In honor of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (official government name), I’ve partnered with #CultureFix, “a global, collaborative network of artivisits, cultural producers, & influencers who use arts to impact communities around the world,” founded by Nora Rahimian and Natalie Crue.
What’s in store from this fabulous collaboration? Two Twitter chats centered on mental health awareness for creatives and entrepreneurs of color, as well as an open resource for support. (Cue the fireworks.) By these, we aim to bridge these gaps of access and availability, and spark insightful conversations about mental health and wellness.
Who’s Up for Round Two? This time, we discussed “Self-Care, Creativity, and Healing in Response to Outside Trauma.”
Here were our guests:
- Zuwaina Murad (@zu_mu), psychotherapist working to heal traumas, foster coping and promote wellness. She is the owner of Amicus Group, GTA concierge therapy practice
- Roconia Price, (everso_Roco) ( pronounced “RuhCONNuh”), founder of @Moredinary. sometimes Ro. Sometimes Roco. Always writing, always fighting
This was a lively conversation on mental health and creativity, with several views and suggestions presented, with questions giving rise to more questions! Here I’ve captured a couple gems:
On reinterpreting cultural trauma for the masses, and its impact:
- History is always being reworked and reinterpreted; potential for positive and negative in this! –Zuwaina
- There’s this expectation that artists stay outside of cultural events so they can document/interpret them for others–heavy. –Nora
- We wind up bearing a burden and not giving ourselves time to recover –Me
- How do creatives access mental care? Where, outside of traditional structures, can we go? –Natalie
- We start by creating our own structures, support groups, writing/art groups, initiatives like #CultureFix.–Zuwaina
- Artists can help communities understand traumatic events, but it has to be their choice to do so. –USDAC
There’s this emphasis on not feeling emotions rather than learning to feel, face, work through them. –Nora
There’s pressure to be overly dramatic and vulnerable which may bring emotions to the surfaces that shouldn’t be brought up..I definitely feel stoicism is valued…–AK
This may add to the mythos of artist as superhuman, but we need space to decompress, also!–Me
- Art/trauma- can make artists more aware of the aggressions they exp. themselves & allows to consider new methods of resiliency– Zuwaina
On artists’ responsibility to speak on social justice, and striking a balance for self-care:
- While self-care alternatives like yoga, martial arts, retreats, etc sometimes are helpful in terms of mediating stress and mental health issues, they’re not a cure-all. –Chula
- Can art relating to trauma be self-care?
- Formal treatment is always good in addition to our art.–AK Kerani
Creatives are responsible to depict through their own lens, informed by historic context. Art not made in a vacuum…but of course exercise empathy and not speak over those who are closely impacted & grieving.
We can feel compelled by emotional highs, but need to take time to process in order to create effective work.
- We expect [artists and creatives] to interpret what we cant make sense of. Or act as intermediaries. Pick up the torch when you feel the need.–Natalie
On holding space for collective healing:
- An individual artist can connect with a community that s/he identifies strongly with…There’s a level of empathy and understanding that an individual’s community can provide, allowing someone to feel supported. –Chula the Film
- I have a responsibility to my fans. If they’re suffering, and me speaking can change it, I have to do it.–Takuna
On messaging, using art to change the conversation around mental health:
- Art has a dope way of opening people up, so creatives being open about their mental health in their work is a major key. –Amirah
- Combatting the stigma of mental health in communities of color is one message i’d like to put out there.–Natalie
- Arts can open our minds to alternative ways of coping, encourage our differences, one size doesn’t fit all.–Zuwaina
- #thefilmchula hopes to educate others on BPD and substance abuse, and empower people to educate themselves using film
- POC suffer the most health disparities, less likely to seek treatment. We gotta help each other be well!
A final takeaway from yours truly:
Creatives, don’t forget to breathe. Don’t leave transparency out of your daily practice, whether you are using your art as therapy, or another constructive alternative to heal. 😀
(You can scroll through the full discussion here.)
This was such a great experience! I hope everyone gleans what they needed from these chats, in resource or connecting with like minds. Thank you!
Tune in to #CultureFix every Tuesday at 3pm EDT/ 12 noon PST!