Minority Mental Health Advocate: Terrell Jermaine Starr
"I do all I can to ensure people I connect with do not lose hope." -Terrell
Tell us about the work you do and how you got started.
I do not engage in full-time mental health work. but I do use my platform to regularly discuss mental health. I've written about my own challenges with depression for major publications and I host chats about mental health on Twitter. I try to be as open as possible about my past issues with depression so that others will feel safe to share their stories and seek the help they need. Many people have reached out to me on social media, which makes me feel very proud that my transparency makes a difference.
Why does minority mental health matter to you?
Most people of color do not understand the link between their mental health and white supremacy. That parallel isn't widely explained to people seeking help. And it doesn't help that treatment is often inaccessible, so I try to assist people in seeking help that fits their budgets or, if it is possible, free resources that address their needs. Lack of access to quality mental health care is a very serious issue for minorities that often causes them to feel hopeless. I do all I can to ensure people I connect with do not lose hope.
What would you tell your younger self?
I have never been diagnosed with a disorder, but I did attend therapy sessions for two years for depression and suicidal ideation that I experienced in 2014 when I was 34-years-old. As for what I would tell my younger self, I would stand as an example to follow and say it is OK to admit your pain and seek help. Most of us don't have the space to admit our pain, so I'd start there.