Let’s Talk About Minority Mental Health With Every Day #DayInTheLife Reflections

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

 

 

 

 

From Organizations

No More Martyrs hosted their annual Minority Mental Health Awareness Summit 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Health launched their #reclaimourstrength campaign 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From My Network

H.M. (like myself) fully appreciates Mystic Soul Project and what their existence means to their mental health. #support 

 

 

 

 

Trudean talks about issues and raises donations every year to support her local community check our her current fundraiser.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen shares about two of my loves, mental health and the arts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vannessa shares about mental health in the media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Moi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Dior Vargas

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Emily Wu Truong

The Necessity of Self-Care for Black Women Making History Everyday with Dr. Kesha Moore

 

Until Next Time…Peace, Love, and Wellness!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Grab a FREE copy of my Manifesto “Because Love Is” no email sign up required

 

When It Feels Like Your Body Is Failing You, It Affects Your Mind and Emotions Too

Before I started my business, I took a small business course at my local community college. At that time, I hadn’t found all the online business “gurus” and only knew about SBDC and local NJ entrepreneurship resources because of my community involvement. This was helpful because I got to understand business foundations and see the value in learning more than just “5 steps to growing your email list”.  At that time, I also didn’t have any intention to start an online business *gasp*. I was going to start a family owned cafe and bakery. I had a great idea for one that I had done research on and saw that there was no-one else in the area with this particular concept. The resources I had located told me to try a business course 1st to see how viable the idea was including, working at a job that would feel similar to the business you want to start…long story short, my lack of resources and my impatience and frustration working in hospitality let me know that the only way I’d own a cafe would be if I was simply the money person.

But let me backtrack. While in the course, the instructor asked us to discuss things like health policies. We all chuckled when those who had already ran businesses, (some brick and mortar) answered “don’t get sick”. I didn’t realize then how much that was no laughing matter.  But even more importantly, I didn’t realize what that type of answer would reveal about the culture of many businesses – from micro businesses like virtual assistance and online business management , to corporations including the incorporated nonprofit.

Our culture has an unspoken rule that illness is taboo. 

Even articles that I read about wellness programs are essentially saying ‘hurry up and be well so you can be a productive, highly engaged workhorse…err we mean workforce for our money making machine’. Ok I’m over exaggerating, but I’m not that far off. Because after being around and listening to the narratives of people who are chronically ill, who have had doctors that were so inclined to be the expert that they stop listening to their plea for care when they’ve told doctors that despite a clean bill of healthy “something isn’t right here”.  Or I’ve listened to those who have disabilities, some seen, others unseen, (like people with heart conditions) and I’ve heard how people treat them because they aren’t the right kind of sick. I’ve learned that mainstream doesn’t have a contingency plan for those who aren’t deemed contributors even when they really are…just not at the moment, or not in a way that fits contemporary expectations.

And truth be told, you have to have a radical self-love practice for your body to contend with the fact that illness is not tolerated for the long-haul and even attacked. 

And yes, this…rejection of your…being messes with your mind. It’s a close encounter with trauma. It’s traumatic to be you and be hated for no other reason than being yourself. And trauma was one of the causes for mental health disorder that came up in the research for my book on mental health and entrepreneurship over and over again. So, advocates like myself combat the trauma of being ostracized while also at the same time proactively encouraging and extending resources for healing.

This is why StigmaFighters exists. This is why large advocacy groups exists. And also why smaller grassroots who address the needs of people often left out in the bid for healthcare reform exists. This is why RadicalWell exists. And even why Love Yourself Love Your Business exists. Why do we have to be advocates even when we’re not mental health professionals? To decrease stigma yes, but really it’s about creating a shift in culture.

Wellness policies that reach beyond bringing in a personal trainer or “an app for that” (though those are important too) but also include health risk assessments, peer advocacy and support for leaders that offer up compassionate resources that say you don’t need to deny your illness and disease/illness management could go a long way. I think this concept of wellness at work is applicable for small business and micro business owners who may or may not be a 1 person shop just as much as it is for the big companies.

“Don’t get sick” is not a health care plan.

It denies our basic humanity and encourages mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. But really it encourages a culture that shames, stigmatizes and traumatizes our human experience. And quite frankly, we can do better than this.

Until Next Time…Peace, Love, and Wellness!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

What’s the deal with Minority Mental Health Awareness Month ?

To celebrate Minority Mental Health Awareness Month while cultivating my commitment to mental wellness and self-love on this blog, I invited our resident mental health expert back for an interview. Dr. Angela Clack decided to swing by to help us understand what this month is all about and offer up some tips for self-care, mental wellness advocacy and more!

You can listen to the recording by clicking here

About Dr. Angela Clack

Angela Clack PsyD LPC Licensed Psychotherapist practicing in New Jersey. She earned her doctorate in 2002 with a degree in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University, Washington, D.C. She has taught, supervised and provided training in specific areas related to children, youth and their families. Practicing in the field of mental health for over 15 years, Dr. Clack has developed a specialty in working with youth who have emotional and behavioral disturbances, learning difficulties, and youth and adults who present with trauma history and trauma related behaviors. She has worked extensively with youth in out of home placements, including residential treatment settings, secure juvenile facilities, and within the foster care system.

Dr. Clack has trained direct care counselors, social workers, and juvenile detention workers on topics such as suicide awareness and prevention, managing challenging youth with mental illness, sexuality and the sexualized child, social skills and effective communication.

Dr. Clack’s private practice treats adults and youth suffering from depression, anxiety, grief/loss, as well as general emotional distress and relationship/interpersonal problems.

Her approach to providing clinical care consists of teaching clients to recognize maladaptive patterns in their thinking and behaviors that have resulted in inefficient emotional and behavioral functioning. Through her work with her clients she seeks to empower individuals to live life to their fullest potential .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources mentioned in our interview

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month campaign by NAMI

Bebe Moore Campbell

• Learn more and Join us for our Sister Support Meetup in South Jersey for self-care activities and community support.

• Reach out to Dr. Clack at her private practice Clack Associates.

• Tune in to Dr. Clack’s Facebook Live chats on Wednesday nights. “The Virtual Coach with Dr. Angela” You can find her on Facebook using the hashtag #mentalhealthmedic

 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.