• Melony Hill

Mental Health Advocate, Jasmin Pierre, Creates a Virtual "Safe Place" for Black Mental Ill

Name: Jasmin Pierre

Age: 29

Jasmin Pierre is a Certified Peer Support Specialist, Certified Mental Health First Aid Responder, Mental Health Advocate, Motivational Speaker, Author of the self help book “A Fight Worth Finishing”, Owner of the Recovery based service "A Fight Worth Finishing", and App Developer of the minority mental health app "The Safe Place", Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those who battle Mental Health Challenges.

MH: Before we get started, let me say congratulations on your new app and thank you for all the work you do in the name of mental health advocacy. You have an impressive bio, let’s tell the readers more about you.

African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the rest of the general population. However, many black people still do not wish to seek professional help for their mental illnesses.

"The Safe Place" Is a Minority Mental Health App geared towards the Black Community. From checking out the app, what I get is that the purpose of the "Safe Place" is to bring more awareness, education, and hope to this serious issue. What I love most is that although it’s specifically marketed towards the Black community, health professionals, friends, and family, of ALL colors can utilize this app to be better educated.

Why was it important for you to create the virtual “safe place”?

JP: It was important to me because I see and have lived first hand the lack of education and help in the black community when it comes to mental illness. The topic is so shameful to us and something many of us wished to be hushed.

As a matter of fact some black people think mental illness doesn't exists in our community at all. I've been advocating for the mental health of all races for three years now. I've done many projects but nothing really specifically this big geared towards the mental health of the black community. I just thought it was time I did something more.

MH: As a Black woman, have you found it harder to find quality mental health services? Why do you think quality mental health resources seem unobtainable for the Black community?

JP: Yes, I have. It's a huge lack of mental health resources in brown communities. We have a big lack of funding and I believe that plays a huge part in it. Also, I believe some people in the mental health field who are of different races don't always Necessarily understand the systematic racism, and post traumatic stress of racially charged shootings that have extremely Affected the mental health of the black community. (I feel the safe place can play a role in changing that)

MH: Since it’s launch, what has been the reaction the “The Safe Place”? Do you feel people understand it’s intent? What are some of your favorite features?

JP: So far I've had a lot of positive feedback from peers and mental health professionals. I do believe many people understand the intent of why I'm doing this and it's honestly a really great feeling. Some of my favorite app features are the self care tips, mental health videos, and informative mental health articles.

MH: I love your “A Fight Worth Finishing” movement, I see you’ve built a great community around it. You wrote a book by the same name. Would you tell us about the story behind your book and movement?

JP: Thank you. The story behind my movement and book"A Fight Worth Finishing" is the true story of my own battle with major depressive disorder, anxiety, and suicide. The book was published in early 2016. My Facebook "A Fight Worth Finishing" reaches people of all races who are dealing with mental health.

It's a place where they can feel safe to discuss mental health topics, read articles about what's going on with mental health today, and I interact with my followers by checking in on them and ultimately advocating for thei mental health rights. Both the book and the Facebook page have become near and dear to my heart as I am so passionate about helping others not be afraid to speak about their mental health. I will also be writing a part two to my first book which will be called "A Fight Worth Finishing Part 2"

MH: You’re a Certified Peer Support Specialist and Certified Mental Health First Aid Responder, for those unfamiliar with the terms, can you tell us what you do?

JP: Sure I can explain that for you. A certified peer support specialist is a person who has a lived experience with mental illness or substance abuse. They're considered to be in recovery and they become certified to help others who have a mental illness or substance abuse problem find their own form of recovery. I went to school for it and graduated in the state of Louisiana.

As for the "Certified Mental Health First Aid Responder" you get certified through a national program and are taught skills to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use. You are also taught how to help others in stressful situations such as someone who may be thinking of attempting suicide.

MH: What do you hope to inspire in or teach others through your advocacy and creation of “The Safe Place”?

JP: I hope to teach those in the black community and even those of other races the seriousness of the stigma around mental health issues in minorities. I hope to tech others the importance of knowing the signs of mental illness, the importance of self care, and also the importance of not being afraid to seek help.

MH: Where can readers find your book, download your app and follow your movement online?

JP: People can download my free app "The Safe Place on android and I-Phone" here are the links below

Safe Place I-Phone App https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-safe-place/id1349460763?mt=8

Safe Place Android App https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.he6ecb72aef1

My book "A Fight Worth Finishing" can be purchased on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1530694124/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

They can follow me on social media by searching "A Fight Worth Finishing" or "The Safe Place" (Facebook and Instagram)

Jasmin also has some great videos on depression and mental illness. Check out a few

Is Depression a Weakness?

A Letter to the Media

10 Things People with Depression are Tired of Hearing

Download "The Safe Place" Today!

#mentalhealth #mentalillness #blogs

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