So this week I am bringing back Young, Black, Visionary featuring a very close friend of mine, Amani. Amani has been extremely vocal about her journey with depression and mental health in general and she has done an amazing job of breaking some of the stigma around talking about mental health among black people. Her willingness to be open and honest about what she goes through is amazing so here is my short interview with her:
1. When did you realize that you were struggling with depression?
I realized this back in 7th grade when the therapist told my mom I was just a moody teenager. My trust in adults was lost and I realized something was actually wrong with me, but I didn’t know what it was until high school.
2. Was it difficult to open up about your struggles with mental health to your family and/or friends?
I’m a very closed off person so it was quite difficult for me to open up about my mental health problems. You never really know how people will react and whether or not they’ll believe you.
3. What do you wish people knew about depression, anxiety, or any other mental health struggles?
I wish people would realize that mental health problems are real, especially in the African American community. Yes, you can pray about it and hope God takes it away but ignoring it or just saying “it’s a phase” won’t do anything about it but make your children lose trust in you as a parent and their number one confidant.
4. What is the best way to help someone who is struggling with their mental health?
You have to be there for them when they need you, especially when they’re going through a depressive episode and they’re contemplating suicide. But when they don’t answer your phone calls or texts you have to let them have their time to breathe and figure out what their own mental state is going through. But always keep an eye on them when your gut feeling tells you to check on them.
5. Do you have advice for girls dealing with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health struggles?
It is okay to have depression and anxiety but don’t use it for “omg, aesthetic” purposes. I know at times it may be rough but we were built to make it through tough times.
Make sure to check out Amani on Instagram and comment support or your mental health story, you don’t know who you might help.