Blog

2021 Mental Health Champion!!!

Full of Mad Black Pride, She Tells Her Story and Helps Others Tell Theirs By Rob Waters Kelechi Ubozoh spent her childhood straddling two different worlds. She spent summers with her Nigerian father in New York, where she was born, and the rest of the year in suburban Atlanta, where her African American mother worked as a doctor. In Georgia, “I just didn’t fit in,” she says. “I was a Black Goth in Stone Mountain, Georgia.” (Which also happens to be a birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan.)  Feeling split and out of place became a regular feeling. By 13, she was contemplating suicide, and for the next decade, she struggled on and off with depression. What helped her most was the support of peers – people who’d been through similar experiences and were willing to help. In the end...

Black on Purpose

April is National Poetry Month. I'm starting early and sharing my poetic anthem born in Thea Matthew's Writing for Poetry and Resiliency class. Poetry is part of my healing and self-care. What is your personal anthem? Photo by: Adrianne Mathiowetz Black on Purpose By: Kelechi Ubozoh I am Black on purpose Magic in my DNA There is power in my lineage  Strength and sweat with my ancestors Dance in my hips and love in my bones I am Black on purpose Why else would they try to break my heart, mind, and body?  Silence my words? Brainwash my intellect? I am Black on purpose Not to serve you, save you, or reflect you I am Black on purpose, but not your Black heroine  Liberation whispered as libations are poured Altars built from...

Black Futures Month Never Ends

In December of 2017, my co-conspirator Cassandra Dallett (the other 1/2 of MoonDrop Productions) and I held the most magnificent reading. It was a reading inspired by the San Francisco Exhibit: The Black Woman is God created by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green. The Black Woman is God Exhibit celebrates Black women, culture, and spirituality through musical, performing, and visual arts. Our inspired performers paid tribute to these divine artists. We heard stories about pain, laughter, and light. We heard music that made us crave our old crushes and ignited us to dance it out. We watched women receive honors for their community organizing work with The Black Panthers. We held sorrow and moved in joy. It is a balancing act to be Black in this world. I think about the collective healing our ...

The S Word is on Amazon Prime: Behind the Documentary

In 2015, I was approached by Lisa Klein, a documentarian, who lost both her father and brother to suicide. Her previous documentary, Of Two Minds, explored living with bipolar and she was looking for stories from suicide attempt survivors and loss survivors for a new film, The S Word (which is open for interpretation-"suicide", "silence","stigma", "struggle" and "survive"). She said she started the film because she was looking for answers about her family. At the time, I had just called off my engagement and was navigating my own despair... How could I share my story as a suicide attempt survivor during deep grief? I was so worried about having the "right" recovery story--especially since I felt a sense of deep responsibility to represent the "black community". I also grappled wi...

Suicide Prevention Week: Reflections & Events

Yale Mental Health Symposium https://www.theyalementalhealthsymposium.com/ Update: Next week on September 15th, I'll be joining the Yale Mental Health Symposium on their Hospital Panel. Register to all the events kicking off this week for free! https://www.theyalementalhealthsymposium.com/ This week is Suicide Prevention Week- a time to reflect and heavily outreach around suicide prevention, awareness, and interrupting silence and stigma. This week is usually pretty busy for me and it also feels vey different because of the kind of conversations I'm having. People want to talk more about race and mental health, more communities of color are reaching out to have dialogue and I am grateful and overwhelmed at the experience. I found this incredible graphic by The Depression Proje...

Reimagining Self-Care for Black Folks

By: Kelechi Ubozoh There are thousands of thought-provoking pieces on the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter Movement, unemployment, civil unrest, police brutality, and the economy. Meanwhile, we are still here. Some of us barely holding on and feeling so much grief. I am a black woman in deep pain. I'm watching the ongoing violence against my community and knowing that we are also dying at higher rates from this virus. What can we do about promoting our own healing? Holding space for all this discourse and our own mental health may feel unbearable. Let me tell you something, your mental health is vital. What is happening right now is collective trauma underscored by generational trauma. Every time I see photos, videos, and images of black folks being murdered that is ...

Staying Connected while Isolated

As someone with lived experience of mental health issues, this is an important time to consider our collective experiences and diverse needs and talk about some things that might be helpful for us to consider while we are home. I've found isolation helpful and harmful, and the thought of required isolation an entirely new experience. Many of us might be feeling an array of emotions. From fear, to numbness, to anger, exhaustion, calmness, and peace- there are an array of things that might be activated. When there are a lot of unknowns, there may be an urgency to fix or plan or figure things out.  I want to say that your feelings are valid and sometimes, (through possible good intentions) people may try to censor or change your feelings. Many of us have questions about the future, safety,...

Mental Health for the Holidays PodCast

L.D. and I got a chance to speak with Cassandra Dallett- Author and Host of Badass Bookworm Podcast about Mental Health for the Holidays. We talk about chosen family, talking about loved ones we've lost, boundaries during the holidays with bio family and self-care meaning more than a bubble bath. Check the Podcast out Here. If you are feeling lonely and would love to chat- (and you live in California) reach out to the Peer Chat Warmline at 1-855-845-7415.  And I also want to give love to the Translifeline, run by amazing transfolx at 1-877-565-8860.    

We’ve Been Too Patient Updates & Mental Health for the Holidays

We've Been Too Patient Updates: LD and I spent the summer and fall talking about the book across various venues like Upfront with Cat Brooks on KPFA, CSPAN 2,  and Letters and Politics on KPFA with Mitch Jeserich. Our amazing contributors read at Books Inc. in Berkeley, the Bindery in San Francisco, and at Oakland Public Library. Our publisher shared that Boston University is using WBTP in their curriculum, and we are heading to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) to present in San Antonio, Texas in March of 2020.  [Come see us!] Overwhelmed and inspired by the movement that continues... Peer Certification Updates: Sadly, California did not pass Peer Certification due to budget concerns and questions from the Governor. Advocates continue to work and h...

Peer Certification in California (Getting Closer)

What is Peer Certification?  This month I spoke in support of Peer Certification- something that 48 other states have- Peer Certification refers to a certification process where people who have lived experience of mental health issues and/or substance use issues receive training in that experience and use it to support others  through treatment and recovery. Their time is billed (though the rates could use some help), but their support is seen as services in the mental health system. As progressive as California is- we don't have this here. What did I say in support of the SB10 Peer Certification Bill?  Thank you, Senator Bell, the OAC, and the Steinburg Institute for Sponsoring this bill. Thank you to all of the mental health advocates and grassroots organizations who have been working...