Black Wellness Affair® (BWA)
My name is Tiffany Herbert and I am a Black Mental Health advocate. With all that’s happening in the world surrounding the pandemic and African Americans dying at alarming rates for various reasons, I decided to create a safe and stress free zone for my community to freely discuss the effects its had on their Mental Wellness. Most times as Black People we are taught to be so strong and emotionless throughout life not knowing how to channel that energy, so we suppress it thinking no one really cares. Especially since we don’t have too many platforms to explain it.
Well I care. I aim to provide awareness that Black Mental Health Matters. You’ll have access to resources such as mental health outreach programs and events curated by me.
Tiffany Herbert - Founder & Curator of BWA
In the BIPOC communities, people of color share a unique experience when it comes to mental health, there is a distinct difference in the way we internalize our emotions and exhibit our behaviors compared to other races. No, we are not all just Angry black Women or Men all the time and No we are not all violent or dangerous. We are simply humans with deep wounds that never fully healed from the Trauma that we were born into especially in America. Wounds so deep that we as a people think it’s okay to ignore those feelings and look outwardly for validation from other races. That outside validation prevents us from showing our own community our vulnerability in sharing our different struggles so we all can get ahead.
At a young age, I learned talking about mental health was uncommon in the black family and community. There was always denial and shame around that topic so black families struggled with the distress and most times never bring it up or don’t seek help until is too late or too far gone.
I personally dealt with my own struggles with anxiety and depression at times and didn't fully know how to address or give voice to those feelings. If it wasn’t for my mom who is a now-retired mental health worker for a major hospital in New York that seen some of the effects firsthand. Or my Uncle (A Veteran and retired Police Officer) who committed suicide, did I realize there had to be a conversation.
I started noticing the many people in my neighborhood; which is predominately black, or friends' family members also suffered in silence. I started thinking and asking myself could this be an environmental trigger? Could this really be what’s plaguing the black community? The disconnect in opening up the lines of communication.
WHAT is Black Mental Health, WHY does Black Mental Health Matter and WHY is it differentiated amongst Racial and Ethnic Lines, you ask? In 2018 Phillip J. Roundtree (a black scholar, husband and father who suffers from Depression and Suicidal thoughts) explains on a Ted Talk that, “Black Mental Health are the individual and collective experiences that influence the Wellness of a Community.” We are often overlooked, underestimated, drug through the mud, find ourselves traumatized, beat down & just overall MENTALLY & EMOTIONALLY Drained from never being Good Enough or Accepted by Society as a whole Race.
Although people speak of #BlackLivesMatter and the Lives that are Lost, the Black people who are still LIVING are not all ALIVE & WELL. From witnessing the devastations of what a Pandemic, Protests, A Revolution, and Smeared Political Campaigns can do to our Mentality & Emotions.
Imagine being an Essential Worker like myself witnessing people In our Communities dying at higher rates because of these tragedies & not being able to see their families get proper burials. Seeing their friends and family being slain in the streets most times for no reason and or in front of their children for example.
How would you deal with something like this and go to work every day Okay as if we’re not all affected & sometimes may feel helpless?
For these reasons I feel it is my duty to create a lane for our Black Communities to collectively network, to support all of our black businesses, especially the ones in Health and Wellness. It’s important to be of resource to each other which will help to elevate our minds & promote CHANGE through “Our” Like Minded Visions for a better future.
We cannot be whole or well as a community if we constantly ignore our own struggles because our losses are just as valid as our wins.