In my younger years, when I thought of mental health and wellness, I often thought it was something that older people had to worry about. Recognizing healthy mental conditions and looking at physical movements and food as medicine definitely never crossed my mind. To be honest, my first recollection of paying attention to the word “wellness” didn’t come until I was well into my mid-twenties. For some reason, a light came on and I suddenly started to simply care.
I started to care about my environment, my skin, where my food came from, and why my “attitude” would get the best of me at times. I was led to mental health and wellness by curiosity. My only wish is that I found these gems sooner.
So, if you’re curious just like I was and still am, check out these 5 millennial black leaders in mental health and wellness. They’ll each give you a little bit of knowledge as well as inspiration along the way:
A Florida-native, Shelah Marie is a feminist, actress, model and meditation enthusiast. Touching women worldwide, Shelah co-created the Curvy, Curly, Conscious collective that seeks to give women of color a place of self-care and spiritual inspiration. Her events have hosted meditative experiences, mental awakenings, emotional healing, and yoga practices. Creating a space of self-love and inner peace, Shelah pushes the limits of melanin-rich, holistic vibes.
A Los Angeles-based vegan chef, health coach and cooking instructor, Jenné Claiborne became vegan in college after learning the exploitive nature of animal products. Once clinically depressed, since adopting the vegan lifestyle she no longer relies on anti-depressants. She now promotes veganism through her brand Sweet Potato Soul and endorses becoming vegan to aid digestion issues, clearing up acne, balancing hormones and menstrual cycles, and dissipating fatigue.
A New York-native wellness advocate, Francheska Medina is a self-taught alternative medicine spokesperson for nutrition, fitness and conscious day-to-day living. Through her brand Hey Fran Hey, she propels her message forward of holistic living featuring DIY recipes, journaling practices, audits on mental health and emotional hygiene. Francheska has since co-created a wellness podcast, The Friend Zone, 12-city wellness tour, The Supernatural Pop-Up, and has made a name for herself in the natural hair and wellness community on YouTube.
A certified Reiki Master and alternative healing practitioner, Danielle Ayoka is dedicated to assisting others to heal through subscription-based aura cleanses. She is popular and notably known on Twitter as @MysticxLipstick for her astrology reads and active healing community. Her mission is to service individuals on their spiritual journey by achieving total balance in the mind, body, and soul.