african american mental health en How Music Saved Me from Depression, Alcoholism, and Suicide <span>How Music Saved Me from Depression, Alcoholism, and Suicide</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Thu, 04/26/2018 - 00:00</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Brandon Fox, <a href="" target="_blank">Recording Artist</a></em></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Boy%20in%20Window.jpg" width="100%"></p> <p>It started with a “something’s wrong” text.</p> <p>That led to a question amongst the family - <em>what’s going on?</em></p> <p>When the issue of mental health entered my family’s life, we tried to keep it hidden. Even after losing my father to alcohol, depression, and suicide - while&nbsp;my mother suffered from bipolar disorder, I was still writing music that wouldn’t dare to scratch the surface of mental illness.</p> <p>Mental health was just never a topic of conversation. I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, where my parents raised my two brothers and I. My parents built the perfect foundation to raise a family and I grew up with the love and support any kid would dream about. When it came sports and music, my parents were my number one fans.</p> <p>That was until 2015 came around. Mental health created a snowball effect that attacked our family like cancer.</p> <p>My mother started showing signs of bipolar disorder and my father turned to the bottle. As my mother's symptoms intensified, my father’s drinking did too.</p> <p>Just four weeks prior to the birth of my son, I received the&nbsp;phone call nobody ever wants to get. My father took his own life.</p> <p>I sank into depression and was on a downhill path quite like my father’s. I woke up not caring, abusing alcohol, and suicidal.</p> <p>The only things that got me out of that dark place were family, friends, and music.</p> <p>I distinctly remember having a conversation with my manager about the direction of the album. I was making songs, but I wasn’t telling my story. Once I decided to treat my writing process as therapy, everything started to fall into place.</p> <p>In the summer of 2017, the album was finished, but there was one more thing to do. With mental health factoring in as a substantial part of my family’s life, I wanted to help spread awareness throughout the world.</p> <p>Mental Health America (MHA), a nonprofit advocacy organization established in 1909 and the country’s leading community-based nonprofit for mental health, was the answer.</p> <p>After speaking with a few representatives from MHA, it was apparent that I was working with the right organization. With each person I spoke with, whether it was through email or phone, I was treated with the utmost respect and professionalism.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">MHA and I have partnered up to spread awareness for mental health across the country. I will be donating the proceeds from my first year's album sales to their organization. This will just be the first of many steps to assist in bringing awareness to this monumental issue.</a></p> <p>I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to give back and I want to sincerely thank everyone that has allowed this to happen. I also want to thank anyone that is becoming part of this movement.</p> <p>In life, we all go through a lot, keeping things bottled up inside much of the time. It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone.</p> <p>I hope this piece provides comfort. The ups and downs of life should never deter you from your goals and dreams. Too often I hear the 'shoulda, woulda, coulda' stories. Don’t let the excuses of life hold you back from whatever it is you want in life.</p> <p>The power of passion is immeasurable.</p> <hr> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Brandon%20Fox.jpg" style="border-width: 10px; border-style: solid; border-color: transparent; float: left; width: 100px; height: 150px;"><em>Brandon Fox is an American singer/songwriter. Fox claims influences such as Bruno Mars, Ed Sheehan, Craig David, as well as the legends Micheal Jackson and Stevie Wonder. With these influences Fox has evolved into an R&amp;B/Pop artist with a robust vocal range which compliments his new age rhythmic-pop instrumentation, but his talents don't end with his music. </em></p> <p><em>From the first note to the last, Fox’s live performance is electrifying. Comanding stage presence and fan engagement are at the forefront of a Brandon Fox show. After the success of his recent collaboration with Taylor Bennett ‘Dancing In The Rain' (also featuring Donnie Trumpet and Shay Lewis), Fox has been hard at work preparing his debut solo album titled ‘Remedy’. The album ‘Remedy’ will be available on all music platforms May 7th 2018. You can pre-order the album via iTunes here:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p> <p><em>Aside from music, Brandon Fox has a second passion which is creating awareness about Mental Health. With first hand experience, Fox spends time talking with people young and old about Mental Health and the importance of keeping a positive outlook on life. Tying his two passions together, Brandon Fox has pledged to donate 100% of his album proceeds (sales and royalties) from his album ‘Remedy’ to Mental Health America. Mental Health America is the nation's #1 non-profit organization for bringing awareness and treatment to those in need and Fox’s pledge will help fund all of the great work MHA does.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/music" hreflang="en">music</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health-month" hreflang="en">Mental Health Month</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/minority-mental-health-month" hreflang="en">minority mental health month</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/african-american-mental-health" hreflang="en">african american mental health</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1709&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="UmM4mp000NH0vZvvCpRXwjBjlUmhzwPl5h7EAaCP0HQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 26 Apr 2018 04:00:00 +0000 JCheang 1709 at Playing Hurt: A Narrative of Hope <span>Playing Hurt: A Narrative of Hope</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Mon, 10/16/2017 - 08:51</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Paul Gionfriddo, MHA National President and CEO</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/playing%20hurt.jpg" style="width: 100%;"></p> <p>Most of us who have watched ESPN regularly feel like we knew John Saunders.</p> <p>For years, he was one of those voices in our family rooms, reporting on the sports through which we defined the seasons of our life.