Mental health activist Jasmin Pierre built a mental health app for the black community
By Jasmin Pierre*, AFROPUNK contributor
Minority Mental Health App “The Safe Place”
We still have a serious issue in the black community when it comes to mental health issues. Even though all races go through mental illness, many black people are still in denial, shame, or lack of knowledge on the subject. Did you know that African Americans living below poverty are three times more likely to report serious psychological distress than those living in poverty? We are also 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the rest of the general population.
With that being said we still have a very low rate of going to see a therapist. Many in the black community still believe that mental illness is just a white man’s disease which is totally untrue.
So I asked myself “what more could be done about this situation?”. I wanted to be a service to my people because let’s be honest something more needs to be done. I am happy to announce that I developed an app specifically to bring more light to this issue.
New to Android And I Phone is “The Safe Place” a Minority Mental Health App geared specifically towards the Black Community.
The Purpose of the “Safe Place” is to bring more awareness, education, and acceptance on the topic of mental health. Not only can the black community benefit from this app, but also mental health professionals, friends, and family, of all colors can be better educated on this serious issue and do a service by directing their black friends, co-workers, etc. to the app.
“The Safe Place” can also be a great learning tool for mental health professional’s to better understand their black patients (because obviously our social backgrounds are different and it’s important to understand that aspect as well.)
Some of “The Safe Place” app’s features include:
* Black Mental Health Statistics
*Inspirational Black Quotes
*Self Care Tips
*Mental Health Videos And Podcast
*Mental Health Articles
*Open Fourm Discussions
The app will be up on Google Play for the next three months for sure. I’m currently working on how to pay for the annual fees because it does cost to upkeep an app. If you like the safe place and wish to donate to keep it up on the app store, here is a funding campaign link to donate.
*Jasmin Pierre is a Certified Peer Support Specialist, Certified Mental Health First Aid Responder, Mental Health Advocate, Motivational Speaker, Author of the self help book “A Fight Worth Finishing”, Owner of the Recovery based service “A Fight Worth Finishing”, and App Developer of the minority mental health app “The Safe Place”, Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those who battle Mental Health Challenges.
Facebook: A Fight Worth Finishing
Does Andre Lyon’s portrayal on ‘Empire’ contribute to mental health stigma?
By Jasmin Pierre, AFROPUNK contributor
Anyone who has ever watched Empire knows about the eldest son Andre Lyon. While very smart and business savvy he’s also portrayed as crazy. Andre is also like an outcast in his family. Many times you see him being sneaky and evil. He sometimes does horrible things to stab his family in the back and he feels like the least loved child.
Andre also happens to have Bipolar disorder. In the show, there have been times where they made Andre downright scary. Like a scene where he put a gun to his head and clicked the trigger which didn’t go off (to which he started screaming). One of the most bizarre scenes is when he had a threesome with the new girl he liked and his dead wife Rhonda who had been talking to him in Ghost form (which was the very last episode I could stomach to watch because of his “crazy” mental Illness portrayal).
I could also mention how they made Andre be very similar to Luscious mother. She is also portrayed as scary, evil, and very unpredictable. Luscious is embarrassed by his son’s illness and spites him at times because of how much he reminds him of his mother.
This all leads me to wonder if this really how many black families see loved ones with mental health challenges? Do these thoughts contribute to why so many black family members shut you down if you even try to mention your mental health?
I mean think about it. So many black people see mental health challenges as a weakness, a demon, and a downright crazy-ass excuse. So why wouldn’t Andre Lyon be portrayed as a stereotypical person With Bipolar Disorder? Why wouldn’t they make him seem sneaky, evil, and demonic?
I’m not saying that mental health issues can’t be scary sometimes. However, Hollywood can tend to Dramatize the way others already view mental health and in return that adds to more stigma. What are your thoughts on Andre’s portrayal on the show? If you deal with mental health challenges how does watching his scenes make you feel at times? Let me know in the comments.
*Jasmin Pierre is a Certified Peer Support Specialist, Certified Mental Health First Aid Responder, Mental Health Advocate, Motivational Speaker, Author of the self help book “A Fight Worth Finishing”, and Owner of the Recovery based service LiveHopeChange. Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those who battle Mental Health Challenges.
Facebook: A Fight Worth Finishing
Suicide Awareness Month: Why I felt it was important to create a Black-owned recovery based mental health service
By Jasmine Pierre*, AFROPUNK Contributor
September is Suicide Prevention month. Did you know that Suicide is the 16th leading cause of death for black people of all ages? (Source: American Association Of Suicidology). With that being said I would like to touch on an important subject matter and that is Mental Health Care services in the black community. Our people continue to not seek help when it comes to their Mental Health.
It is also statistically proven that “African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population” (source NAMI), yet and still many will not seek out services.
I want to take the time to mention a black owned Recovery Based Mental Health Service that is extremely affordable (Only 35 dollars). The name of this business is called LiveHopeChange. I run this Recovery service to help those who are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
What makes me Qualified to help others find their own form of recovery? First and foremost I am an individual who is in Recovery. I have lived experiences with depression, anxiety, and suicide, and I have become passionate in helping others who go through those challenges.
What are my credentials? I am a Certified Peer Support Specialist (which means I’m actually certified to help others recover from mental health and substance abuse challenges), Certified Mental Health First Aid Responder, and I am Certified through the National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) to speak about my personal experiences with Mental Health and Recovery.
