Karla Thut was born and grew up in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She graduated from Goshen College with a BA in Social Work and Temple University with a Masters in Social Work. She has worked as a family therapist in the city of Philadelphia for 15 years primarily with co-victims of homicide and survivors of domestic violence and other violent crimes. During this time Karla trained at the Philadelphia Child and Family Training Center as a family therapist and at the Philadelphia Family and Children’s Play Therapy Training Center where she trained in Contextual and Structural Family therapy and play therapy. In addition to working as a therapist Karla teaches part time at Chestnut Hill College in the Masters in Counseling Psychology department in their trauma studies concentration and is on the board at La Puerta Abierta. La Puerta Abierta is a non-profit in Philadelphia that provides mental health services to immigrant youth and their families. Karla lives in Philadelphia with her husband and three children.
How You Can Help
Support La Puerta Abierta whose mission is “To improve access to quality, culturally and trauma-informed mental health support in the immigrant and refugee community through collaboration, training and service”.
Contact Karla to learn more about her private practice mental health care services, or healing trauma training services at: karlathut (at) gmail (dot) com
For the month of July, I wanted to raise awareness around National Minority Mental Health Awareness month. Last year, I did an interview with my resident mental health pro, Dr. Angela Clack. Amongst other things we discussed, she told us about the origins of the awareness month. You can watch our interview here. And check out her new book on narratives from women of color talking about trauma and depression.
Since I will be doing interviews all next month, I decided that I wanted to do a campaign just sharing my random thoughts about mental health throughout this month. I wanted to share a day in the life of someone with lived experience, aka a peer advocate. I wanted to raise awareness about some of the ways I’ve experienced mental health prevention, treatment, and ongoing maintenance as an African American woman. I invited other POCs in my social network to join me in creating awareness by sharing their stories, experiences, resources, etc. about mental health for this particular campaign.
Why do this? Because the more people talk about mental health in our communities, the more it becomes a commonplace topic. This is how we fight the stigma. And when stigma is obliterated, people don’t feel ashamed to seek help. If more people seek help and find that there isn’t equal access to care, we come together and create demand that needs to be supplied. Ya dig?
The reason this is so important is because there are many disparities in seeking and getting mental health treatment as a minority in the U.S..Heck, even a quick Google search led me to organizations that are NOT founded by or led by the people this awareness month was made for, when of course they exist. I’ve made plenty of complaints about the lack of minorities having a seat at the table, but I won’t go there right now, (another topic for another day). So even our own voices and wisdom aren’t being centered, but rather tokenized to fit inside a paradigm. Which further proves we still have a ways to go with dismantling a broken healthcare system. But first, we need to create awareness. And many times that awareness starts at home within our own selves, conversations amongst each other, with our family members, with our friends, our co-workers, our spiritual community leaders and members and anyone else in our network who still doesn’t get it. There are too many people who still deny that mental health disorders are very real, and we cannot afford to keep sweeping them, and how they affect our lives either directly or indirectly, under the rug. It hurts us, it tears apart our families, it breaks down and disconnects our communities.
So to offset that, we share. We share our truths, we share our resources. We encourage one another to find strength, hope, and healing.
Below you’ll find a few captured moments from several awareness campaigns this month…
My Announcement Post
No More Martyrs hosted their annual Minority Mental Health Awareness Summit
Around 2:12 Dr. Ruby begins talking about the connection between mind, body, and spirit.
Around 4:07 We start talking about the spiritual properties of good. And the 2nd brain “gut”. Lynette references Sisters of the Yam by bell hooks.
Around 6:00 Dr. Ruby talks about the energy and vibrations of food. Dr. Ruby talks more about the gut as a 2nd brain and how about 70% of disease starts in the gut.
Around 7:45 Dr. Ruby begins our dialogue about the spiritual aspect of food being where the food comes from, and how it is treated up until the point of which we consume it.
Around 7:56 Dr. Ruby begins to explain why she has chosen a plant-based diet.
Around 9:48 After comparing the differences in how we feel after eating certain foods, Dr. Ruby explains how taking in food with low vibrations affects you spiritually just as much physically and mentally.
Around 10:15 Dr. Ruby talks about the often forgotten meaning behind phrases such as “I put love into the food”.
Around 12:30 We talk about how spirituality shows up in daily life, including a business aspect even though we want to keep it boxed in and separate.
Around 14:35 Dr. Ruby begins talks about the gut and depression, and other connections to nutrition and mental health issues.
Around 18:40 Dr. Ruby talks more about how food affects our mood, mental acuity, how fast or slow we think.
Around 19:48 Dr. Ruby says “The healthier the food, the healthier the brain.” And talks about how we can improve mood with food.
Around 23:11 After bringing up the 90’s movie Soul Food we talk about the spiritual and mental healing practice of cooking food with love, and nurturing relationships with coming together and eating together.
Around 25:52 Dr. Ruby talks about keeping these healing traditions of family gatherings but also making it all around healthy by adjusting the menu items.
Around 30:25 Dr. Ruby talks about food as a form of resistance because we have control over what we’re putting in it.
Around 31:47 Dr. Ruby shares how you can reach out and connect with her online. She mentions her Going Vegan online program for those interested in changing their lifestyle.
