Mental Health Monday #40: Taboos in African communities, churchy stigmas, Tiffany Haddish on her mom's mental illness, etc.

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On last week's Mental Health Monday, Jay-Z opened up the benefits of therapy, a story about havig a panic attack at church, how GirlTrek is promoting wellness among Black women via walking, Aliya S. King wrote about how hiding mental illness almost killed her, and more. Check it out here


How is mental wellness handled in modern African or African descendant communities? The Grapevine hosted a panel of young Africans to discuss factors that affect how mental and emotional wellness are approached across the diaspora.

"Black Girl Going Mad" by Rivers Solomon [Guernica]

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies,” Bessel Van der Kolk argues in The Body Keeps the Score, his book on trauma and recovery. “The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort.” By sixth grade I’d already collected a small backpack’s worth of misfortunes. My mother, baffled, would stare at me as I cried inconsolably and begged her not to make me go to school. By the time I was a teenager, I was already familiar with the numerous ways a body could make itself into a stranger because of pain.

"Why It's Important This 'Girls Trip' Star Is Opening Up About Her Mom's Mental Illness" by T-Kea Blackman [The Mighty]

She couldn’t get all her words out, so she’d just punch me. Just full on. Because of her, I can take a punch like nobody’s business. Teachers would ask, ‘Why’s Tiffany’s lip busted?’ I didn’t say anything. As bad as she was to me, I still couldn’t help but love her.

"What You Learn Making a Film About Black Mental Health in the UK" by Tshepo Mokoena [VICE]

It took a few years to hit breaking point. In January 2015, when Keith Dube was 25, he decided to finally share his struggles with mental health, in the simplest way people have used for the past decade: a blogpost. He wrote about his depression, and coming to terms with his illness enough to face it head-on. But, unlike most people, within a year his stream-of-consciousness blog ended up leading him towards making a film for the BBC.

"Chicago Sky center Imani Boyette is helping break taboo on mental illness" by Terrika Foster-Brasby [The Undefeated]

Using poetry and her WNBA platform, Boyette has become an advocate for mental health, most recently serving as a spokeswoman and summer camp counselor for Sparks of Hope, a nonprofit in Portland, Oregon, that helps children who are survivors of abuse. Through her time speaking out for mental health awareness, she’s observed firsthand the difficulty African-Americans face when approaching this subject. “It is one of the biggest reasons that our community is so heavily afflicted,” said Boyette.

Why is mental illness such a taboo issue in Black churches?

"Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill Founder Commits Suicide in Factory" by Paula Rogo

Lowell Hawthorne, the founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, committed suicide Saturday evening in his Bronx factory, according to police.

The founder died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 57.

And because we should all take more opportunities to seek out joy: