Mental Health Spotlight Series: Prioritizing Mental Health Support in Black Communities, Feature Story 1

Throughout Black History Month, we’re sharing stories from Providence caregivers who specialize in behavioral health care. We are also featuring student mental health advocates who are members of Work2BeWell’s National Student Advisory Council.

In our first feature article, we are sharing a Q&A with Jayda Ward, a junior attending Eaglecrest High School in Aurora, Colorado, where she serves as the junior class student council president. She is also a state representative for the Colorado High School Activities Association and a member of the Work2BeWell National Student Advisory Council.

We recently spoke with Jayda about what inspires her passion for mental health advocacy and why she’s focused on reducing mental health stigma in Black communities.

What initiatives have you been involved with in your local community to raise awareness about mental health and reducing stigma in the Black community?
I’m a member of the Sisterhood Club at my school. This is a group that provides a safe space for African American girls to talk about issues related to leadership, academic, and emotional issues. We have conversations about our mental health, and we also gain access to resources that we share with our peers to support their mental health and well-being.

I also serve on a school advisory committee, and we have the opportunity to meet with the superintendent every semester. There was a time when our school and local community went through a rough patch because we lost several people in our community and there were students, teachers, and staff who were struggling with their mental health. As a member of this advisory committee, I was able to advocate for educational resources to be shared in our schools that addressed mental health. I’m privileged to serve in this role and to have the opportunity to help ensure that our voices are heard and that there are specific resources to support our diverse student body.

What inspired you to become a mental health advocate with a focus on mental health and well-being in Black communities?
As a young Black woman, I’ve had personal struggles with my mental health. I’m such a yes person, so at times I realized that I was taking on other people’s struggles before I dealt with my own. I’ve come to realize that I can’t pour out of an empty cup, and I’ve been working on building my own self confidence through the resources that I’m given at my school.

When it comes to mental health resources, there’s not a one-size-fits all toolkit or resource. That is why I’m passionate about bringing resources into the Black community that support our mental health and well-being and advocating for those who are not equally represented.

How do you Work2BeWell to support your mental health and well-being?
I love writing, and I enjoy being outdoors with friends and family.

View and share resources that support mental health and well-being
Providence’s Well Being Trust recently updated its guide that includes resources that support mental health and well-being in Black communities. Explore this curated collection of articles, guides, podcasts, and other resources: Prioritizing Black Mental Health: A guide to resources and support – Well Being Trust.

Read more feature stories in the Mental Health Spotlight Series: Prioritizing Mental Health Support in Black Communities 

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 

The information on this website is not intended to be medical advice. Medical advice can only be provided by your personal health care provider.