Blaque and Blue is dedicated to promoting women of color who are making strides in the area or mental health awareness. We were able to chat with Jasmin Pierre, mental health advocate and self help author, about her mental health journey and what she is doing to build awareness in the mental health community.
B&B: What is your interest in advocating for mental health?
JP: Before I started writing and advocating, I was in school for radiology. I never talked about mental illness. It was already a taboo subject for many, but for some reason many black people are so afraid to speak on mental illness. Many even find it to be a personal weakness.
When I was in my early teens I enjoyed watching the show girlfriends. Till this day a certain episode is forever grained in my thoughts. I remember when Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) was having some serious issues. She told her girls she felt she needed to see a therapist. Mya (Golden Brooks) told her "We're black we don't go to therapist we go to church". At the time, I laughed and agreed with that statement.
That's until I turned 20 and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I even tried to take my own life. However, somewhere in between all of the madness I finally conquered my fear of being labeled "mentally ill" and I got help!
B&B: What mental health projects are you currently working on?
JP: Right now I am currently working on a few articles for media websites. I try more and more to get my writing out there about depression. I also advocate daily. May it be sharing a post, article, or picture related to depression or mental health awareness
B&B: What influenced your decision to start on your book, "A fight worth finishing?
JP: Every project I start is to get the word out. To help someone who may feel alone going through this illness.
B&B: What is your personal motto for your mental health advocacy?
JP: My personal motto is "Keep Fighting". No matter how it may look never give up.
B&B: What is the one thing you would like to tell anyone who is hesitant to speak about their mental health story?
JP: I would tell them to do it when they're ready. Talking about your illness is not easy. I know first hand, but once you do it you will feel free. Also you never know who you may touch by coming out and telling people.
B&B: Where do you hope to see the future of mental health?
JP: I hope in the future we are able to cut the down the stigma. I hope we're able to find better methods of therapy. I also hope we have more and affordable healthcare for those who have a mental health illness.
B&B: Anything else you would like to share?
JP: Depression nearly killed me. Mental illness is not just in your head. Suicide is already the 10th leading cause of death in the United states. So when I finally woke up out of my ignorance on mental illness I decided I needed to wake up others as well. I also needed to let those who are still suffering know they're not weak. They're sick.
I recently wrote the self help book "A Fight Worth Finishing". All about my experiences with depression and suicide. How I recovered and came out stronger. I even talked about how my particular church didn't tell me to just pray my illness away. They didn't scold me for getting help. I touch on very important issues that I feel aren't spoken about enough regarding depression and the stigmas of society.