Blog

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...

We’ve Been Too Patient-Brooklyn Book Launch

Last Tuesday (July 9th), I gathered with fellow mental health advocates and my brilliant co-editor, L.D. Green, for the launch of our first book, "We've Been Too Patient: Stories and Research Challenging the Bio-medical Model." Published by North Atlantic Books and distributed by Penguin Random House- we were so excited to have an official launch at McNally Bookstores in Brooklyn with coverage by CSPAN! Our families and friends joined and listened to a reading of the contributors along with a panel discussion about mental health and stigma. Things got REAL- quickly. Our contributors have stories of force holds, electroconvulsive  therapy, involuntary treatment, stigma, oppression, and isolation. Trying to reframe what the world has been told and sold about mental "illness" is not an ea...

O Magazine & Going Very Public

My story of surviving a suicide attempt and living will be shared in the 2019 January Edition of O Magazine. From high schools to large auditoriums, I've told my story in many places, and sometimes people ask my why. Why share the most vulnerable parts of yourself? I want other black women and women of color to know.... that our stories matter and we have these experiences too. Of being isolated and alone. Of not wanting to be here anymore.  My story is for anyone who can connect to it, but especially from those of us who have been erased from the conversation entirely. The response has been incredible, but it is risky for a suicide attempt survivor to go public and share intimate details. There is a backlash of course ( you can't believe what trolls say)- but being vulnerable IS being b...

CBS This Morning with Gayle King

Last week, I joined a suicide attempt survivor panel discussion facilitated by Gayle King [reaction blog coming] on The CBS This Morning Show. The conversation touched on myths of suicide, hope and recovery, and informs how friends and family can be supportive to someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. Here is the segment that aired:-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWVcfj9xVOk At Gayle King's encouragement, CBS took the painstaking time to edit the full hour-long conversation and put it online. It’s right here: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/suicide-attempt-survivors-offer-insight-and-a-message-of-hope/

Good Morning America Blog-Post

By Katie Kindelan With the shocking deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain still fresh in our minds and dramatic new statistics showing suicides on the rise, we’re all grappling with how pervasive and devastating suicide is. Around 1.4 million in the United States alone are estimated to attempt suicide every year. Someone in your life could be struggling right now and you may not even realize it, experts say. Behind the statistics of suicide attempts are real people, survivors, who struggled in their darkest days and were able to break through. “They’ve been there and they’ve made it out alive,” said Stacey Freedenthal, a psychotherapist and educator in Denver who is a suicide attempt survivor. “They are people who were on the edge of death and then go on and continue...

California Statewide Prevention Plan

Last week, I was invited along with suicide loss survivors, therapists, and researchers to present recommendations to California's Statewide Suicide Prevention. Highlights from Kelechi Ubozoh's Written Statement to MHSOAC - MHSOAC Question: How are suicide/ suicide attempts experienced in communities of color? What is are some reasons suicide is underreported for people of color?  There is a widespread misconception amongst many mental health professionals and researchers, that suicide is not a problem in black communities. However, this is not true. Recent studies show that nationwide, suicides among black children under 18 are up 71 percent in the past decade, rising from 86 in 2006 to 147 in 2016, the latest year such data is available from the Centers for Dis...