Spotlight Interview & Mental Wellness Resources


Guest Contributor:

Lexis Green


What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through

your area of expertise?

One of the ways I promote Mental Health and Wellness is through facilitating conference calls for Black women

and men every month. We discuss many topics, from maternal mortality, mental health, and toxic masculinity just to name a few. I also promote mental health and wellness through my social media

accounts. Aside from that, I am also apart of a community called “Be The Tree” which is a Rites to Passage program I completed 3 years ago. The focus of the program is to empower women mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.


What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?

Black Mental Wellness hits close to home for me. At the age of 34 my mother was diagnosed

with Schizophrenia and Bipolar. Aside from my mother receiving her diagnoses my oldest

brother was diagnosed with the same diagnoses at the age of 27. Black Mental Wellness is something I speak to everyone about because it has impacted my life dramatically. Black Mental Wellness includes work stressors, unhealthy relationships, neighborhood concerns, living situations, racism, monthly bills, stability, security, etc. So many things can challenge your psyche and cause worry and stress that can cause us to burn out. I believe it is our responsibility to pay attention to our mental health state. We need to be able to seek help and receive proper care. We need access to a Black therapist in our communities because there is an understanding of the culture. Also, we should be consistent with our Black mental wellness.


Do you have experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to

share with the black mental wellness audience?

Fall of 2018 I became worried about my mental health. I found myself worrying and stressing

over little things, that I was never fearful of before. My mood was very low. I found myself being sad, angry, frustrated and fearful often. For 2 months I studied my moods and thinking patterns. I noticed my thoughts were negative and unhealthy. My mentor suggested that I attend therapy at Black Women’s Blueprint, located in Brooklyn, NY. October 2018 is when I started therapy and it was the best decision I could have made for myself. I have been able to receive support, from a safe environment, where I felt comfortable enough to share what was going on inside.


What wellness strategies do you think should be given more attention within the Black community? Are there any reasons why you think they are not given more attention?

The wellness strategies that I think should be given more attention within the Black communities are meditation, breath work, yoga, journaling, and therapy.

Meditation

Meditation is not popular in Black communities because people are unaware of its benefits. However, it helps with having a peace of mind and tranquility. It allows us to be present and enjoy the moment. Also, mediation classes in Black communities is rare.


Breath Work

Breathing has to do with inhaling and exhaling, but it is really about the energy.

Breathing helps with being claim, clarity, and releasing the unnecessary stress that lives in our bodies. Breathing is heavily connected to the mind, body, and soul.


Yoga

Yoga is another holistic approach to wellness. I believe it is practiced in Black communities, but it is not popular. Yoga is not something that is heavily promoted in our homes. We have to get into a habit of explaining how yoga is good for our health and wellness.


Journaling

Journaling is a fantastic strategy that I use daily. I do believe people underestimate the

power in writing down your feelings, thoughts, and ideas. I think it goes back to, “how is this helping

me?”


Nature

I think in many Black communities it is hard to be in nature because of limited access.

Being in nature is not promoted in our communities. We have to look at what is being advertised to us.


Therapy

Seeking and receiving therapy is a major problem in Black communities mainly because of the stigma around therapy and mental health. Also, depending on your household you might believe prayer will solve the problem. In Black communities, mental health is still a taboo, even though it is common. Also, we are not comfortable with therapy because we are taught that something is wrong with us if we do seek help. There are also barriers for Black people receiving proper care from mental health professionals, like cultural competence. There is a negative view of therapy and that is why some Black people will not go.




Mental Wellness Resources in NYC

  • Black Women’s Blueprint - Nonprofit organization for Black women. Offer free counseling for Black women.

  • Healhaus Wellness Center - Offers yoga, meditation, stress relief classes, and workshops on mental health wellness

  • Harlem Wellness Center - Nonprofit organization that offers yoga, meditation, stress reduction, wellness circles,and retreats.

  • New York Open Center - Wellness center that offers Thai Yoga, Sound Healing, Shiatsu, Reiki, Reflexology, and deep tissue massage.

  • Vibrant Emotional Health – Organization that connects individuals and families with emotional support and care when, where, and how they need it.

  • Community Counseling & Mediation - Outpatient mental health clinics that offer innovative, culturally sensitive treatment services.

  • NYC Well- Free 24/7 crisis counseling information & linkage to mental health services.

Guest Contributor

Lexis Kiara Green grew up in the multicultural part of Brooklyn, New York. She has always had an infinity for community development. Her area of expertise includes community organizing, facilitating, mental health advocacy, and acting. She was raised in a single-parent household by her mother. At the age of 34 her mother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Bipolar. The diagnoses stripped Lexis and her siblings of their sole provider. As she became older, Lexis began to research mental health in America. She graduated from SUNY Albany with a BA in Psychology. Lexis is currently working towards a Masters degree in Social Work. She continues to facilitate monthly conference calls and events for Black women and men.


#BlackMentalWellness #MentalHealth #Therapy #Coping #Wellness

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