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Black Mental Health Summit coming to Winston-Salem in May

black mental health summit article winston salem chronicle

On Friday, May 17, Reset and Heal , a local mental health consulting firm, will host Winston-Salem’s first Black Mental Health Summit. The event, which will be held at The Enterprise Conference and Event Center, is designed to help attendees better understand the social disadvantages of mental health and psychological issues facing the Black community.

Reset and Heal was started by licensed clinical therapist-associate and Winston-Salem native Alexia Mitchell. Mitchell said she started the firm to help others in the community after learning to deal with her own emotions and grief.  

In 2020, Mitchell lost her grandfather and her mother to COVID-19 over a span of two months. Although she has more than 15 years of experience working in the mental health field, Mitchell said mentally she was in a space she had never been before. “My mental health took a plummet at the time,” she said. 

Shortly thereafter, Mitchell took guardianship of her younger brother who is differently abled, and he became her will to keep going. 

“He has been my driving force for the past three and a half years. I got guardianship of him and I just kept going,” Mitchell said. “Yes, the grief still lingers on, but he has been my major driving force because I know I’m all he has.”

When discussing the Black Mental Health Summit, Mitchell said oftentimes in the Black community it’s taught to not be open or honest about mental health, and the summit is about providing a space where you’re encouraged to be open and honest about your emotions, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

“Oftentimes we are taught to just fight through it,” Mitchell continued. “We haven’t given ourselves permission to not be okay … I felt like we needed a space where we feel seen and heard by people who look like us.”

The keynote address during the Black Mental Health Summit will come from Dr. Pamela Oliver, executive vice president of Novant Health and president of Novant Health Physician Network. Other speakers will include Chief William Penn of the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD), and Shenell McClurkin Thompson, senior program officer of local impact at Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. When discussing the lineup of speakers, Mitchell said she wanted to bring in people from all walks of life who all offer something different. 

“We just wanted to put a spin on it with the speakers. None of these people are licensed professionals, however they play an intricate role in how they deal with Black people and mental health,” Mitchell said.

There will also be two separate panel discussions featuring nearly a dozen different Black licensed mental health counselors, therapists, clinical psychologists, and others with experience working in the mental health field. To lighten the mood during the event, there will also be a live DJ and following each session there will be opportunities for networking. Lunch will also be served. 

“We’re going to have a DJ, there’s going to be some line dancing – it’s really catered to us, for us, by us. This is for the community,” Mitchell said. “We’re going to have a good time, but when the music stops we’re back to business.”

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