Poet/Writer Bassey Ikpi is putting forth a call. With her organization, The Siwe Project, Ikpi has instituted No Shame Day; a designated day where people of color suffering, struggling and managing a mental illness can open up and share their experience with no shame. The inaugural No Shame Day kicks off National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month on July 2. It’s a brave and much-needed move as it fights against the stigma that black communities world-wide face when it comes to mental health issues such as depression, bi-polar and post-traumatic stress.
The Siwe Project’s first annual No Shame Day will be held on July 2, the first Monday of National Minority Mental Health Month. We are asking people to publicly share their mental health journeys or speak as allies for loved ones in their lives.
The Siwe Project, a global non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the international black community is launching a campaign that focuses on stigma reduction through storytelling and community building. Though The Siwe Project gears its efforts mainly toward people of African descent, we do realize that mental illness is an issue that affects EVERYONE and we hope that the first annual No Shame Day will be an opportunity for people of all nationalities, all around the world, to rally around mental health care. The Siwe Project website will host candid discussions about mental illness stigma, diagnoses, and treatment options. The purpose of No Shame Day is to encourage more people to seek treatment without shame.
Here’s where you come in: The Siwe Project believes that sharing stories not only fosters individual healing, but community transformation. The Siwe Project strategically uses new media to cultivate safe spaces to share new stories. To that end, we’re looking for bloggers (with their own blogs) to write about their personal experiences with mental health for No Shame Day to open the dialogue on a broader public scale. If you’re interested in blogging about your or a loved ones mental health journey, please email Bassey Ikpi firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Siwe Project, named for the daughter of Ikpi’s friend that committed suicide at 15, is a non-profit that promotes mental health awareness throughout the global black community. Ikpi herself has been very vocal and open about her diagnoses of being bi-polar.
Hopefully those suffering in silence can find solace in participating with The Siwe Project and in knowing they are not alone.