Tune in each Tuesday in May for #TellUsAboutIt Tuesday where we will check back in with a few individuals who participated in last year’s Let’s Face It campaign and learn about their experience as well as what they’ve been up to since participating.
Kelvin is very vocal, he does a lot of work within the recovery and mental health field, so it was no surprise to anyone in his circle that he was speaking out so openly, “As a person that’s in recovery myself and has dealt with mental health addiction and trauma issues I think that it’s important for us to share our stories, and share our experiences, whatever that may be,” he says.
Kelvin speaks to how invasive stigma can be, “I think one of the ways to break down the stigma is to talk about our experiences, and to normalize our human experiences for what they are,” he says, “Addiction is a human experience, not a human identity.” Kelvin explains that behind the label of being an addict or being an alcoholic is a human being that has experienced a significant amount of trauma and emotional pain and is often looking for a sense of relief.
“By sharing my story,” he says, “I want people to know that there’s another side to addiction, which is recovery. By just sharing my story on the Let’s face It platform and allowing people to witness, it lets people know that recovery is possible.”
It’s been 14 years since Kelvin has been free from alcohol and other drugs. But coming out of prison, Kelvin says had a lot of self-stigmas, “Being incarcerated, being a so-called convicted felon, high school dropout, addicted to alcohol and other drugs, I felt all these different stigmatizing labels that society puts on us. I internalized those stigmas in my early recovery,” he says, “But now by sharing my truth and really connecting with other people with lived experience like me, it takes away that self-imposed stigma that I once had.”
“It’s okay to be not okay. But it’s so important to know that we have support and tools available for us to process those raw human emotions, whatever that may mean for us.”
Since we last chatted with Kelvin, he’s been busy bringing sound healing to different people from all walks of life. He noted that he’s been pleased to see more black men then ever seeking professional support from clinical therapists, psychologists, and they’ve also been more open to holistic practices such as sound healing. “One of the things I’ve been doing is bringing my own story and how to talk about mental health within the Black community, especially Black men, and open them up to expand their tools.”
“It’s time for us to break those generational curses,” he says, “but for us to do that we need to connect to our inner emotions, and our inner healer so to speak, to help us navigate life in the way that works best for us.”
Kelvin says his passion right now is really bringing mental wellness into the black and brown communities, and particularly with black men. He explained how sound healing helps to relieve a lot of emotional pain, feelings of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep issues and different other stress related chronic health conditions that we experience within our lives.
“That’s why it was so important for me to really be a part of Let’s Face It with Mental Health Connecticut,” he says, “to have that platform to really be a true face and voice for all human beings, and particularly for people that look like me, to see other people speak their truth and see that it’s okay to talk about it, to seek therapy and to get support, we don’t have to do it alone.”
Gifts from the Let’s Face It campaign help to support the launch of The Art of Wellbeing, an arts and wellness program at the Hispanic Health Council’s (HHC) Family Wellness and Cultural Heritage Center in downtown Hartford. A donation to the #LetsFaceIt campaign is an investment in the safe and welcoming environments for those we serve and it’s an investment in our future.
Stay in touch with us on social media @mentalhealthct and keep up with our blog posts so you don’t miss a #TellUsAboutItTuesday in May!