By Verbal Adam | OBSERVER Correspondent
Local mental health activist Brianna James last weekend held two events dedicated to healing the trauma carried by so many members of the Black community.
Saturday’s event, “Soul Work,” at the Roberts Family Development Center in North Sacramento included writing, conversation, yoga and fellowship.
Mental and emotional health issues in the Black community often go untreated due to the perception that mental health conditions are a sign of weakness. The cultural stigma around mental health in the Black community often results in emotions being bottled and unwillingness to speak about the issues even to friends and family due to fear of how those issues would be perceived.
A survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to determine the level of comfort people have in discussing mental health related issues showed 67% of those who identified as white reported being open to discussing their mental health issues with friends and family. Conversely, only 12.5% of those who identified as Black felt that way.
The second event, a screening of the film “Here Lies The Truth,” was held at Sacramento State. The film told individual narratives of ageism, alcohol addiction, sexual orientation discrimination and sexual assault in the form of narrated voice overs as the story subjects danced. It made for a powerful demonstration of trauma and healing through self-expression.
Outgoing Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen, who attended the screening, said that once it was explained to him what the film was about, he personally approved the screening.
Also in attendance was Sacramento State basketball legend Ronnie Cobb, who’s now senior director of partnerships for the Greater Sacramento Urban League. Cobb, who led Sac State to 36 victories, volunteered as creative director for the film. The event also included a panel discussion and on-site Black mental health professionals.
“I am extremely proud of you and blessed to have experienced all the greatness from this healing last weekend,” Adeola Adedipe-Franse, a community member who attended both events, said in addressing James.
“Every time I show up my cup is full. There is something about a community worker that pours into the community effortlessly saving lives and providing a voice for the voiceless. I love how the short film shines a light on ageism, alcoholism/sobriety, LGBTQIA2s, and sexual assault and harassment.”