Only about one-quarter of African Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40% of whites (Source NAMI).
A lot of people in the black community just do not feel comfortable talking about their mental health and this seriously needs to change.
I feel that maybe if some are not comfortable talking to a therapist just yet, that maybe they will be comfortable talking to someone who looks like them and is willing to listen and help them find their own form of Recovery. I take what I do very seriously and I know the help for mental health is very needed in our community. The more we talk about mental health and recovery, the more our people will feel comfortable with receiving more Mental Health Care Services.
I want the black community to know that they do not need to feel helpless about their Mental Health.
Remember that Hope, help, and change is out their. Your life matters so pleasedon’t be afraid to receive help. If you’re interested in learning more about my Recovery services please visit my website.
Jasmin Pierre is a Certified Peer Support Specialist, Certified Mental Health First Aid Responder, Mental Health Advocate, Motivational Speaker, Author of the self help book “A Fight Worth Finishing”, and Owner of the Recovery based service LiveHopeChange. Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those who battle Mental Health Challenges.
*Jasmin Pierre is a Mental Health Activist, Motivational Speaker, and author of “A Fight Worth Finishing”. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana. Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those suffering from depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. She is a future life coach, and aspires to continue writing, speaking, and encouraging others to never give up.
Dear Joe Budden, by opening up about your mental health you broke another barrier in hip-hop
By Jasmin Pierre*, AFROPUNK contributor
Recently the topic of Styles P’s daughter ending her life last year came up as a topic on “Everyday Struggle”. The talk led the Rapper Joe Budden to tears as he talked about his own mental health issues.
As a mental health advocate, his words and emotions moved me deeply and lead me to write this letter.
Dear Joe Budden,
How are you? I know some people ask us this question, but they do not always want to hear the raw unfiltered truth. Some people do not want to hear that we may be suffering, or that we may feel like we’re drowning in the depths of our depression and the stigma that comes with it.
With the stigma comes silence…and with the silence comes pain. I listened to your show and it touched me deeply. Your emotions showed true strength, compassion, and empathy. When you spoke that someone asking “how are you?” makes your day, it reminded me of a question that I often ask people on the mental health page I run. The simple question that I ask is “how are you feeling?”. When I ask that question so many people respond to me, but the beautiful part about it is they don’t always say “I’m okay”.
When I ask them how they’re feeling they tell me the truth good or bad. They trust that I care because I am someone who has also gone through depression and even attempted suicide. Sometimes they may be hurting, suicidal, or in pain. When I listen and don’t judge them about they tell me “thank you” because someone took time out of their day to really ask about them without judgment.
Today we live in a society where so many people really don’t care about how we feel. We live in a culture where some people think it’s okay to say “Go kill yourself” when they’re angry at you (especially in the hip hop culture). So many people lack compassion when it comes to mental illness. A simple “how are you?” Or “I care about you” and really meaning it can make so much difference in this world.
You may never see this letter, but I just want you to know I really do care about how you feel. The raw and unfiltered version. Through good, bad, happy, sad, depressed, or even suicidal, your feelings truly matter. I hope that you keep making it through your battle with mental health, and most importantly I want to see you keep living. You’re a warrior. Speaking about your battle is true strength. By opening up, you broke another barrier in the Hip Hop world when it comes to mental health. Even through the darkness your light shines bright.
Peace and love
*Jasmin Pierre is Mental Health Advocate, Motivational Speaker, and author of the self help book “A Fight Worth Finishing”. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana. Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those suffering from depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Dear Solange: ‘A Seat At The Table’ Is Good For Black Mental Health And Self-Love
By Jasmin Pierre*, AFROPUNK contributor
With images people of color frequently being harassed, shot, and killed at the hands of the police, people constantly telling us our natural hair isn’t good or professional enough, being ridiculed and called racist for trying to empower our people and having self-love and minorities struggling to financially and physically survive, you couldn’t have dropped this new album at a better time.
The fact that you gave us an album that unapologetically celebrates and informs us is so needed for our mental health. With your songs that have titles such as ‘Weary’, ‘Mad’, ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, ‘F.U.B.U’, ‘Tina Taught Me’, ‘Rise’, and ‘Borderline (An Ode To Self Care)’ you can hear the frustrations, pain, anger, willingness for self-love, black empowerment, and most importantly black self-care bless our ears through this eccentric and unique style of music.
‘Borderline (an ode to self-care)’ is my favorite. Our self-care is extremely important in the times we’re living in. We’re constantly exposed to the tragedies in the media. In light of that, we’re also caught up in trying to care for families, working jobs, trying to provide and survive in this crazy world. A lot of us are definitely on the ‘Borderline’ to not only losing our self but also losing our minds. Depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and suicide are affecting a lot of our people. We MUST take care of ourselves in times like this. You get that and you’re not afraid to express your own take on things to the world.
As a mental health activist who happens to be a Woman of Color, I salute you. I applaud you for caring so much about your people. You took the time to make an album that is for US. You made a soundtrack that can ease our minds and some of our pain and the frustrations we are currently going through. Thank you for the reminder that it’s ok to love, empower, and take care of ourselves.
A lot of our people tend to be silent about our mental health and that still needs to change. More of us are waking up and educating ourselves on that topic, which is a step in the right direction. The fact that we have an album like “A Seat at the Table” that can wake up more of our people up about our empowerment and self-care is also a plus.
Thank you for caring Solange. You’re DOPE and so is your album!