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Mental Health Panel to Offer Insights & Solutions for Black Youth Mental Health Struggles July 15

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Black youth's struggles with mental health issues sparks expert public dialogue to impact disparities in awareness, treatment, and resources

In the year 2023, African American youth continue to grapple with unique mental health challenges which calls for focused dialogue and action to turn the tide on adverse mental health well-being trends. With teen suicide rates and incidence of violence reaching epidemic proportions, now is the time to take a stand for our youth. Click below for the full article. For a clearer and more concise perspective on the severity of this youth mental health crisis, consider the following data:

Recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reveals that African American youth aged 12 to 17 experience higher rates of major depressive episodes compared to their white counterparts. The study found that 12.4% of African American youth reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the past year, highlighting

a significant disparity in mental health outcomes. (Source: NSDUH, 2022)

Research conducted by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) indicates that African American youth are more likely to be exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as violence, poverty, and discrimination. This exposure can significantly impact their mental health, leading to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is estimated that African American children are approximately 1.6 times more likely to experience ACEs compared to their white counterparts. (Source: OMH, 2021)

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) reports that suicide rates among African American youth have been steadily increasing in recent years. In 2023, suicide is the second leading cause of death for African American adolescents aged 15 to 19. (Source: SPRC, 2023)

These alarming statistics highlights the urgent need for targeted intervention and support systems to address the unique mental health struggles faced by African American youth. This Get Off The Couch Mental Health Conference on July 15, 2023 and the amazing mental health professionals it brings to the community are a meaningful stride in the right direction.


Meet the Panelists

Responding to Youth Mental Health Struggles


Shar Bates is a Community Healer (Shaman), Master Host, Youth Advocate & Creative Marketer. Shar works diligently on Community healing through shamanism, health & wellness, community

advocacy, youth programs, consultancy, and projects like the Melanated Art Project that honors powerful slain men and women. Or events like Altar Candy: The Spiritual Marketplace, that not only provides several modalities of healing via experts from all over the world, while

simultaneously featuring business owners that will build generational wealth in the black community.

"I providing support for the youth that I didn’t have during my troubled youth years. As well as helping people navigate through their emotions during times of duress and conflict, as to not allow small situations to turn into bigger problems that can change or end a life."


Zoe Mulann empowers youths and parents through awareness and education about mental health and social anxiety.

"By being a young woman in the entertainment industry and also living a normal teenage life outside of the entertainment industry with experiencing some challenges and having to balance both lives, it made me more aware of how mental health plays a key role in my daily life."


Joya Hampton-Anderson is the founder of The ENRICH program, a community-based participatory research lab that conducts studies that seek to figure out how to best treat mental health concerns in Black youth.

Her lab was started in the Fall of 2020 with the goal of improving mental health treatment for youth of color. Connecting with communities as they complete clinical psychological research has been their longstanding goal. As a Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychologist, she works with youth and families using an empirically supported, collaborative, culturally responsive approach to treatment. She also enjoys connecting with communities about her work via writing and talks.


Chris James is a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Mental Health Keynote speaker and spoken word artist. Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas and now based in Atlanta, Georgia, he is also a nationally award-winning spoken word artist, 2x TED TALKS speaker, 4x author, playwright, life coach and mental health practitioner.

In 2011 James was the owner and operator of a black owned newspaper called The Essence of Blackness. In 2014, he founded @thehouseofartlr which is still operating.

In 2019, he represented Arkansas as the keynote speaker at the United States Capitol for the 39th Annual Congressional Art Competition. That same year his stage play, DEAR BLACK PEOPLE won BEST ORIGINAL PLAY at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival. He is also a the director of Creative Connections, an arts education organization that takes arts and poetry into the schools all across the country impacting over 10,000 students since 2013. In June 2022 a movie he wrote premiered on Bet Her called Devons Day and in October 2022, he published his 4th book GET UP GET OUT & GET SOME HEALING. Today he operates as a 10 year full time multi-hyphenate creative.

"My passion and purpose is all aligned in helping people get closer to their healing. I survived the darkness of my mental health struggle. I didn't know with confidence that I would survive my mothers death but once I did I decided it was life's purpose to help equip others with the tools to navigate their murky waters too."


The New Black Wall Street Market is a 125,000 square-feet premier retail establishment and events center housing dozens of black-owned businesses located at 8109 Mall Parkway, Stonecrest, GA 30038. This decadent facility features the Pink Lion Jazz Club, Mattie's Tea Room, its own ballroom, a Greenwood performance stage, an Art Avenue featuring world-class art, an expo hall as well as Aaron's Gourmet Grocery Market featuring chef-inspired cuisine, and health products. To find out more about space rental and upcoming events, visit

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