Mental health has historically been a taboo subject in the Black community, due to the fact that inner-city communities are under-financed and under-resourced, as well as uneducated as to the consequences of not keeping our mental health in check. Our community is plagued with mental health issues that are locally created and sustained by street violence, domestic violence, hyper-sexual activity, addiction, neglect, homelessness, which are all rooted in the government’s historic suppression of the Black community, which has been continuous since before the founding of this country.
The Beat the Pain Campaign is a community mental health initiative for the Black community to recognize and serve our own community, by first recognizing that we can make healthier decisions, and there are healthier ways in order for us to live our lives. Ahshatae Millhouse is the director of the Beat the Pain Campaign, and the lead organizer on this event. Check her out as she informs us about Mental Health Awareness Day on October 10th, at Sunnyside Park in East Oakland.
JR Valrey: What is the event? Why is it important for us to talk about mental health in the Black community?
Ahshatae Millhouse: “Beat The Pain” Campaign is the name of our event. The slogan represents overcoming hardship, and the use of music as a soothing mechanism to heal the soul. The event will be held on Mental Health Awareness Day, which is October 10th 2021. The importance of mental health becoming a normal conversation in the Black community is important, because the first step to finding solutions for one’s life is first having the awareness that there is a problem. If we can identify the issue and have accessibility to proper solution oriented resources, I believe we will see a difference in our generation and the generations to come.
JR Valrey: Do you have any mental health crisis experiences that drove you into this work?
Ahshatae Millhouse: Mental Health is such a large umbrella, such as social withdrawal, rapid mood swings, agitation, suicidal thoughts, changes in sleeping habits, I can go on; but I’ve been dealing with the mental health crisis since elementary school, all the way up to my adulthood. I wasn’t aware of my own mental health issues, until I noticed a recurring cycle in my behavior so I began to want to try to figure out how to reverse the cycle. A lot of us are dealing with mental health crises of some sort, but because our community lacks the information/resources we are blindly facing these issues.
JR Valrey: What resources will be offered at the event? And who is performing and speaking?
Ahshatae Millhouse: We have MS Therapist Nerisha Harris who has a masters in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. She and her colleagues will have information for our guest. We also will have other guest speakers and community leaders that come directly from the demographic we serve, which I believe makes the message more effective. Beat The Pain is a music based themed event, so on the performance roster we have Lil Kayla from San Francisco as our headliner. Opening up for Lil Kayla is Warner Chappell Music signed producer CT Beats. We have something for everyone to enjoy. Harmoni & Lyric, a new up and coming sister duo group (elementary school aged), Keidra On Stage, Giveit2emlala and a surprise performance from an Oakland legend!
JR Valrey: How did you pick who you wanted to perform and speak at this event?
Ahshatae Millhouse: I allowed myself to connect with each performer’s story line. I feel that they all represent the audience that they will be expressing themselves to. This allows people that may not feel they have a voice to be heard. Each speaker has first hand experience with dealing with the people in our community. They are action based. They are about that action!!
JR Valrey: What do you want people to get out of this event?
Ahshatae Millhouse: It was important and a perfect opportunity for the Beat The Pain Campaign, with this being mental health awareness day, to create an event to not only bring awareness to mental health crisis, but awareness to different outlets to help channel it such as art, music, eating healthy, and even seeking a therapist.
JR Valrey: What can people do to help the Beat the Pain Campaign, if they are not able to attend the October 10th event?
Ahshatae Millhouse: They can simply repost the flyer, and help spread the word. The more we all come together in effort to make our environment better, the more results we will see.
JR Valrey: How could people get more info and get in touch with you if they want to donate?
Ahshatae Millhouse: They can contact us via email email@example.com or Instagram @beatthepaincampaign and speak with one of our representatives. We always need support and volunteers to help us to further reach our goals.
Our cash app is $beatthepain
Or donations can be sent to our director through Zelle or Venmo.