</p> <p>Not summer, fall, winter, and spring, but baseball, football, hockey, and basketball.</p> <p>In our eyes, this was the man – a friendly, down-to-earth personality who anchored so many of our days.</p> <p>When John died suddenly last year, it seemed like the too-typical tragedy of a life lost too young. He died from cardiovascular disease related to diabetes, something that affects men of color <a href=";lvlid=18" target="_blank">in unfair numbers</a>. We noted this, reflected on it for a while, and then moved on.</p> <p>Not so fast.</p> <p>As we now know from his new memoir, <em><a href="" target="_blank">Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope</a></em>, co-written with John U. Bacon and published posthumously, there was a whole lot more to John Saunders’ story than this.</p> <p>John was born and raised in Canada – a very good hockey player with an attitude. He was raised primarily by his mother – and this is where his story gets a little more complex. His father traveled a lot, spent much of his time away from home, and frequently neglected John and his siblings. And when he was present in their lives, the experience for John was frequently physically and mentally traumatic.</p> <p>In part as a result, John developed significant mental health problems when he was young.</p> <p>At a time (the 1960s and 1970s) when people barely understood these, much less talked about them, the symptoms of mental illnesses were a hidden part of his public life. For many years.</p> <p>Can’t we all relate to this?</p> <p>Even today, too many people keep their mental health problems in the closet somewhere behind the clothes they wore when they were much younger and many sizes smaller. This is especially true of men. <a href="" target="_blank">They are less likely than women to talk about their mental illnesses, to explore how best to manage them and recover from them, and to seek the help they need when they need it.</a></p> <p>This was also true of John.</p> <p>During the course of his companionship with us, we were sometimes aware of his physical struggles.</p> <p>When he had a concussion that kept him from his ESPN broadcasts, we knew about this. We knew that he needed some time, but was on the mend and would overcome the injury.</p> <p>But when his depression made it just as difficult for him to do his job, we just saw him soldier on.</p> <p>We didn’t see the tears, didn’t hear his doubts, and didn’t root for him to rally – because we didn’t even know, and he didn’t feel comfortable telling us.</p> <p>What moved me about John’s narrative as much as anything else is that it’s honest. It’s honest about his relationships with his family, his relationships with co-workers, his relationships with friends, and his understanding of himself.</p> <p>He recounts so many things he did right and others he did wrong throughout his life. He tells us his story pretty much exactly as it unfolded. He talks matter-of-factly about his physical injuries and, ultimately, about the injuries that weren’t so obvious at all.</p> <p>But what stopped me cold is when he wrote of the day he drove up to the top of the span of the Tappan Zee Bridge – the one bridge that during my childhood made me afraid of all other bridges – and parked his car by the side of the road.</p> <p>He got out, walked to the edge of the bridge, looked over, and thought seriously about leaping to his death in the Hudson River below.</p> <p>This was John Saunders. The John Saunders. That friendly, reassuring voice in the family room. The guy who had everything going for him.</p> <p>The man who – as it turns out – was keeping a common secret from the world.</p> <p>John Saunders’ memoir is more than worth the read, not just because it’s hard to put down, but because ultimately, he comes to terms with his serious mental illness. He writes about it. He talks about how it affected him. He opens up – to help others open up – before it’s too late, before the bridge and the water claim a life.</p> <p>It is a shame that John died just before we got the chance to hear his story. But it is a true wonder that John lived just long enough to tell his story.</p> <p>It is a story of hope. It matters, and it will help save lives.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/john-saunders" hreflang="en">john saunders</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/playing-hurt" hreflang="en">playing hurt</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/sports" hreflang="en">sports</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/depression" hreflang="en">depression</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/men" hreflang="en">men</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mens-mental-health" hreflang="en">men&#039;s mental health</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/african-american-mental-health" hreflang="en">african american mental health</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1587&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="r6lH98YxaIPc0B81ogvErn2aSX1aFp6WEkFsr6QMSPI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:51:31 +0000 JCheang 1587 at Honoring Black History While Honoring Mental Health <span>Honoring Black History While Honoring Mental Health</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/ewallace" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">EWallace</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/16/2017 - 09:54</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align: left;"><em>MHA has traditionally maintained its blog, Chiming In, to be a vehicle for MHA leadership and staff to post thoughts about current events. This month, we are taking a different turn and highlighting some of MHA’s amazing affiliates, partners and associate members as a way to share some of the great work and ideas of our many collaborators. If you are an MHA affiliate, official partner or associate member, and are interested in submitting a blog post, please contact America Paredes at </em><a href=""><em></em></a><em>.<br><br /> <br><br /> <span style="color:#b22222;">As part of Black History Month, the following blog post comes from Minaa B. with Respect Your Struggle, a MHA partner.</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="color:#b22222;"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/wide_African%20American%20Hands.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 300px;"></span></em></p> <p><u>Trigger Warning: Content discussed addresses suicide and suicidal thoughts.</u><br><br /> <br><br /> For more than twenty years of my life I struggled with major depression and suicide ideation. Thought after thought, I was consumed with the idea of death and sadness and how to eliminate myself from the rest of the world. I grew tired of carrying my burdens, and when my back could no longer stand up straight from the weight of my pain that I carried in silence - I attempted suicide.