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Mental Health While Black

Angelica and Ruth joined Coalition Leader Toy Burton, founder and executive director of DeeDee’s Cry for her Mental Health While Black & Resource Fair. DeeDee’s Cry is a suicide prevention and family support organization. Toy actively works to create spaces and spark conversations about suicide prevention and mental wellness among people of color. This event was hosted in Roxbury’s Nubian Square, featuring live music from Perfect Example, a resource fair, and a panel discussion about maternity and mental health.

Angelica and Ruth were able to connect with several community members who shared their interests and stories about gun violence. Alongside the Coalition resource partners included: Mass General Brigham, Boston Medical Center: Psychiatry, Love Life Now Foundation Inc., B FREE Wellness, and Urban League of Eastern MA. The mental health and maternity panel focused on the stories of several black women:

  • Moderator: Dr. Brandy Brooks, DeeDee’s Cry director of operations

  • Nicole Christian Brathwaite, MD, CEO, and founder of Well Minds Psychiatry and Consulting Company, PLLC

  • Lamone Downey Leonard, LICSW, owner of Rising Hope Counseling & Wellness/ Pail advocate

  • Rep. Liz Miranda, MA State Representative

  • Nneka Hall, Maternal Advocate

BIPOC women are subjected to higher rates of miscarriages, stillbirths, maternal mortality, stress, and postpartum depression, which is only further exacerbated by systemic racism. The panelists spoke upon the highs, lows, and inequities surrounding maternity and mental health.

The vast majority of gun deaths both in the United States and in Massachusetts are the result of suicide. Inequalities surrounding mental health and access to resources are root causes of gun violence. It is events like this that provide culturally competent outlets to tackle the ongoing mental health crisis. Together we can work towards provide trauma-informed advocacy and support for individuals and communities across the commonwealth.


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