Mental Health Matters
Personal Statement – Rhonda Fields
My name is Rhonda Fields and I have been serving the State of Colorado for 10 years as a public servant. Currently a State Senator representing Arapahoe County, Aurora, Senate District 29.
Here’s my personal statement on mental health:
Healthcare is a human right and mental health is just as important as physical health. I believe that everyone at risk for mental illnesses should receive early and effective interventions. However, historically, communities of color experience unique and considerable challenges in accessing mental health services. My desire is to increase access to care, improve wellness and remove the negative stigma surrounding mental health in the black community.
I have heard far too many people in my community struggle in the darkness, and I don’t want that to continue any longer. I am committed to using my voice and platform to advance access to counseling and mental health service and resources that can help them live a happy, and healthy life.
Speaking from experience, I know how black men grow up in culture that tells them “men are not supposed to cry,” they “should deal with problems on our own.” This only enforces the idea that it’s not okay for man to say what is hurting inside. I’ve spoken to countless friends who, out of fear of being labeled as weak or less than a man, don’t want to acknowledge or vocalize any of their pains. This is also true for Black women as well, as there have been moments in my life when I was afraid of sharing my true emotional well-being (or lack thereof) to close family and friends.
Anyone, regardless of how strong they are or how much they appear to “have it together” may be struggling with their mental health issues. I’m here to say, you are not alone in your pain and you are not “weak” or “less than” because you are hurting. I encourage others to reach out and ask for help—because that’s what it takes to achieve the true healing.
That’s my statement, there is no shame in reaching out to seek professional help for depression, anxiety, self esteem, drugs, alcohol, isolation, or self harm. This issue of masking pain must end. My goal is to work hard to increase awareness about mental health.