Meet T-Kea!

Mental Health Advocate. Speaker. Author.

Described as an inspiration, her heartfelt and powerful story is a testament that anyone can thrive despite having a mental health condition. T-Kea Blackman, MPS (affectionately called Kea) is a suicide survivor and owner of Fireflies Unite, a mental health media, and communications company. She is also the creator and host of the Fireflies Unite With Kea, a weekly podcast dedicated to bringing light into darkness (just like the fireflies) by sharing the stories of individuals thriving with mental health conditions despite the disadvantages and racism that negatively impact their mental health.

She previously worked in the television industry as a publicist and production/talent coordinator. Within her career, she provided support to TV One’s signature award-winning shows Unsung and Unsung Hollywood, BET’s Black Girls Rock!, The Soul Train Awards and BET X Youth Experience. After being diagnosed with major depressive and generalized anxiety disorders she answered the call to use her professional and personal experiences to end the mental health stigma. She was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

As a peer career coach for a mental health research project, T-Kea provides peer support to clients with mental illness and intellectual disabilities where she uses her lived-experience to assist clients with their personal and professional goals. She is currently pursuing her certification through the Maryland Addiction and Behavioral Health Professional Certification Board to become certified as a peer recovery specialist. She is a certified  Mental Health First Aid (youth and adult) and Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) trainer where she facilitates training to caregivers and individuals who want to make their mental and emotional health a priority.

T-Kea wrote her first book, Saved & Depression: A Suicide Survivor’s Journey Of Mental Health, Healing, & Faith to educate her community on mental health and encourage them to seek treatment. Her articles have been published on The Mighty, Urban Faith, Blavity, and 21 Ninety. Making a digital footprint, her articles have garnered over 60,000 views and encouraged individuals to seek treatment. 

In April 2018, T-Kea was appointed by the Governor's office to serve on Maryland's Behavioral Health Advisory Council.  T-Kea participated as a cast member for This Is My Brave: Arlington Show, a storytelling show for those with mental and/or substance use disorders and went on to co-produce the fall, Arlington Show. She serves as an In Our Own Voice program leader for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. 

T-Kea earned a master's degree in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University, and a bachelor's degree in radio, television and film production from Howard University.

I rather be living my truth happily than living a lie miserably.

Toni Payne

Credentials 

Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor

Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Facilitator

Motivational Interviewing For Peer Recovery Specialists 

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (In Progress)

Peer Recovery Specialist (In Progress)

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