Updated: Feb 1, 2021
Author of Short Stories for the Kid
Publisher & Stategiest
Tell us about your educational and/or professional training, and current area of expertise related to mental health and wellness?
The facet of Communications is exceptionally expansive, Change Management, Public Relations, Communications Coordinator, Specialist, etc. However, you scale it, change is constant. The scope of Communications is vast, and thus is ever changing, and continuously expanding. In my experience, my expertise of a Communications Specialist has been engagement, facilitation, and detail. My niche is my deliberate intention to place myself in the fate of my audience. In Change Management, I purposefully need to place myself at the receiving end of the output of my work. The same is for writing. As an Author, the need to deliberately place yourself in the seat of your reader; what will they search for? What will they gravitate to? And so on. It is parallel to the place you write from.
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise (yoga instructor, clergy, mental health professional, etc.)?
As a PCV, I sought understanding of humanity. The duplicity of being a 24/7 Volunteer, and being a person, caught me at odds with myself. The entanglement led me to refine my coping mechanisms and my strategies for my mental health awareness. I was on my way to becoming certified as a doula. My cousin Britney introduced her friend, DeAndra. She was a DONA trained Birth Doula, in the Peace Corps. While I was a PCV, I found consistency was key to my integration, my safety and my character. But the mental strain was like nothing I had ever experienced before. As a PCV, you lose privacy, worldly comforts, and your self-identity takes a reality check. For those reasons and more, I had to self-charge. I had to create a dynamic idea for what taking care of myself really was.
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?
I make time for myself by saying no, to everything else. I go directly to the source. I turn on the mentality for noise canceling, and I immerse myself into just one thing.
What resources do you find most helpful to encourage mental health and wellness?
Resources I find most helpful and encouraging to my mental health and wellness are people. People is the secret ingredient, but also poisonous if you get it wrong. I desire people, but the failure when getting it wrong is so devastating and stunting that when you get it wrong, it has the effect to never make you want to try at it again. On the other hand, independent activities are my favorite as well. Writing, Reading, Walking, and Yoga are healers for me. Anything where I can simultaneously go to a silent place, and move, is my heaven.
What are your recommendations for ending stigma in the Black community?
I think people find introspection in moments they give the offering of that which is, ourselves. I believe this is a selfless act of gratitude, and a gateway to launching ourselves to seek the mental time, and refinement we require. I believe a remedy to ending black stigmas is to humanize ourselves. For centuries, the black identity has been discarded. The multitude of customs we are a makeup of is divisively taken a part, and the remainder is discarded into a bin that is sent into an abyss. Out of sight out of mind we are. Sure, individually we have the quality and the quantity of experiences that zeal our Black identity. However, the stigma attacks the urgent perception of Black peoples. It is a possibility, those in disbelief of this perception are blinded so much that the Black stigma may not exist in their reality, and so the blind spot is a vulnerable place of manipulation. The animated book “Short Stories for the Kid,” demonstrates unity, representation, and the reality of a population of Black Americans whose realities are unified, and who want to see healing through mainstream media that has largely contributed to the deficit of Black people.
Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?
My journey with mental health treatment began when my Mother taught me how to kneel, and talk to God. My Aunts Noni and Gracie taught me how to read the bible. And my Aunt Sandy would take me to the book store to read up books. About 16-years-old, my own bible was gifted to me by Nika Carson. I revisited my mental health in college, while attending Western Michigan Univ., I joined Way of Life Family Christian Center, led by Pastor Jeffery Boggan, and First lady Pastor Valerie Boggan. One day, I had asked to speak with Pastor Val. She immediately made time, and she talked with me so honestly about healing. But I couldn’t handle it. I had feelings I had never released, so I carried around reactions that manifested themselves, and during that conversation so much came over me I was not quite aware of; or why, or how they’d gotten there. Needless to say, I checked out of the conversation, and I never asked again to speak one on one.
After leaving college, I carried with me the residue of these trapped feelings. Stubbornly, I yearned for more independence, and refused to go home. I ended stayed with my God Mother, and honorary God Father, Kim and Jeff. Kim spoke so candidly on therapy. I decided to shop around for my own therapist, and I discovered Hillary Baldwin Steller, LMSW.
When I began seeing her, it became uncomfortably clear to me why I came, and what I was grappling with. As time went on, we cultivated a language, and a truth. I became more honest. Thinking back, I now realize I made a mistake with my first therapist, Hillary. I believed for a time she was my friend. She truly was my perfect therapist. But she was
my therapist, not my friend.
My last, but not final experience in seeking mental health treatment was the landmark forum. It was not therapy, but intense introspection. Very intense. It is difficult to sum into words because it was an experience, I allowed myself to experience. Going back to the decision making and creating of realities; Landmark unpacked just that. I can say Landmark helped me to help myself arrive at a place I could start over. A place where I could close doors, and open new ones. For me, Landmark gave me the tools to make it make sense, and how to do things, the right way.
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
Black Mental Wellness to me, is stillness over the mind. When I think of ‘what is Black Mental Wellness?’, I see, ‘Peace, Be Still’.
The interactive animation book, Short Stories for the Kid was written to promote principle, to demonstrate positive representation, and to build children’s literacy skills. Short Stories for the Kid amplifies brown girls through illustration, positive perception, and popular reading. Recommended for ages 5-10, grades 1-5; download the moving animation book on the Apple Books app, and encourage your reader to build their reading skills, today!
Raven B. Thompson is an American Author, Strategist and Philanthropist. She is the CEO of Swinton & Stallworth Publishing and Creator of the brand, FortheKid. Raven wrote and self-published her first book. An interactive Children’s Book, Short Stories for the Kid in honor of her Mother, Beverly E. Thompson M. Ed. The interactive animation book, Short Stories for the Kid was written to promote principle, to demonstrate positive representation, and to build children’s literacy skills. Short Stories for the Kid amplifies brown girls through illustration, positive perception, and popular reading techniques. Recommended for ages 5-10, grades 1-5 and available on the Apple Books app, today. Raven served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia. She volunteered in the sector of Education. She worked together with counterparts and her towns municipality to build upon Children’s reading, digital literacy, curriculum, and their confidence to explore opportunities within, and outside of the Dmanisi community. She attributes her mantra of ‘People Need People’ to her life experience of living, and working overseas. Raven applies real-world concepts learned in Peace Corps service to serve Detroit's seventh District, with the Joy- Southfield Community Development Corporation, respectively, JSCDC. She serves as a Community Engagement and Special Projects Coordinator, and works to identify, engage, cultivate, and steward current and prospective donors in expanding their financial support. The organization deploys services and programs to meet the direct needs of District 7 residents, and the community. Prior to, she was a Communications Specialist, Project Coordinator responsible to deliver change management in support of internal and external communications in workplaces. She worked on the Ultimate Software Human Resource Information System (HRIS) Implementation, for the City of Detroit, and the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Software Implementation, for a national Catholic health system, Trinity Health. Raven is a life-long member of the First African-American Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated. Download the interactive Children’s book, Short Stories for the Kid exclusively on the Apple Books app. You can search her book under the pseudonym, Raven Brenda. Find out more information on FortheKid, visit forthekid.co.