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Tuesday, May 16, 2023
1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT

Community Support: Finding Connection in New Spaces

May is Mental Health Month, and this year Mental Health America is spreading education and awareness through our campaign Look Around, Look Within to amplify how our environments impact mental health.

There are many ways in which we can care for our mental health, and at the core, support, connection, community, and safety are crucial to caring for ourselves and others. When we think of places providing mental health support, often the first that come to mind are clinical settings. However, places right in our own communities, such as libraries, community centers, parks, restaurants, barbershops, and so many more, are creating intentional spaces for people to connect and care for their mental health in different ways. Join MHA and guests for this panel-style discussion where we will explore some “non-traditional” spaces where you can seek care and connection within your community.

In this free 60-minute session we will:

  • Hear from speakers about the different settings they work in that provide supportive spaces that encourage people to talk about their mental health
  • Discuss how individuals can seek out these safe spaces within their own communities
  • Learn more about how your mental, emotional, and social well-being can be impacted by spending time at places that are encouraging positive mental health practices and conversations

Meet the Speakers

Sharita K. Sims, MSW, CCHW, is the community wellness program manager at the New York Public Library. Sims is a social worker and community health advocate who is passionate about community health and wellness. Growing up in a rural area of the deep South, her passion stems from her father, who dealt with substance abuse and addiction, and her family had to utilize community resources. Sims loves working at the library because she gets to make a greater impact on the surrounding communities.

Anthony Sartori is the executive director and founder of Evolving Minds, founded in March 2020 as a mental health nonprofit with a mission to create a culture of care. Sartori currently is a professional speaker with Active Minds, sits on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee and Board of Directors for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), and is a founding equity team member of Vitalize Care, a Y Combinator-backed start-up, where he designed one of the largest health care-specific mindfulness learning curricula in the digital mental health space.

Sarah Johnson is a community engaged artist, licensed mental health professional, and human with many years of experience in prevention, mental health, art, and community building. She founded The Joy Labs, LLC in 2021 and is working to build healthier, more equitable communities.

Darnell Rice is the chief of membership and engagement officer for The Confess Project of America, where he is dedicated to raising mental health awareness for Black men and boys. Rice is a mental health and disability rights advocate and is very passionate about social justice and mental health awareness. He is the founder and chief empowerment officer of Embrace Elevate, which is an initiative that targets Black men and boys who have survived sexual trauma, educates and raises awareness about abuse and neglect, and discusses consent and unhealthy relationships.

Learn more about Mental Health Month