Minority Mental Health Advocate: Alex Hardy
"I feel compelled to use my voice to make the journey less arduous for my people." -Alex Hardy
Tell us about the work you do and how you got started.
I consider myself a mental health advocate. After I began writing, tweeting, and talking about my journey with depression, suicide, and anxiety, I started to host events, participate in panels, give keynotes, and lead workshops based around mental wellness, particularly for Black folks. Via essays, articles, my site TheColoredBoy.com, and my podcast The Extraordinary Negroes, I try to talk and write about mental and emotional wellness as much as possible.
Weekly on The Extraordinary Negroes, we have Mental Health Monday, where we post essays, stories, videos, documentaries, art, resources and other mental and emotional wellness-based content.
Recently, I hosted a literary showcase and conversation series at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture called #GetSomeJoy: A Blackstravaganza for Mental Health Awareness. Currently, I'm developing a year-long multimedia mental health awareness campaign, which will include a 10-city wellness tour. The campaign, also called GetSomeJoy, launches in September.
Why does minority mental health matter to you?
It's important because we have specific needs and experiences that aren't often addressed in the larger conversation around mental health. Our traumas, heritages, socioeconomic dynamics, and such aren't considered enough in mental health studies and media representation for a variety of reasons. The disparities in access, resources, knowledge, and trust are vast, and it's important for us to address these gaps and connect more folks to the care and support they need. I see daily how often our experiences and perspectives aren't valued or trusted, how often we fall through the cracks and get neglected. I feel compelled to use my voice to make the journey less arduous for my people.
What would you tell your younger self?
Know that you can't do everything (at once or otherwise), be everything to, and please or be liked by everyone, so don't beat yourself up for not being able to. Spend more time loving on yourself and work on building yourself up, rather than trying to make everyone happy. You'll spare yourself so much stress.