I’m sure you are familiar with the famous saying, “Know better, do better,” but how often do you know better and still decide not to do better? I’m sure it is more times than you want to admit. This is a judgment free zone; so don’t worry you can tell me the truth. While chatting with Brooks of the American Heart Association, I realized how misleading that quote is. Just because you know that eating healthy and being physically active will help you have a healthy heart and live longer doesn’t mean that you will adjust your lifestyle accordingly.Read More
He Named Me Malala is a riveting film documenting the life ad obstacles challenged by Malala and her father. In 2012, the Taliban boarded Malala's school bus with the intention to kill her by shooting her in the head. Miraculously Malala survived and continued to advocate even more diligently for access to education for not only the children in her county, but children all over the world. Malala is the epitome of resilient and exudes the motto we have for Don't Die Afraid.Read More
Today is December 1st, World AIDS Day! The best way to celebrate is in song and dance. So of course, Hotline Bling is the best choice for this. But I'm not talking about the regular Hotline Bling- I'm talking about the safe sex remix! World AIDS Day Hotline Bling REMIX! Oh yeah! This jam is guaranteed to get your inner Drake to shine.
Every other week on Don't Die Afraid, will be dedicated to a topic around mental health.
Did you think I was joking when I said #BlackMHM is going viral? I hope you didn't, because I was serious.
The first couple of posts/videos will give you a foundation about why mental health is important to me. My passion for mental health has always existed but #HillDay15 reignited my fire. I am pursuing my Masters in Public Health, which is a degree that allows me to work in a plethora of career fields. After attending #HillDay15, hosted by The National Council for Behavioral Health I became seriously interested in careers around mental health. The event was dynamic, I learned about policy, various organizations in the field, took a blurry selfie with Dr. Oz, shared my experiences on camera for a PSA, and met some amazing people.
The room was full of professionals who dedicate their lives to advocacy, providing service, and breaking the stigma. Then there was me- I found out about the event through Twitter and didn't have class that day so I signed up to attend. Before arriving, I didn't know what to expect. I thought it was open to the public but once I was there, I felt a little under-qualified. That feeling quickly dissolved after hearing how impressed people were after I told them that I attended out of pure passion for behavioral health. Although we all care about the topic, they were attending based on this opportunity being "a part of their job", whereas I attended because it was "a part of my heart".
After an assessment of the room, I no longer felt out-of-place. I belonged there. Others like myself belonged there too those who are not in the field but have a genuine passion, millennials, and black people. This realization gave birth to #BlackMHM, Black Mental Health Makeover.
Through the social media campaign, over 20 people have posted photos about mental health and started the conversation on their social media with friends. I have been able to reach those individuals who should have been in the room with me for #HillDay15. It is eye-opening and refreshing because I never imagined to receive all this support. A lot of the people who joined the campaign, don't frequently discuss mental health on their outlets so I had no clue that they were interested. Seeing my idea become a catalyst for in-depth conversations about these issues warms my heart. I HOPE to host an event in July 2016 for Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, *fingers double crossed, speaks it into existence*.
Thank you to The National Council for Behavioral Health and all of the partners (DBSA, The Jed Foundation, Mental Health America, NAMI, and Sunovion) for adding fuel to my fire for mental health and to everyone who has joined my movement. It's not too late to participate; all you have to do is post a black and white photo on social media with a caption about mental health to spark a conversation with your followers. Then include the #BlackMHM and tag me @DontDieAfraid.
You do not have to be black to support my movement. It is titled, "Black Mental Health Makeover" because that is the community I identify with, so I know the deeply rooted issues we have with mental health stigma. My amazing Italian high school friend, Amanda participated to show her support and her caption spoke about why she feels mental health stigma should be broken.
Now Tell Me What’s On Your Mind: Have you ever initially felt out-of-place at an event but in the end, you realized it was exactly where you needed to be? Comment below to let me know; I would love to hear what you have to say.
Why is being a hypochondriac a bad thing? Maybe these people are just super cautious and concerned about their health. With my latest health scare, I'm scared but I wouldn't consider myself a hypochondriac.Read More
The war on women's bodies presents itself in many forms. It usually dresses up as sexual assault, pro-life, pro-choice, female genital mutilation, and all those other important issues that we rather avoid talking about. It never fails to make a grand entrance on the stage during election time. The war I'm talking about is frequently accepted as normal conversation. "When are you going to have kids?"
The truth is when I can afford them and when I'm ready to have someone else become the focus of my life. When children are in the picture, it's not about you anymore.
Do these people who ask this question realize:
some women don't want children
some women have reproductive difficulty
some women just don't want you in their business
some women (me) are busy enjoying their lives without a dependent
If I plan on having children and it was any of your business- I'd let you know. In recent years, the American Journal of Public Health reported that about half of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended.
