
with the Department of Defense. We have instructors that are actual NC State employees. They are
hired to go down and teach the special operations command down at Fort Bragg.
Quintana: We apply specific techniques that we learn at NC State when we were grad students. That’s
basically what I’ve been bringing to the program of Fort Bragg.
McSwain: We have six instructors, six languages. We currently have Korean, Chinese, Arabic,
Portuguese, Spanish, and French. Quintana: Preparing then to visit a native country,
like my country, and help my country was very rewarding. I am helping them to understand
the natives in a better way. McSwain: Well, I love seeing the growth in these
students. Some of them really fall in love with the languages. Not only are they learning
a language, they’re learning the culture. They’re learning interpersonal communications
within that language. They’re learning how other people think. Our goal is really to
provide support down at Fort Bragg. And you know, anytime that we can tie in a higher
institution with the Department of Defense, and just all work together, and use our strengths,
and all really for the good of these soldiers that are going through this program. It’s
highly beneficial to everybody. Quintana: Coming as a NC State representative was
one of the biggest moments of my life because I was able to bring an institution with me.
And the think and do idea of NC State really helped me to help people at Fort Bragg.
McSwain: That’s a huge investment really in the defense of this country. I’m just really
glad that NC State can be a part of that. [MUSIC] Desmarais: My name is Sarah Desmarais. I’m
an associate professor of psychology here at NC State. And we’re doing research trying
to figure out the prevalence of mental health problems in the Wake County Jail, and to try
to figure out ways that we could improve the treatment of adults with mental illnesses.
So there are more than 2 million adults with mental illnesses that cycle through the jail
every year, across the United States. And this is in large part due to this process
through which all of the hospitals have started to close, and people are living in the community
more, and not getting the treatment they need. And so we’re looking at those adults who
come into contact with the jail system, and trying to figure out what we might be able
to do to keep them from coming back through the jail.
Harrison: I would say if you look at the medication, 65 to 75% of the people have some type of
mental illness. You got to remember, this is a jail, and we’ll process anywhere from
35 to 40,000 people through our jail every year. And that’s what complicates it because
they’re not here long enough where we can really address it.
Warren: Dr. Desmarais has been a great champion for this project. She has worked in a number
of different jails across the country and in Canada, and brings a wealth of knowledge
not only to understand the population, but to help understand the different ways and
methods with which communities and detention staff manage populations of this nature. So
we’re really excited that she’s bringing that knowledge and energy here in Wake County.
Desmarais: NC State and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences are providing us with
the funds and the opportunity to engage in the research, and to really create the partnerships
that were necessary to get to this point where we could a funded research project.
Well, I hope that in the long run that we’re really able to come up with solutions that
work for Wake County, but also, potentially across the United States more generally; to
think through strategies to keep adults with mental illnesses out of the jail. And when
they do come into the jail, make sure that they can be returned to the community, and
where they can get treatment. [MUSIC]