• J C Thomas

Seven African American women share the beauty of their journey's to finding happiness.

Updated: Apr 26, 2018

Seven women share their journey from depression to happiness. Several mental health experts shed light on the importance of breaking the stigmas involved with seeking help for mental illness in the African American community.

Depression affects people from all cultures and backgrounds, however, African American women experience it differently due to a myriad of gender and cultural factors. Since slavery, Black women have been expected to maintain a sense of strength and stability and never speak up about what they are feeling. As a result, we have learned to suppress our emotions no matter what we’re going through. At times we do not even know that depression exists because the feelings have been so normalized. Studies show that although women are more likely to experience depression than men and African Americans are more likely to experience the stressors in daily life which lead to depression than any other ethnic group, yet African American women are least likely to seek much needed mental health treatment.

Some of the reasons Black women don’t seek treatment include stigmas inflicted by our community that tell us depression is something only White people experience. If we are feeling down we should pray, go to church, or just silently put on a happy face so that we can continue to be strong for our families that are, more often than not, headed by a single mother. There is often little or no access to quality health care, let alone mental health care within our communities. For this reason we tend to either self medicate or totally ignore that there is a problem in the first place. We feel weak if we succumb to our emotions.

The Rhythm Of Blue is a documentary that is designed to speak to the very heart of African American women who have experienced depression and let them know that it’s OK to not be OK. There is hope. There is help. No one is alone in this healing process. In the film, seven African American women of ages ranging from early 20’s to 60’s are interviewed about their experiences with depression and how they have begun to find happiness. The title, The Rhythm of Blue, comes from the idea that there is a rhythm to moving through the healing process. Everyone has a different rhythm, unique and beautiful. The film focuses on the beauty in the journey.

We would like to encourage women of all ages to find the beauty in the healing journey and take that journey in their own special rhythm.

We have learned that healing is a process and happiness is the journey. We need to show this film to as many people as possible in order to enrich African American families and communities. If our women are healthy and whole we can continue to nourish healthy men and children. At this point in our nation’s history it is imperative that the Black family has a strong, positive voice. We are losing our youth in large numbers at the hands of police as well as gang violence. It is the job of artists to be the change we need to see. Shining a light on the issues we experience and offering real solutions is the motivation behind this project. Having experienced mental health issues ourselves, we understand the importance of a helping hand. Having someone in your corner to encourage you through the hard times is priceless. The Rhythm of Blue is that encouragement.

Even though depression is seen as dark, evil and feeling blue, there is always something lovely deep down inside. Happiness is not a destination, it is the journey to healing. Each woman involved is a successful woman in her own right. They offer encouragement and advice. This film is not about depression. It is about revealing the beauty that hides within…the unique rhythm that gets lost in the shuffle of life.

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