My belief in Jesus Christ has given me hope and opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. Growing up I was a nervous kid, fearful of having responsibilities that I was asked to perform, even simple ones. I thought I didn’t have the ability to complete the tasks. Even worse, I was often overlooked by authority figures to be given the duties in the first place. In my mind, they were confirming what I already believed to be true: I was too inadequate to take on responsibilities.
I’ve always known that I was different. Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, as an immigrant African woman, I have struggled with major depression all of my life. It’s a topic in my community, as in other communities of color, which is often swept under the rug. My depression was caused by numerous issues. After struggling with this issue since my early years, I decided that sharing my experience with depression is a way of empowering other women and girls to do the same, while removing the stigma surrounding depression and other mental health disorders in diverse racial and ethnic communities.
The body remembers. When I started practicing yoga, I felt really good. Two years in, I became more dedicated to yoga and started doing a more intensive yoga practice (Ashtanga) for a few hours a day.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and as we celebrate recovery, we strive to increase awareness and work to end stigma around mental health. Through the offering of comprehensive services, resources, and access to behavioral healthcare, we have a strong commitment to helping youth, adults, and families in greatest need, especially as the rates of reported mental health challenges continue to rise, especially among our youth. Last week was National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and now, more than ever, it’s critical that we all take some time to pay attention to the emotional health and well-being of our children.