Giving Compass' Take:

• Isabelle Morrison reports that a new initiative invites black people to share their stories about their struggles with mental health in order to change the narrative around mental health in black communities.

• How can philanthropy help create a space for safe conversations around mental health to spread awareness and understanding? What role has the criminalization of mental health played in the black community? 

• Find out why it is essential to end the criminalization of mental health in schools.

When she was growing up, Rachel Bailey was taught that only rich, self-indulgent White people suffered from mental health issues. Black people were supposed to be tougher. Although she remembers struggling with what was later diagnosed as bipolar disorder since she was 4 years old, it wasn’t until age 34 that she began to seek treatment, checking herself into a psychiatric ward after a severe mental breakdown.

Bailey was one of 11 Black performers who shared their stories in front of an audience of 600 people at TMI Project’s inaugural #BlackStoriesMattershow in 2017.

The goal is to raise awareness about different social issues, give people new perspectives, and inspire people to take action, says Eva Tenuto, co-founder and executive director of TMI Project.

“It’s not ‘You can’t have your crazy,’ it’s ‘We want to be allowed to have our crazy facets too,’” Bailey says. “It’s not all drugs and slave narratives that drive people of color crazy—some people have chemical imbalances, some people had awful childhoods—there are reasons people are crazy and that doesn’t change because of skin color.”

Read the full article about mental health in black communities by Isabelle Morrison at YES! Magazine.