Caring for your mental health is very important, because as human beings, we naturally endure ups and downs in our mental health. It’s pivotal to destigmatize talking about mental health and getting help when we need it. September is Suicide Awareness Month, and while mental health continues to become less taboo (we all love a ‘self care’ day), there is still so much work to do to help those of us struggling to feel a little less alone.
In the 2020 Trevor Project LGBTQ Youth Mental Health Survey, 48% of the youth (13-18 years old) surveyed revealed that they have had suicidal thoughts, with that percentage jumping to more than half (53%) with trans and nonbinary youth.
When looking at the suicide rates of other disproportionate groups, Native American/Indigenous people have a suicide rate of 22% – higher than the national overall average of 14%. At 7.4%, the suicide rate for Black populations in 2019 was over half the overall U.S. suicide rate of 14%. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Black populations suicide rates peak during adolescence and young adulthood, then decline, which is a different pattern than is seen in the overall U.S. population, where suicide rates peak in midlife (highest average suicide rates are between the ages of 55-64 for overall US population).
While these stats are definitely sobering, we wanted to shed some light on some mental health influencers and accounts who are working hard to make a difference on mental health stigma and suicide prevention. Together, we can all help each other feel supported, loved and valued.
Sonaksha – @Sonaksha
Illustrator, designer and mental health advocate, Sonaksha uses their art to express themselves and also as a form of art therapy. If you are looking for inspirational prompts, and beautiful affirming art- this account is a must follow!
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford – @HelloDrJoy
Dr. Joy is a licensed psychologist and the founder & CEO of the incredibly popular resource @therapyforblackgirls. She also hosts the podcast of the same name. Dr. Joy Harden wanted to create a safe space for Black women to discuss their mental health, as well as provide a hearty resource of Black therapists and counselors for those who need them.
LatinxTherapy – @LatinxTherapy
Founded by Adriana Alejandre, this account highlights and features Latinx therapists and mental health advocates who speak both English and Spanish! This is very important because for many in the latinx community, particularly middle aged Latinx, language can be a barrier when it comes to seeking help. They have a comprehensive guide of therapists and counselors on their instagram account, organized by region, as well as a plethora of of resources for the latinx community. They also have a podcast, which you can listen to, here.
Get Home Safe – @GetHomeSafeHugEm
This DC based mental health platform was founded by Dwight, “Juice” Jones and is focused on redefining the narrative when it comes to mental health. He wants to help destigmatize mental health and asking for help in the Black community. He does this by creating panels with mental health experts of color, curating events incorporating art and music with self care practices and therapists on sight! Get Home Safe makes Black therapists accessible to Black communities in the DMV area and beyond!
Nia – @TheFriendINeverWanted
Nia is a queer mental health advocate, speaker and body acceptance advocate.They speak openly about their bipolar disorder, as well as being queer and body acceptance. She has a podcast on body trauma, called Body Trauma Podcast that you can listen to here. I love this account because of their honest, approachable way of talking about their struggles and successes. Nia is a joy to follow and is a reminder that you are not alone in the struggles of everyday life.
Emilia Ortega-Jara – @CorazonCounseling
Corazon Counseling was founded by Emilia Ortega-Jara. Emilia is a proud Xicana and is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in perinatal mental health. If you are a parent who is looking for someone who uses a holistic approach as well as more modern approaches in harmony, then you should definitely follow this account! She pairs her indigenous ancestral knowledge and practices with CBT and EMDR techniques. The Corazon Counseling page is a wonderful space to connect with other parents and mothers who need support and community.
Mayra Mejia (She/Her) is a fat-positive, queer Salvadoran-American activist and content creator based in DC. She is currently the features editor of The Curvy Fashionista, a multimedia platform dedicated to plus-size fashion and media. She also is a freelance writer with bylines in NBC News, Brides, Greatist, and more.