At NAMI-NYC, Black Minds Matter - NAMI-NYC

At NAMI-NYC, Black Minds Matter

At NAMI-NYC, we serve over 23,000 New Yorkers through our free mental health programs and services. We’re especially proud to have programs specifically created for members of the Black community, where participants feel seen and heard. Stephanie Colon is one of our Black Minds Matter support group facilitators and has a tradition of closing the group by asking participants to share how the group made them feel. Attendees have described feeling: “empowered, in community, communion, fortified, and energized!”      

We have incredible Black women who facilitate our Black Minds Matter groups. 

Mariama Todd

Mariama Todd, another Black Minds Matter facilitator, has been involved with NAMI-NYC since 2009. She first participated in our Family & Friends support group and then took our Family-to-Family class. The Family-to-Family class was so impactful that she shared her experience with her family, so they could take the class at their local NAMI affiliate. Mariama shared why she volunteers, “I always want to share the resources I needed at different points of my life and I didn’t have access to.” Our peer-to-peer community is at the heart of our mission at NAMI-NYC.   

Tanisha Malcom

Facilitators, Stephanie Colon and Tanisha Malcom, share the same motivation. Tanisha Malcom has been with us since 2019. She shared, “This is the group that I was searching for. If I had access to this group years ago, it would have made a huge difference in my life.” Tanisha shared how the Black Minds Matter was born. Tanisha teamed up with a previous NAMI-NYC support groups manager to develop the group, and its first session was the day before the murder of George Floyd. The timing was eerie, but NAMI-NYC had a space for the Black community to come to. Tanisha is also very involved in NAMI-NYC, as an Advocacy Ambassador, and was just appointed to the Bureau of Mental Health Consumer Advisory Board. Read more about it here.   

Stephanie Colon

Stephanie Colon, also a Black Minds Matter co-facilitator, has been volunteering with NAMI-NYC for over 20 years, including being a Helpline Responder. Stephanie says the support group is her niche or, in Spanish, “mi onda,” which translates to “my thing.” Stephanie, like Mariama and Tanisha, all share how important these community spaces are. Groups like Black Minds Matter allow for deeper conversations with no need to explain the Black experience. Groups can be safe and critical spaces to ask questions like, “What is the weight of being Black in America feel like? How do you operate in a White supremacist culture?”   

Having spaces specifically for the Black experience is important. Mariama shared, “As a Black woman, I have seen the intersection of race, gender, and mental health. There are certain experiences and nuances that happen as a Black person in America.” Being in our Black Minds Matter group, you don’t have to explain the nuances of being Black and having a mental health condition. You look to your left and right (on Zoom) and see yourself in others.   

Come and meet Mariama, Tanisha, and Stephanie in our Black Minds Matter and Black Minds Matter Family & Friends; visit our calendar.