Minority Mental Health Advocate: Rowana Abbensetts
"Far too many marginalized people are suffering in silence and shame. It's time to #endthestigma." -Rowana
Tell us about the work you do and how you got started.
During my darkest hour of depression, when I didn't think I could hold on to life for another day, I remember wishing there was a place where I could talk to other women of color with similar experiences. Years later my passion for mental health and my life-long fascination with writing and literature came together when I started my blog Spoken Black Girl. Since then, I've been raising awareness about mental health and mental illness while creating spaces for women of color to share their stories of healing through writing. My latest project is Spoken Black Girl Magazine, an online space where women of color can share their wellness journeys while learning from the experiences other women of color.
Why does minority mental health matter to you?
Minority Mental Health is extremely important because marginalized communities are often the hardest hit by mental illness while also being the least informed. Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is an excellent time to inform our family and friends about mental illness and teach them how to be compassionate, understanding, and loving towards those who deal with mental illness. Far too many marginalized people are suffering in silence and shame. It's time to #endthestigma.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my anxious and depressed teenaged self that there's no such thing as perfect. I would tell her that she is enough and that she is worthy of love and equal to all of her dreams. I would tell her that anxiety is not who you are, it's a condition that you have and it doesn't have to be the defining factor in life. Spend less time figuring out how to be the best and more time figuring out what it means to be yourself. There's only one you, so once you've learned how to love yourself inside and out, you've achieved your own kind of imperfect perfection.