</p> <p>The cuts on my wrists were indicators that this brown girl was not okay. I hid myself. Learning how to be bold and brave about my struggles was a behavior that I was never taught. Instead, I was constantly reminded through television, music, the church and conversations, that weak-minded people don’t get far in life. The stigmas of society told me that black women didn’t complain - they pushed through. Black women didn’t get tired - they worked hard. And black people don’t struggle with depression - we pray. Then carry on.</p> <p>What a detrimental and debilitating pressure to put on folks who are subjected not only to environmental trauma such as racism, discrimination, oppression and marginalization - but also to the everyday effects of simply being human.</p> <p>Since when is it not okay for black people to find healing? Since when is having a mental illness a reason why I wouldn’t make it to heaven? Since when is struggling a form of weakness, when no person in this world is void of mishap and misfortunes?&nbsp;Since when is being imperfect a deficit, when perfection doesn’t even exist?</p> <p>This tired rhetoric that people within the African-American community are weak, fragile or touched by the devil if they have a mental illness is man-made propaganda that has been used to keep people of color stuck in their debilitating circumstances, with fewer chances on thriving alongside the rest of the world. The supposition that our ancestors made through slavery - therefore we can make it through anything - is crass and insensitive, not only to the needs of people living in modern times, but also to our ancestors who fought hard for people of color to have access to fair treatment and equality - including health care.</p> <p>We must remember folks like Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller who was a pioneering African-American psychiatrist who made significant contributions to the study of Alzheimer's disease. Or people like Dr. Paul Cornely whose professional work focused on the development of public health initiatives aimed at reducing healthcare disparities among the chronically underserved.</p> <p>Mamie Phipps Clark was the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate degree in psychology from Columbia University. Her groundbreaking research on the impact of race on child development helped end segregation, and was influential in desegregation efforts including the <em>Brown vs. Board of Education</em> in 1954.</p> <p>These people, plus many more, have paved the way for people of color to receive adequate physical and emotional health care. But the lessons they also taught us is that hurt does exists, and people should never be ashamed to talk about it or address it. Even when you think you are isolated in your problems and worries - you are never alone. Your life matters and you deserve to give yourself your best chance - despite what others say.</p> <p>If you are worried that you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health condition, there is hope. To start, consider taking <a href="">&nbsp;a free mental health screening</a> to assess your symptoms and find out how to seek help.</p> <p>Understand that though hurt can make you feel as if you are alone - you never are. MHA began the campaign &nbsp;<a href="">#mentalillnessfeelslike</a> as a way to show individuals struggling through pain and confusing symptoms that they are not alone. . We encourage you to participate too - share your story – tell us what #mentalillnessfeelslike to you. &nbsp;Because there is power in sharing. And there is power in knowing that you are not alone.</p> <hr> <p><em>Minaa B. who was born Jessmina Archbold, is a NYC based </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>licensed psychotherapist</em></a><em> and founder of the digital mental health magazine </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Respect Your Struggle</em></a><em>. She works in private practice providing wellness services to clients with different complex mental health issues and she works as a mental health advocate and freelance writer for various publications. Minaa is also the author of the book </em><a href=";qid=1475246707&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=minaa+b" target="_blank"><em>Rivers Are Coming</em></a><em>, a collection of essays and poems on healing from depression and trauma. More can be learned about her on </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em></em></a><em>&nbsp;.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/respect-your-struggle" hreflang="en">respect your struggle</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/african-american-mental-health" hreflang="en">african american mental health</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-109159" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1494014399"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Laura Becker (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Fri, 05/05/2017 - 15:59</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/109159#comment-109159" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/109159#comment-109159" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Thought-provoking article</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Great article, Minaa. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=109159&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="-o_o_O6VN1XBcrhgIQEYyCoPRwrdOpEfUX3PMepVmcw"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-109162" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1494494840"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Selvador (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Thu, 05/11/2017 - 05:27</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/109162#comment-109162" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/109162#comment-109162" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Wow nice sharing. I really</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Wow nice sharing. I really like this and will appreciate you on writing this amazing article. I will go with my uncle for <a href=""></a>bus to washington dc then I will share this article with him and when he will read it I am sure he will also like to read it.</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=109162&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="m6Yu-iiaCT0zgsUeeaAsotomL4hs4Ec29wOx9mKzq_Q"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1401&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="jehTC3cwgGFaClotcySCa9gQZJTJn4x1OXultksdvEA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:54:32 +0000 EWallace 1401 at