About

Our Mission

 The African American Everyone Counts Campaign is a two-year project focused on decreasing mental health stigma while restoring and revitalizing our communities.

Stigma is often two-fold: one can get stigmatized from other people who may not have the education or awareness about what the challenge is, and one can stigmatize themselves, believing the massive misinformation coming from the community. 

This campaign aims to address both internal and external stigma, through partnership, support groups, trainings, workshops, and events. 

Mental Health is a taboo topic amongst many communities. In African American or Black culture, mental health needs are often dismissed and looked over due to the daily stressors associated with racism, discrimination and other forms of systemic oppression. We are a people who have weathered many storms, overcome many hardships, and have survived and thrived through it all. Dealing with a mental health challenge simply doesn’t compare to all of the pain we have endured, and so, in turn, we rely on prayer, and other unhealthy mechanisms to address these underlying issues. 

Also, because of our experiences in America, trusting health professionals to provide proper care for us is all too often a catch 22. Historically, we were not considered human and from that stance of cognitive dissonance, murder, rape, experiments, and other forms of dehumanization happened over hundreds of years. With there never being any righteous laws or mental health evaluations given to the oppressors nor the oppressed, propaganda and privilege allowed for more, subtle racism to occur that still exists today. Some if it also not so subtle. Recently, there have been studies that show there is a bias amongst health care professionals–from physical health to mental health–that prevent African Americans from getting the proper diagnosis and support. African Americans are more likely to be misdiagnosed, overmedicated, or imprisoned when seeking mental health care or needing mental health support. 

The good news is, there is hope. Through our campaign, we have conducted focus groups, meetings, and conference calls and find that the topic of mental health is slowly but surely becoming a hot topic. With terms like self-care and wellness being spread across social media, there is a rising community of African Americans who are talking about mental health, bringing awareness of mental health needs and experiences in the Black community, and people are beginning to seek mental health support. 

 

At PEERS, were trying to figure out: Where are the services that are for us, by us; How can we educate those working in our community who do not reflect our community to best serve our community, and lastly, How do we use self care practices as a protection and response system to effectively and strategically respond to daily stressors associated with racism, discrimination, and other forms of systemic oppression? 

 

Here is what we found:

Conducted focus groups at Dewey Academy (TAY), Millenials in Mental Health Conference, and at Casa Ubuntu (Elders) to get a multigenerational scope of mental health needs. 

Timeline 

FY 2018/2019

July 2018 
  • Attended the Association of Black Psychologists Convention 
  • Attended Dr. Amber McZeal workshop entitled Decolonization of the psyche.
  • Attended the open forum with the City of Oakland Office of Equity. In which we reviewed the Equity Indicator report.
August  2018
  • Participated in the Emotional Emancipation Circle at Allen Temple in honor of Nia Wilson. 
September 2018
  • Hosted our first focus group at Casa Unbut. We spoke with the elders in our community about what is needed to change the African American community. We ask what supports are needed to have healthier thriving communities and how do we increase self-esteem?  
October 2018
  • Attended the Mental Health Matters Conference. There were speakers from the African American Community that talked about the intersection of religion, mental health, and the community.
  • Hosted the second focus group in collaboration with Dewey High School 
November 2018
  • KBLX Mental Health Interview 
December 2018
  • Partnered with  Mills College, The Black Healing Circles to gain more perspective on the needs of the students and young African American Millennials.
  • Attended the OUSD Wellness Council meeting to discuss the campaign 
January 2019
  • Presented at the Millennials in Mental Health Conference
  • Held first Action Team meeting 
February 2019
  • Held second Action Team meeting
  • We also supported the African American Event hosted by LEVS at the Oakland Library.
March 2019
  • Attended the Mills Center for Transformative Change Conference where we were able to network and get in contact with local organizations to build partnerships.   
April 2019
  • Action Team revamped the Ending Self Stigma Curriculum in preparation for our support groups 
May 2019
  • Increased awareness of the campaign with PEERS Billboard 
June 2019
  • Interview with influential group 94.1 KPFA to discuss PEERS and the I’m good campaign

 

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