Black History Month: Celebrating Black Leaders in the Mental Health Industry

Black History Month is all about honoring and celebrating the Black leaders whose work changed the course of history. The mental health field has transformed in such a short period of time. So, for Black History Month, we’re honoring and celebrating the mental health leaders who are paving the way today to build a better tomorrow.

Dr. Alfiee – Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble is a leading psychologist and mental health expert. Dr. Alfiee is known internationally for her remarkable work as a scientist, author, speaker and media contributor. She’s the founder of the AAKOMA Project, Couched in Color podcast host and renowned media contributor featured in Lady Gaga’s The Power of Kindness film. Dr. Alfiee has over 20 years of experience with expertise in clinical trials, academic medicine and BIPOC mental health. She’s also on the Crisis Text Line Board of Directors!

Karamo Brown – Karamo Brown is a television host, author, actor and advocate. Karamo is the ‘Culture Expert’ on “Queer Eye”, and is also the Co-Founder of, a mental health support space for black gay and bisexual men. Karamo Brown is open about his personal mental health experiences and his advocacy helps to normalize the conversation for his audience, especially for those in the LGBTQIA community.

Michaela Jaé – Michaela Jaé Rodriguez is an actress and singer, known professionally as Mj Rodriguez. Mj is the first trans actress to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in her role as Blanca in Pose. Michaela Jaé is a mental health and empathy advocate who has helped to normalize the mental health conversation in the media by sharing her personal childhood experiences. MJ was part of the YouTube launch called “Kikis with Louie” to destigmatize the topics of mental health, identity and others for LGBTQ youth across the Nation.

Naomi Osaka – Naomi Osaka is a role model, entrepreneur and tennis champion. Naomi is a global inspiration not only for her athleticism and talent on the tennis court, but in her openness with personal mental health struggles off the court. She set a new standard in always taking care of herself and prioritizing her mental health whenever leaving a competition. Naomi has been ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion. Her seven titles on the WTA Tour also include two at the Premier Mandatory level.

Serena Williams – Serena Williams is a worldwide icon and a phenomenal tennis champion. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic gold medals. When she is not breaking records on the court, Serena is a leader and mentor for everyone not only due to her impressive ability to balance fashion, business, family and philanthropy – but with her openness about her mental health struggles with postpartum depression.

Tarana Burke – Tarana Burke is a leader who centers racial justice, culture, anti-violence and gender equity. She started the ‘me too.’ Movement to create a healing and support space for survivors. ‘Me too.’ has transformed the way we address sexual violence and supports all survivors with empathy – including youth, LGBTQ, those with mental or physical disabilities, Black women and people of color.

Dr. Thema – Dr. Thema Bryant is President-Elect of the American Psychological Association (APA), professor, clinical psychologist and researcher. Her clinical and research expertise focuses on interpersonal trauma and societal trauma of oppression. Dr. Thema has been recognized by the Institute of Violence, Abuse and Trauma, the California Psychological Association and the APA. Her work and collaboration with the media and community programming has expanded the mental health conversation beyond academia and traditional therapy settings.

Charlie Lucas – Charlie Lucas is the co-founder of NotOKApp. Inspired by his sister’s POTS condition and mental health journey, he wireframed the app’s basic premise and figured out the best workflow. As the technical genius at Bug and Bee, LLC, Charlie is responsible for any updates, design ideas, and developer approvals. He’s already begun initial planning for their next app.

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