Mental Health Awareness: The Joy of Mind & Body

From social distancing, mandatory mask wearing and the isolation from our loved ones, these coronavirus realties are unprecedented times. Naturally, this abrupt shift in our everyday movement has changed the world as we know it, leaving lasting effects across the globe, but also to our mental health. Whether we notice it or not, undergoing a global pandemic that changed everyday life for just about everyone, and took the lives of over 6 million people worldwide, will always affect us; How we choose to move forward however, is up to us. 

The Black community, having already faced inequity when it comes to the health care system and mental health awareness have also experienced a different reality with the effects of Covid-19, a reality we don’t talk about enough. 

During the Essence Fest The Joy of Mind & Body panel, Moderator Roxanne Battle, sat down with Dr. Yusra Benhalim and Dr. Cleo Booker to discuss mental health in these modern times, especially in the Black community.

“It’s no surprise to anyone that even before the pandemic communities of color were really facing health inequities accessing the health care system and especially the mental health care system. Everything that we’ve been through, as much as we want it to be over the truth is we’re still seeing more and more people who are struggling, struggling with depression, suicide and substance use and misuse” shared Dr. Yusra Benhalim.

Panelists went on to share that our current realities don’t need to be the end all be all, and there are a number of healthy coping mechanisms we can look into once we take mental health serious as a community. They went on to list out ways to find joy amidst the times, and truly listen to your mind, body and spirit as we transition through this pandemic as a nation. 

To hear the full conversation head over to

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