Sparking Important Conversations to Improve Mental Health and Well-being through CTAAFSC

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January 7, 2021
African American Community

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 15: Sparking Important Conversations to Improve Mental Health and Well-being through the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference

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Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht, interviewed Kimberly Holiday - Philanthropist, Author, Motivational Speaker, Marketing VP Education Foundation and Radio Personality as Lady Joy on KAZI and Dr. Calvin Kelly - A certified clinical trauma professional.

The Central Texas African American Family Support Conference (CTAAFSC) is an annual conference hosted by Integral Health, the Local Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority for Travis County. In November 2000, this was the first conference in Texas (and only the third in the United States) to focus on the healthcare needs of African Americans. This year they will host the 21st annual conference (and the first to be held virtually!) that promotes mental health and wellness within the African American community. 


Central Texas African American Family Support Conference's Logo

Kimberly Holiday, Chair of Outreach and Marketing, explains that this conference has been held within this community for over twenty years and aims to be “family oriented and directed by individuals with lived experience” – individuals that live or have lived with any mental health issue. This conference was established because its founders wanted to “give a platform for individuals to share their story and journey.” This year, the CTAAFSC is being held virtually on February 3-5, 2021 and strives to assist individuals to express their thoughts during these difficult times. Kimberly says this conference is “rated E” for everyone, and will offer excellent education, networking, and entertainment. Visit the CTAAFSC website to learn more about the conference.

Dr. Calvin Kelly adds that directly following the CTAAFSC conference, the second annual Yes2Best Conference is being held on February 6, 2021, virtually as well. Dr. Kelly describes the conference as a “mental health summit that was created for our youth and young adults between the ages of 14-24” with the overall goal to improve the health and well-being among African Americans in the Travis County area. Kelly adds that “African Americans are twenty times more likely to experience serious mental health issues than non-Hispanic whites” and believes this conference creates a great opportunity for young adults to discuss the issues they face with health professionals. Click here to register for the Yes2Best Youth Summit.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in these conferences that focus on the improvement of overall well-being. Jacki Hecht states the importance of mental health right now because “people are so isolated with their own emotions and feelings” and it is more important than ever to share this experience and learn from one another. Additionally, Shannon Jones states that there has been a “gradual diminishing of the disparity in terms of death outcomes” within the community. Dr. Kelly concludes the podcast by stating the importance for younger adults to have a safe space where they can feel heard and be comfortable sparking conversations regarding overall well-being.

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