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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Orlando's Black community is invited to a peer support event destigmatizing mental health struggles

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2020 at 9:07 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY HIAN OLIVEIRA
  • Photo by Hian Oliveira
Various organizations in the Orlando community are rallying together in an effort to promote mental health within the Black community through the first Black Mental Health Matters Movement on Thursday, March 5.

There will be a dinner at no cost and a panel event featuring mental health professionals and people sharing their lived personal experience of mental health struggles.

The Black Health Matters Movement prioritizes demystifying mental illness in the Black community and provides outreach for those in need. The movement is in partnership with prominent Orlando-based mental health nonprofit Peer Support Space (PSS), mental health advocacy group No Limit Health and Education, faith leaders, and others.

In response to what PSS co-founder Dani Hill calls "a lack of access to culturally responsive mental health care," the event seeks to serve as the catalyst for conversations about Black emotional wellness and allow space for community healing.

"Our hope is to spread the message that mental health is an essential part of well-being — just as essential as food, sleep, and hygiene," said Hill in a press release. "When we start these important conversations, we demystify mental illness, we model that it is OK to not be OK."

According to the Journal of Community Health, suicide rates among those in the Black community are steadily rising.

Suicide among Black women aged 13 to 19 rose 182 percent between 2001 and 2017, while the rate among Black teen men rose 60 percent during that same period.

While free, registration is required. The event is at 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, 1000 Bethune Drive.

For more information, visit

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