About Dr. Ruby:
Dr. Ruby Lathon is a certified holistic nutritionist and inspires with a powerful story of recovering from thyroid cancer through alternative treatment focused on a whole food, plant-based diet. Dr. Lathon worked as a researcher and an award-winning engineer, and now teaches others how to re-engineer their health and live disease free.
Dr. Lathon, a graduate of the University of Alabama, served as Nutrition Policy Manager at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, where she developed and led a national grassroots campaign to advocate legislation for more healthful, plant-based meal options in the National School Lunch Program.
Dr. Lathon is host of The Veggie Chest with Dr. Ruby, an online, plant- based cooking show and is featured in the hit documentary, What the Health and will be featured in two upcoming documentaries. Dr. Lathon is an inspirational and sought-after speaker on motivation, natural health, healing, and plant-based nutrition. Through her organization, Roadmap to Holistic Health, Dr. Lathon hosts holistic health conferences, workshops and healthy cooking classes and provides customized nutritional consultations and coaching programs.
Around :50 I share my history with Tai and how I came to know of her.
Around 1:52 Tai introduces who she is and who she works with as a life and business growth strategist.
Around 4:20 Tai talks about her history with traditional black Baptist churches and how she felt something wasn’t quite fitting right. She started questioning things about her faith and spirituality and stopped feeling ashamed about having those questions and began exploring spirituality outside of the black Christian experience.
Around 5:50 Tai talks about uprisings and outrage as symptoms and hunger for real spiritual connection. She addresses the difference between following rules and actually practicing your spirituality to deepen your relationship.
Around 7:20 Talk talks about the fall out with youth and church.
Around 8:14 Tai talks about how mental health hasn’t been adequately addressed or talked about in the church.
Around 11:20 Tai began talking about various relationships people can experience in churches when it comes to dealing with mental health and how there’s an opportunity for churches to educate their community. She talks about how leaders could step up in this area of educating.
Around 14:50 We reference the Black Panther movie and the concept of a council of Elders.
Around 17:23 I ask Tai if there is such a thing as “spiritual appropriation” and she shares her views on this controversial topic.
Around 19:00 Tai talks about how business people and churches capitalize religion.
Around 23:40 Tai talks about spiritually being a journey and an opportunity to address issues such as trauma. She ask talks about how spirituality connects all humanity.
Around 27:00 Tai addresses how to talk about mental health in spiritual communities.
Around 30:40 Tai shares how you can connect with other trailblazers in creating community, and transforming lives. She also shares her new “spin-off” site, Black Girl Mystic for black women who want to expand beyond the black Christian perspective.
As a life and business coach for entrepreneurs in the transformation biz, Tai specializes in helping her clients create profitable business models and revenue streams so they can avoid burning out and actually enjoy being their own boss.
Before stepping into the world of entrepreneurship, Tai racked up over 20 years of experience in learning and development including time at two Fortune500 companies. She has a B.S and M.S. in education, and she keeps a copy of the six-figure offer letter from Canon that she turned down because she wanted to start her own business. She started my business in 2007 while working full-time and officially stepped away from the paycheck in August of 2012. In January 2013 Tai was named to the Small Business Influencer’s Top 100 List. She hosted a podcast (6,000 monthly downloads) wrote a book, and has spoken on stages across the country.
In 2015, Tai decided to join Leadpages (an award wining local start-up). There she designed the training program for their technical support team in how to use their platform and the fundamentals of online marketing. In 2017, she decided to relaunch my business; helping women of all shades and from all neighborhoods build bankable businesses around their message. Learn more about Tai at http://taigoodwin.com
Around 6:40: Mineela shares why she decided to pursue studies in Divinity and Therapy
She shares a bit about Sigmund Freud’s views on spirituality being a delusion. (If you want to read more about Freud on religion you could start with Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices (1907) )
Around 12:44: Mineela talks about the differences between faith, religion, and spirituality.
Around 16:13: We give a shout out to George Michael!
Around 20:19: We talk about the opposite viewpoints on religion either being a very positive and healing experiences with spiritual communities or a painful and traumatic experience. I talk about Karl Marx and his views on organized religion being “the opium of the masses” (it is a paraphrase) and we talk about the hero’s journey to see that view differently. She mentions Donald Miller as a reference and talks about the idea of organized religious communities representing the needed guide on that hero’s journey. I later mention Joseph Campbell who did extensive work on the hero’s journey, I specifically reference his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Around 41:57 Mineela ties trauma to religious text references, as she breaks down intergenerational trauma. She references the research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) (you can find TED Talks on this research) and we talk about epigenetics and how they make you more vulnerable to things like addictions. And then we discuss how to end this legacy of trauma.
As a Marriage & Family Therapist, Mineela Chand embodies empathy as she utilizes sophisticated, goal-oriented techniques that produce relief and results.
Possessing a manner that is both compassionate and charismatic, Mineela forms deep and emotional connections with clients as they explore the struggles in their lives. Whether sitting on the floor coloring with children or crying at clients’ stories of pain, she accesses a unique, authentic quality of caring that allows her and her clients to comfortably and effectively resolve the hold-ups and traumas keeping them from their full potential.
With over sixteen years of experience as a Marriage & Family Therapist, including four years working with children, and several more years of schooling and training, Mineela has developed a comprehensive practice that effectively aids individuals, couples and families suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, and ADHD.
Mineela loves her work. She takes pleasure watching people progress, happily saying “goodbye” to clients as they achieve their goals.