African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis county.
Episode 4: Enhance Awareness for Suicide Prevention
The February podcast highlighted our AMEN partner, the D. Wood Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization with a mission to enhance awareness for suicide prevention and advocate the importance of mental health. Jacki Hecht, RN, MSN, Managing Director of the AMEN program at the UT Austin School of Nursing was joined by Fabian Wood, CEO and founder of the D. Wood Foundation Inc.
“Suicide has no race nor color. Each day of life is another day of opportunity.” Fabian Wood
The D. Wood Foundation serves as a bridge that connects, motivates, and engages those in need of mental health support. They believe that isolation is one of the leading causes of depression and aim to combat this by creating a culture of support. Their organization is inspired by the late mother, Deandria “Dee” Wood of founder Fabian Wood. On July 29, 2010, at the age of 19, he lost his mother to death by suicide. Two weeks later he moved to Austin, TX where he met Chad Williams, Jr. and Keyonn Ajala. The three formed the D. Wood Foundation in efforts to continue the legacy of Deandria Wood and her heart to help others.
The Foundation also supports the You’re.Not.Alone (Y.N.A) Fellowship, which hosts various programs that aim to Re-motivate, Re-connect and Re-engage those battling with depression and isolation, and provides education on how to sustain mental health. Y.N.A Fellowship programs, operating at Huston-Tillotson (HT) University, are held on the HT campus and are open to all who may be in need of mental health support.
The effect that suicide has on those left behind can take a lifetime to recover from, however, suicide is preventable. Many people experience mental struggles, as they aim to deal with everyday life challenges. This sometimes makes us feel alone in our thoughts and situations. The power of a conversation is one gift we can all give. The time it takes to engage with someone new, or a distant loved one, is the time it can take to save a life.
On February 8, 2020, the D. Wood Foundation Inc. and Integral Care hosted a Yes 2 Best (Y2B) Summit at St. Edwards University. Y2B is a Mental Health and Wellness Summit for ages 14-24. The goal is to help participants develop and learn skills to live beyond our emotional stressors and trauma. The event was filled with music, food and interactive mini-sessions that addressed leading topics around emotional and social wellness. It also included activities that build personal skills to strengthen mind, body and spirit.
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