Two local women of color offer stories of hope for mental health through their book “The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives.”
Vanessa Hazzard (below, left) and Iresha Picot (below, right right) are co-editors of the book which is a collection of stories by local residents trying to find hope amid their personal struggle with mental health. Both Hazzard, who is a massage therapist and healing arts educator from Mount Airy and Picot, a licensed behavioral specialist from Southwest Philadelphia, hope that by sharing their own personal stories, more people of color will feel comfortable talking about mental health care.
“I am starting my own business, I work, I’m a co-parenting mom, and I struggle daily with bipolar disorder and PTSD,” said Hazzard. “A lot of people are in that same boat.”
Picot believes that in order to start the conversation surrounding mental health, you need visibility and engagement.
“I realized during therapy, especially talking about diverse people, there’s this whole thing about being strong, especially if you’re a woman,” said Picot. “If you seem like you’re breaking down, there this judgment and criticism.”
Both women hope the book gives professionals more perspective and that it encourages everyone else to share their experiences.
If you are an adult who is having a mental health or substance abuse emergency, you may go to any of Philadelphia’s Crisis Response Centers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Temple/Episcopal Hospital: 100 E. Lehigh Ave., (215) 707-2577
Friends Hospital: 4641 Roosevelt Blvd., (215) 831-4600
Einstein at Germantown Community Center: 1 Penn Blvd., (215) 951-8300
Mercy Hospital: 501 S. 54th St., (215) 748-9525
Pennsylvania Hospital (Hall Mercer): 8th and Locust St., (215) 829-5249