Connecting People to Services

Mental Health While Black: A Panel discussion

By on August 18, 2020 in Events

Toy Burton of Roxbury, MA lost her sister, Denita Shayne Morris, in 1986 to suicide at the age of 23. In 2017, Ms. Burton started the organization, DeeDee’s Cry, after she noticed that organizations that focus on suicide prevention still didn’t have events in communities of color, despite suicide being the 2nd leading cause of death among African Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control. In response to the lack of racial equity, Ms. Burton was compelled to start an organization that brings mental health awareness and suicide prevention to communities of color. Instead of asking for a seat at the table, she built her own table, starting with the workshop “Mental Health Wile Black.” Pre-COVID, the events DeeDee’s Cry believes that “when we share our stories that we chip away at the stigma that surrounds mental health in communities of color.” The work of the organization has been recognized by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and the Massachusetts House of Representatives among others.

It is through one of DeeDee’s Cry’s online advertisments that Cape Cod resident, Barbara Monteiro Burgo, connected with Toy Burton in February 2020. The advertisement was for a Mental Health While Black conference organized by DeeDee’s Cry during Black History Month. Barbara was compelled to drive to Boston to participate, listen and learn. Barbara has lost her oldest brother Richard Alan Monteiro in 1978 at the age of 28 and her baby brother, Robert Michael Monteiro 1994 at the age of 37, both by suicide. With both brothers buried alongsid their mother in her hometown of Taunton, MA Barbara knew immediately that she’d found the resource and venue she’d been seeking for decades to help others cope, destigmatize suicide, and highlight the dept of culturally-specific mental health resources missing – predominatly overlooked or ignored – within Black neighborhoods. Barbara, now living on Cape Cod, is the Clerk/Curator of the Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center. She and Toy worked together to bring Mental Health Whild Black to the Cape through and accessible online forum. With marketing assistance from Deb Berglin, social worker and Director of the Boston University School Social Work campus at Cape Cod Community College, and support from Falmouth Human Services and the Museum and Cultural Center, we offer this important Zoom conference to all who seek to learn, need hope or help! Join us for this live streaming event on boty DeeDee’s Cry and Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center’s Facebook pages on Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

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