Cupcakes & Conversations in an event in support of I Am Solid She’s campaign: “Breaking Barriers to Silence Stigma…One Conversation at a Time”. The goal of this campaign is “to encourage open dialogue about mental health which creates a platform for women to share stories, information, and empowerment through conversation.”
The most recent Cupcakes & Conversation was held this past Saturday, October 22, 2016, at the Myers Park Wellness Center in Charlotte, NC. The topic: Silently Suffering…Can You Hear My Cry?” The guest speaker was Dr. Arloishia Israel, and she spoke with total transparency about living with a chronic illness and how that led to her depression. Dr. Israel discussed how at she had to accept that she had Rheumatoid Arthritis in her THIRTIES!! She as well as many other people only know older people to diagnosed with this condition, so she had her husband began to educate others, beginning with their own family. Everyone seemed to appreciate the transparency with which Dr. Israel spoke, because it is not common to hear such honesty when discussing mental health or chronic illnesses, especially in the Black community. The attendees were also educated on how chronic illnesses can lead to depression and that depression often occurs in cancer, Parkinson’s and heart attack patients. Often times people are so focused on the physical healing that little to no thought is given to the mental well-being. One word that this therapist, wife, mother, sister and daughter had to learn to use was “No” and it wasn’t easy. Dr. Israel shared moments when her hands were extremely swollen or when she wasn’t able to stand up long enough to sing one song in church, people still continued to ask so much of her. She discussed how she had to set boundaries and prioritize because if she didn’t she would not have the energy to put into her own well-being. Through medication, a therapist, the support of her family and prayer Dr. Israel is doing much better and although she still battles with RA she was able to stand in heels and share her story! The comments and questions from the attendees’ showed that many were deeply impacted by Dr. Israel’s story.
Cupcakes & Conversations will be a monthly event. While the target audience is Black women, there were both men and women of other races in attendance. I spoke to I Am Solid She founder, Barjohn Lee after the event and we discussed briefly her own mental health story (that will be coming soon) and how having a place of support for Black women to discuss mental health was not just important to her but necessary for the community! Follow @SpeakAwaytheStigma on Instagram and Facebook for details on the next Cupcakes & Conversations.
We’d love to see you at the next Conversations & Cupcakes! (And yes there are cupcakes and other goodies !!) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to get notified of the next event!!