I'm preoccupied building the foundation for my legacy so no, I don't intend to have children anytime soon. Yes, I dream about the day I will have my own little family, a nice house, a cute little girl with chubby cheeks just like me. Last month the beau and I spent about five hours with my supervisor's 8 month old baby, Maya, and that experience reaffirmed the path I'm on right now is exactly where I should be.
So today November 10, 2015 I would like to say "Thanks, Birth Control," for having my back- keeping me on this childless path, making my cramps disappear, and shortening the days I have to wear black pants because of my paranoia. Bedsider created this cute little song that exemplifies my gratitude for my birth control.
For y'all who aren't aware -Bedsider is an amazing "online birth control support network for women 18-29 operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private non-profit organization. Bedsider is not funded by pharmaceutical companies. Or the government. Bedsider is totally independent and the info on it is honest and unbiased. Our goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that's it."
In my own words, they are "the bomb.org"
I've known about them for years because my sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. has a partnership with the National Campaign so Bedsider provided us with shirts years ago that said, "The best sex is safe sex." They are a great resource for everything birth control- learning the different methods, videos from real women and men discussing their candid experiences with contraception, friendly birth control reminders sent straight to your phone, and my favorite, "Frisky Fridays" which are weekly emails about sex, life, and love (*wink wink* they teach you a lot- you don't want to miss them).
November 10, 2015 - we are celebrating Thanks Birth Control #ThxBirthControl it is an awareness campaign that makes birth control a fun and important topic to talk about. Join the movement now by posting a selfie with the hashtag #ThxBirthControl, sharing one of their funny postcards, or just starting a conversation with your friends about it. As for me, I'll proudly wear one of my cute shirts. Which shirt should I wear?
Bedsider has such clever shirts, buy one here so we can match. They are only $10!
For some intense fun and laughs join Modern Day Matchmaker Paul C. Brunson and expert guests, including celebrity OBGYN Dr. Drai for a Spreecast chat about sex, love, and relationships on Tuesday, November 10th at 8PM. Register here (it’s free), and share it with those who might be interested.
Paul is talented, I heard him on a panel at Blogalicious. I know and love Dr. Drai, he keeps it real, raw, and will have you dying laughing.
Now It's Your Turn: Are you a supporter of birth control why or why not? Why do you think it is so controversial for us to even talk about contraception? Comment below to let me know; I would love to hear what you have to say.
When you have a sprained ankle -- you rest it, ice it, use compression, and elevate it. When you have back pain- you apply ice and heat, exercise, and adjust the way you sleep.
When you have allergies- you pop a Zyrtec, Clarinex, Allegra, Alavert, Claritin or some natural remedy you found on Google.
When you have a mental health issue- you act like it doesn't exist because you are too ashamed.
Does that bother you? It bothers me.
I have been contemplating ways to introduce posts about mental health on my blog but I never had a full plan ready to execute. Once I found out about the foolishness Meek Mill said about Wale, I knew I couldn't wait any longer. Celebrity gossip and the happenings of their lives are never topics that I stay abreast on, but Black Twitter filled me in about the Meek Mill vs. Wale fiasco.
Let me fill you in: During a conversation on The Breakfast Club, Wale mentioned mental health issues. Wale has shared in previous interviews about his battle with depression, substance abuse, and not being content with his level of success. So it was very clear that he wasn't joking, these sentiments are also expressed on, The Album About Nothing.
Then he was asked to make some statements about the Meek Mill vs. Drake, which Meek Mill got offended by. Instead of handling his anger like a grown man, Meek decided to post a photo on Instagram and included the following sentence in his caption: "We don't wanna hear you nomore Fam! Go jump off a roof like you been tryna do chump!"
After reading Meek Mill's Instagram post and the reactions on Twitter, I knew this was my opportunity to insert my 22 cents about mental health. Many folks on Twitter were angry about Meek's comments but their responses circled around, "If Wale commits suicide then Meek should feel horrible." This type of approach actually makes light of the situation and makes it seem as though, suicide and mental health issues are appropriate joke topics as long as the person you are talking about doesn't take the joke seriously. That is the farthest thing from the truth. It takes a lot of fearlessness to share about battling with mental health, so to take advantage of someone in that powerful moment is disturbing.
In communities of color, we frequently succumb to the stigma surrounding mental health. I want to start a movement that combats that. My movement is #BlackMHM for Black Mental Health Makeover. I need your help to spread the word!
JOIN THE MOVEMENT:
- Join my e-mail list, I'll be sending out research about mental health and ways you can get involved in breaking the stigma.
- Post a black and white photo with a caption that raises awareness about mental health. Don't know what to write? Share why mental health matters to you, why other people should care, or suggest a way to break the stigma. Add the hashtag #BlackMHM and tag me @DontDieAfraid
- On YouTube please subscribe, comment, like, and share my videos so this movement can grow. I have a ton of links in the description box of the video that are resources and some of my favorite bloggers who bring awareness to mental health.
Update on the #BlackMHM Movement: