Dec 1, 2021
Pardon me while I drop my first ever LIVE episode into this space! And, wouldn’t you know it, my guest and I cover all the Conversations With a Wounded Healer favorites: community, connection, spiritual anchors, resiliency, the white-washing of mental wellness spaces, and the importance of therapists engaging in their own work (natch). What a joy to sit beside Camesha Jones, LCSW, at Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness, her gorgeous social enterprise located in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. Founded in 2017, Sista Afya is dedicated to providing low- to no-cost mental wellness services that center the experiences of Black women.
Let’s chat about why centers like it are important––and, believe me, there aren’t many places like Sista Afya, sadly. “Sometimes people keep saying this BS that Black people don't want to engage in therapy,” says Camesha. Ah, yes, the narrative about which communities are and aren’t receptive to supportive healing, created by those outside the community to stigmatize and keep critical infrastructure like therapy from reaching those who need it. Camesha flatly refutes the trope.
Camesha has built a center that’s community focused down to its core. The name, for instance, combines sista, a term of endearment used between Black women, and afya, a Swahili word that means to be healthy, free from psychological and physical illness.
In her own life, Camesha takes continual care to address challenges inherent to living with bi-polar disorder. She offers hope to folks, including fellow therapists, with similar experiences, modelling self-awareness and practicing sustainable self-care while running a successful business. “I go to therapy. I go to my psychiatrist. I take my meds. I do all the things [ ] and that's part of why I call myself a mental illness survivor,” she says, adding, “we're dealing with some of the same things, we're all dealing with some of the same things. It doesn't mean that we can't be effective in this work.”
Camesha Jones, LCSW, is a Social Worker, Entrepreneur, and Community Mental Wellness Advocate who serves at the intersection of culture, community, and social justice. Camesha strongly believes in eliminating barriers in the mental health field that people of diverse cultural backgrounds experience by creating affordable and accessible care that centers on the well-being of the whole person.
Camesha is the Founder and Executive Director of Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness.
“WHOLE WOMAN, WHOLE COMMUNITIES” FUNDRAISER INFO
To donate to Sista Afya’s campaign, please visit: https://donorbox.org/saccwholewomen/fundraiser/sarah-buino
I’m excited to support Sista Afya’s Fall campaign, “Whole Women. Whole Communities.” This year, Sista Afya Community Care has offered 650 free therapy sessions and over 35 community workshops and classes that have collectively served over 200 women.
The goal is to raise $35,000 to continue offering free mental wellness care to Black women in Chicago. They need your support to sustain the progress they’ve made so far. Sista Afya continues to remove barriers to accessing mental wellness care in their communities.
Will you contribute to the annual year-end campaign by giving $50, $100, $250, or whatever amount you can towards our goal of $35,000 to help deepen the impact in providing free mental wellness care for Black women? The campaign will run the entire month of December, but make sure to donate now.
For full show notes, resources, and links to connect with our guest, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast
Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.
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