Mental health for minorities: Trauma and stigma after the diaspora

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

6 p.m. 7 p.m. PT

Wallis Annenberg Hall (ANN), The Sheindlin Forum (106)

Mental health has become less and less taboo since COVID-19, and universities are doing more in terms of paying attention. But in the Black community, the struggle is still very real to show emotional vulnerability around family/friends; find culturally sensitive/BIPOC mental health providers; and successfully practice coping skills despite environmental stressors. Digital Social Media student Sierra “Leona” Decker has invited some guests to shed light on some of the misconceptions. Read more on Decker and the speakers for this event below. 

Sierra “Leona” Decker is a USC Annenberg graduate student, graduating next month with a master’s of science in digital social media. After studying behavioral and community health at the University of Maryland, and dealing with her own mental health challenges since 2010, she was inspired after a conversation with her first California roommate to dig deeper into the discrepancies that minorities face in receiving mental health care. Hearing of Kaleigh Finnie’s story, she immediately felt compelled to apply for the scholarship, using this opportunity as a building block for an upcoming documentary she’d like to produce.

Tiera Couch is a licensed clinical social worker and the founder of Unfcked Therapy & Wellness. She is dedicated to providing trauma-focused, decolonized therapy. Her commitment to mental health stems from her personal journey with trauma and anxiety, fueling her passion to help others navigate similar challenges. Raised in Detroit, Couch developed a profound interest in addressing and destigmatizing therapy within her community. She brings a relatable and authentic perspective to mental health education, striving to make resources and support accessible to all. Her work reflects a deep empathy and understanding of the complexities surrounding mental wellness, empowering individuals to heal and thrive.

In his role as a fine art photographer, Pep Williams has traveled around the world shooting spreads for numerous magazines, earning features in Brazil, Germany, Australia, Canada, the U.K., Japan, and the U.S. His series, Behind Bars, shot in California prisons, is currently on permanent display at The Autry Museum in Los Angeles. Since 1986, Williams has gained fame in the professional skateboard industry and still attends tours as a 3rd Generation DogTown Skater. We’ll discuss how the sport might have been used as an outlet during childhood as he watched his father suffer from mental illness, display violent behaviors, and, ultimately, spend the rest of his life in mental institutions.

Chanda Reynolds is a multifaceted force in the mental health arena, seamlessly integrating her roles as a licensed clinical psychologist, content creator, podcast host, and national speaker. Her reach extends to major publications like Essence magazine, Forbes, and Refinery29, where her features foster meaningful discussions on crucial mental health issues. With a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, she recognized and addressed the critical disparities in mental health within the Black church, igniting her lifelong passion for transgenerational trauma, faith-based mental health, and the advancement of mental well-being within the Black community. Additionally, she holds the title of Ms. Black District of Columbia, USA, 2024, which she uses as a platform to raise awareness about mental health among Black teenagers and young adults.