FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C.---July 2, 2019---In honor of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July, New Jersey native and suicide survivor T-Kea Blackman is partnering with =SPACE to host “Heal The City”, a mental health forum and book signing for her debut memoir, “Saved & Depressed: A Suicide Survivor’s Journey of Mental Health, Healing & Faith.” The forum will highlight her recovery, dismantle the stigma and encourage the African American community to seek treatment. It will also include a panel with social worker Elise Antoine, MSW, Dr.Reginald Cunningham, nurse practitioner Linda Oppong Winful, and a special presentation by Blackman's brother Sabri "Creeze" Murray. The book is available on Amazon and Kindle. The event will be held at =SPACE, 2 Gateway Center in Newark, NJ 07102 on Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. To purchase tickets please click here.
In Blackman’s memoir, she shares how mental health treatment and her relationship with God led her on the path to wellness after being hospitalized for a suicide attempt. Dedicated to offering light during the darkness, she also offers resources for communities of color to address mental health.
“My community has a lineage of trauma and unfortunately, many people do not realize the emotional baggage that is destroying current and future generations,” said Blackman. “I want people in my community to see that addressing their mental health challenges will make the community safer and allow it to thrive,” added Blackman.
According to The Office of Minority Health, Adult Black/African Americans are 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult whites. Adult Black/African Americans living below poverty are three times more likely to report serious psychological distress than those living above poverty. Adult Black/African Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than white adults. And while Black/African Americans are less likely than white people to die from suicide as teenagers, Black/African Americans teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than white teenagers, according to Mental Health America.
“As a child, I heard stories of family and friends who lost their lives to gang activity and gun violence,” added Blackman. “Mental health treatment was never mentioned to combat the issues in the community.”
Nearly 40% of African Americans use clergy as their primary source of help with depression. However, less than half of African American clergy are trained in counseling, according to the Journal of Christian Nursing.
“I was told to speak in tongues and to pray harder. While those tactics are helpful, it pulled me away from my relationship with God and the church. I felt misunderstood and judged,” added Blackman. “Therapy helped me to realize I can pray to Jesus and talk to my therapist. I do not have to pick one over the other, as they are both beneficial to my mental, emotional and spiritual health.”
About Fireflies Unite
Fireflies Unite is a mental health media and communications company founded by T-Kea Blackman. Its mission is to bring light into darkness (just like the fireflies) by sharing the stories of those who live and THRIVE with a mental illness in communities of color through its podcast, Blackman’s speaking engagements, books, events, peer support, forthcoming magazine and mini-documentary.
Blackman is available for interviews to further discuss the importance of Mental Health Awareness Month and her ongoing commitment to end the stigma of mental health in communities of color.
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