Fola Veritas is the co-host of a new series of mini talks on resiliency within the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) community. I had the opportunity to speak with Fola about this new series of talk as well as our shared experience of accessing mental health supports in what still feels like a rampantly, racially profiled community, both of us having experienced this stigmatization.
Fola is excited about this first of many prospective talks in the series which start Monday January 11th, 2021 at 7:30 pm, featured online through Eventbrite. The 1 hour engagement will focus on depression and resiliency in the BIPOC community. “Those who identify BIPOC have statistically been known to experience significant challenges with Mental Health due to a variety of reasons” says Fola in her promotion of this event. Many BIPOC people like Fola and I still face troubling emotions and re-traumatization in our journeys to mental health, often made worse by negative encounters with the mental health and other social support systems. This often results in many BIPOC people choosing not to seek out supports, because of profiling, stigma, and a lack of cultural understanding from service providers.
Resiliency is especially important to the BIPOC community, because we have a lot to offer the world, desiring to make impactful changes and create a beautiful future for generations to come, all through realizing our power, and the impact of that power on all our relations. We have long been limited in our potential by our traumas, so by recognizing our lineage and culture we can better heal and take the next steps to help our mental health. A first step is accepting we can get needed supports and resources despite the challenges of systemic racism, and hopefully make it easier for others by helping to bring about change in these systems.
Depression has been historically prevalent in the BIPOC community, mostly due to intergenerational traumas, and not accessing resources to help support them through the healing process. Non-BIPOC people are much more willing in accessing those same supports. Creating equitable access to these support systems will require embedding a diversity of cultural understanding in the education, training and practice of health care and other frontline service professionals.
Among Fola’s many talents is being a psychiatric nurse of 10 years, a Shaman coach and Spiritual Catalyst. She resides in Edmonton. Fola will be joined in this first Mini Resiliency Talk by co-host Shweta, a Registered Nurse of 18 years, formerly from the United Kingdom. She manages Rapid Action Health, while encouraging, engaging, and promoting education on mental health.
Anyone who wishes to attend these talks are encouraged to ask questions, be yourself, and learn about what resources you may need to grow your sense of empowerment and community, and to affirm you are not alone in your mental health struggles. A key topic will be how to reduce stigma and normalize mental health concerns for people with cultural differences.
I look forward to joining Fola and Shweta for their Resiliency Mini Talks, and I hope to see you there.
By Nadine Chalifoux