#NoShameDay 2016

“Death is a reminder for the living to LIVE.”

My name is Dionne Monsanto and I gave birth to a brilliant beautiful girl named Siwe who took her life at 15 years old on June 29th, 2011. She lived and died with depression. Her death pushed me to live. From her ashes, many things were born…

  1. I was reborn as a certified yoga teacher and mental health advocate. She gave birth to the person I am now.
  2. Bassey Ikpi, a dear friend and world renowned writer and spoken word artist living with bipolar 2 disorder, gave birth to a non-profit organization in my daughter’s name. The Siwe Project is a global non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the global black community. The goal of the organization is to widen the public dialogue regarding the lived experiences of people of African Descent with mental health conditions.
  3. No Shame Day was born as well. The first one was in July 2012 since July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Today, July 11th is the 5th annual #NoShameDay.

“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” –Iyanla Vanzant

We are clear on the dire importance on mental health awareness for all people but #NoShameDay was born out of a particular need for people of color to “come out”. The call to action is for people of color to share their stories to provide a safe space for healing, empowerment, and support. The powerful act of sharing your story expands awareness. We are proud to partner with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to #EndStigma and #StopSuicide.

I am still a mother of three children although only two are living. I did the best I could with the information I had. Since her death I have had too many personal connections to people impacted by suicide, one as recent as last week. I will continue to have no shame when talking about mental health: I hope you will join me. #SiweLives because I share her story.

Share your story via Twitter and tag @thesiweproject (and @afspnational) with the hashtag #NoShameDay. Visit The Siwe Project on Facebook and share your story there too. Today, July 11th, is the 5th annual #NoShameDay.

Dionne Monsanto is the Executive Director of The Siwe Project and the Board Chair for AFSP’s New York City Chapter. She is also a Certified Yoga Teacher (Bikram & Baptiste) & Life Coach. You can follow her on Twitter @joyousocean and on Instagram @asuoabena

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