Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a passion for mental health advocacy. I promised myself that 2018 would be my year to become more vocal about this topic and to gain more knowledge in this area. So, you can imagine my excitement when a friend told me about Silence the Shame Presents Giants Fall, a special screening of Giants the Series as well as a panel on mental health in America (specifically in the minority community).
Silence the Shame is a mental health awareness initiative founded by music industry veteran, Shanti Das. As a young woman who is no stranger to the effects of mental illness, she uses this platform as a way to change the stigma of what it means to be mentally ill. She has held several events since the inception of Silence the Shame, so I am excited that I had the opportunity to finally attend one. Shanti collaborated with James Bland, the creator and director of Giants which is a YouTube series that showcases the life and everyday struggles of three millennials. James gave us a first look at the premiere of Season 2 (NOT a spoiler alert, but the show is definitely going to dive into seeking help for mental health issues).
During this event, we also had a chance to hear from several panelists about their battles with mental illness and how they are persevering despite life's challenges. We even had the chance to hear from licensed therapists who gave us an inside look into the causes and effects of mental strain. The panelists included James Bland, Keri Hilson (entertainer), Necole Kane (founder of xoNecole), Dr. Ayanna Abrams (therapist), and Vaughn Gay (Assistant Director of Counseling Services at Morehouse School of Medicine) with Shanti Das as the moderator.
If I had to describe this event in one word, it would simply be POWERFUL. During this event, I watched people that I have looked up to for years peel back the layers of their life through their transparent testimonies. Shanti shared her personal experience with contemplating suicide and how she took a different direction in her career for the sole purpose of healing and helping others to heal as well. From Keri giving us details on the depression she has suffered with for the last seven years to Necole describing her feelings of abandonment...there wasn't a dry eye in the audience. Dr. Ayanna and Vaughn gave us great information on the overall mental state of our community and the tools that we can take advantage of to improve the health of our brains.
"You’re pouring into all these cups and no one is pouring into you." -Necole Kane of xoNecole
James related each of their stories and advice to the importance of having a character in his series that deals with chronic depression. During this upcoming season, you'll see one of the lead characters, Journee, hit a new low and witness the hardships that she's being faced as she tries to move forward in life.
To learn more about Giants and how you can tune into the new season, visit giantstheseries.com. Be sure to also check out Silence the Shame and learn more about how you can get involved in this movement.