Owner of Pro’ta’jay Productions
Author of “The Keys Of Life”, “The Keys 2 Life”, “Lessons Learned” and “The Struggle Is Real”
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
I believe that Black Mental Wellness is very important and necessary because your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Mind and body works together. In the Black community, there is still a stigma towards mental health. That is the reason why people don't want to get help.
How do you promote change and well-being in the Black community?
As a mental health advocate, I try to promote mental health awareness in my community using media. With my company Pro'ta'jay Productions, I have created different projects gearing towards mental health awareness. I've done short films, performed One Woman Stage shows about it, written books and created mental health pamphlets. I also put together a mental health day for the community and I've hosted mental health panels. I often share my story about my personal battle with mental illness to help others so they can see that just because you have a mental illness, it doesn't mean you can't live a normal life and achieve great things.
What are some upcoming events you are leading, that promote mental health and wellness, that you would like for our Black Mental Wellness audience to know about?
I don't have the exact dates set but I am planning on doing more mental health days and panels. I will also be doing more promotional events for my new novel "The Struggle Is Real" which is available on amazon. For more updates you can just visit my website, www.eclecticone.com
Tell us about your educational and/or professional training, and current area of expertise related to mental health and wellness?
I am a certified mental health aid. I was trained to know what to do if someone is in distress or how to get help for someone. I decided to do the training so that I can be a service to someone who may need help.
How can we encourage more people to seek mental health treatment?
We need to get the word out there. I tell people all the time that having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. If you had diabetes you would have to take insulin to stay healthy and well. Having a mental illness is the same thing, for me to stay well, I have to take my medication and go to therapy.
What are your recommendations for ending stigma in the Black community?
We need to educate more people in the Black community about mental health. Treat mental health just the same as physical health. They are both important. I would also say to start with the younger people. It breaks my heart every time I see a child committing suicide because of being bullied or because they may have mental problems. Most of the children that I saw were African American. That is unacceptable, we really need to educate everyone on mental health to end the stigma.
Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?
I have been in therapy and medication for almost 20 years. I have gone through different doctors and medications in my time. When you first go to get treated it takes a while before they find the right combination. Once they found the right combination for me, I started feeling better. It hasn't always been easy and there is no cure but it is manageable.
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?
No matter what is going on, I try to put aside time for myself. Sometimes I even make a schedule. For example, every Monday at 11pm is my relaxation session where I listen to slow jams and play Wheel Of Fortune on the PS4. Whoever is reading this, don't judge me, it really relaxes me. It's important to me to have time for myself.
What are your top 5 favorite wellness and self-care strategies?
Jessica Baggett was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1986. Even as a child, everyone knew that there was something special about her. She was apart of the media magnet program at Henry Snyder High School. She then graduated from New Jersey City University with a degree in Media Arts. She has been writing and producing since early adolescence. For a span of over 20 years, Jessica has written and produced music, plays, short films, 1 Woman Shows and etc. She also started her own production company “Pro’ta’jay Productions.” Her literary career started with the release of her first book “The Keys Of Life.” She went on to write the sequel “The Keys 2 Life” and her third book “Lessons Learned.” This book “The Struggle Is Real” is based on her life dealing with a chronic mental health condition at an early age. Although she has been through it, she has accomplished so much and as a mental health advocate she is destined to make a huge difference in this world.