( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Shanti Das, Former Music Executive and Founder of Silence the Shame, Inc., Raises Mental Health Awareness Through National Silence The Shame Day
ENSPIRE Contributor: Re’Dreyona Walker
As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, many are taking the initiative to be a leader in erasing the stigma around mental health and educating communities on mental wellness. Silence the Shame, Inc., is a nonprofit and viral movement to erase the stigma of mental health. Founded by music veteran and mental health advocate Shanti Das, the organization was created to focus on education and awareness around mental health through community conversations, compelling content, and outreach programs. The practices of self-quarantining and social distancing are still in effect this month, and while we hope that our communities are using this time to heal, we also know that the effects of social distancing are putting pressure on our mental health and well-being.
This is the time to support National Silence the Shame Day, as it brings the opportunity to continue the conversation about mental health and wellness and erase the stigma associated with mental illness. The organization has been working tirelessly since 2016 to get the word out specifically when it comes to how mental health affects communities of color, which is often missing from the national headlines. African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to have serious psychological distress than adult whites, and Black American teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than white teenagers, and yet the stigma around seeking the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist remains a big hurdle. Shining a spotlight on mental health and saving lives is a personal mission for Shanti Das, as she has created fundraisers and events to help raise awareness and generate crucial resources to serve our community.
To continue in their effort to make a change, the organization has geared up for their big day, National Silence the Shame Day on May 5, by doing an annual Big Text-A-Thon virtual fundraiser to increase programs, resources, scholarship funds, etc for the foundation. They will also donate a portion of the proceeds towards providing free therapy during the pandemic. In the past, the foundation has received over 200 million social media impressions with celebrities, musicians, actors, influencers, and everyday people supporting the national day. This year, they are partnering with National deejays and recording artists such as Jermaine Dupri, Kwame, DJ Trauma, Dallas Austin and many more to host virtual fundraisers on their IG Lives. Shanti Das has also been doing a Yeah Wellness Check-in live on her Instagram @shantidas404 with celebrities like Michelle Williams and Common, as well as wellness interviews with clinicians, webinars for the community at large and much more from May 1st – May 10th.
To raise money and funds to help create programs to help increase the attention and awareness given to those who are struggling with mental health, Jermaine Dupri will be doing a virtual Dance to Donate Day party on Tuesday, May 5th from 4 pm-6 pm EST. To support National Silence The Shame Day, Join @SilencetheShame for a virtual fundraiser + IG Live DJ set from Jermaine Dupri, and to donate text SILENCE to 707070 or go to silencetheshame.com.