Discussing Mental Health

National Suicide Prevention Helpline


If you are considering suicide or are in crisis, please call.

In the aftermath of Robin William’s struggle with depression and suicide, we talked about mental health in the African American community, where adults are 20 percent more likely to report psychological distress and teens are likely to make more suicide attempts than their white counterparts.

We talked about stigmas in the community, where 63 percent of people believe that depression is a sign of weakness and 56 percent of people believe that depression is a normal part of aging.  Melette and I talked about our experiences dealing with mental illness in our families and Diva shared her journey of seeking treatment for her Bipolar Disorder. We all agreed that it is important to encourage those who are experiencing depression to seek treatment from sources qualified to provide counseling and referral to medical services.

Here are some warning signs of clinical depression from helpguide.org (the National Suicide Prevention Helpline also helps people in depression in crisis – 1-877-273-8255) :


  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.




21 Days of Cleansing – A Journey.

Last year, on June 16, I began a 21 day cleanse because I had read about several people who had done so and the positivity of their experiences. The


rules for the cleanse were that it was vegan (no meat, dairy or egg products), gluten free, free of refined sugar and no alcohol. There were clashes between me and a couple of the kids (they developed a liking for my gluten-free waffles), a slip with a little square of chocolate (it sure was good, though) and a refusal on my part to eat gluten free bread, but other than that (and the fact that some people said I was crabby at first, hmph), there was a lot of thought and insight into what it takes to bring foods from their original sources to my table. I became more passionate about purchasing and cooking local produce for my family whenever possible. Even now, a year later, I am always on the lookout for something green, fresh and healthy (yet locally produced) to incorporate into our meals and snacks.