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Reflections Upon Minority Mental Health Month

End of a Month, Not a Movement 

The recent 2019 edition of Minority Mental Health Month was one of the biggest ones since its inception, with many companies (such as AYANA), organizations, and mental health advocates getting involved with it through mostly their social media. The last 5 years have seen rapid change with respect to many aspects of services (make up, food, clothes, etc) which actually appeal to those from minority communities, as minorities begin to consolidate their positions in society and executive boards to implement such changes. 

Particularly since 2017, one has seen the rapid growth of mental health services for minority communities, with AYANA joining last fall of 2018, planning to launch this early fall. We are proud to be one of the only mental health apps which focuses on multiple communities and intersectionality, especially for those who come from marginalized communities within a marginalized group (such as disabled individuals and for those who identify as LGBTQ+). We have always believed in empowering individuals from many backgrounds, and want to acknowledge the full breadth of one’s identity to effectively treat the mental health issues that may be present in their life. 

However, despite July coming to a close, we want to emphasize that Minority Mental Health should still be consistently discussed, spotlighted, and provided with the utmost attention like any other generic mental health advocacy. This empowerment should not be exclusive to the month of July, but rather, a persistent focus upon the betterment of mental health services for minority communities. 

We appreciate the work that many have brought this month of July to support Minority Mental Health, and we hope to not only see this unprecedented support be surpassed next year, but be continually upheld over these next 12 months until the next Minority Mental Health. 

Developments, Transition, and Supporting WoC

July was a major month for AYANA as we begin to finalize our app for our launch this fall, along with finally releasing our new website and a video to concisely explain our mission and app (found here: AYANA’s mission ) as we began to turn on another gear with the wind of Minority Mental Health Month pushing us even further. 

It was also a month of transition, as many of our founding team begins to end their tremendous job at AYANA, setting precedents on how to operate and what to do to make AYANA as successful as possible. I would personally like to acknowledge the work of Sandy, Abby, and Tina, who will be leaving us to continue their academic studies, where we know they will excel at whatever they want, for they have been essential to getting AYANA in a position that many companies our age and at our stage could only dream of. They have intangible skills which many cannot replicate, and are examples of the strength, ingenuity, and drive many Women of Color have been barred from showing the world due to being shunned within business and start-up culture. 

Being a proponent of diversity, representation, and intersectionality for mental health services, we try to reflect this within our team. It reminds us why representation and diversity matters so much, for it allows those who have been often marginalized and silenced to the point of never reaching their highest potential, to actually gain the opportunity to do so; our collective experience of marginalization may be different when inspected at an individual level, but the drive and ideals that such marginalization engenders, remain the same.

2020: Vision, Goals, and Farewells

This upcoming decade is one of much change, not only for our company, but the nation as a whole. As the nation begins to shift to a minority-majority nation over this next decade (predicted to change at around 2040), we want AYANA to be there to treat this new generation of diverse individuals. We have many exciting projects and works in development, and hope to share these soon. However, until then, we persist and work to better the therapy sector for minority communities, because everyone deserves adequate mental health services which address their particular needs.

And with that, I bid a farewell to AYANA readers, as this will be my last blog. Please show the love and support you have bestowed on me to Ciara, as I too begin to transition out of AYANA to pursue my own academic goals as well. 

This company is something different for the business world in my eyes; I have never seen something built primarily for me (being latinx and gay), nor did I believe anything would be due to the status quo. However, AYANA has established itself to be unapologetic and appeal to those who have never been thought of before. It is a company that is unique for its time, and I hope it will provide a domino effect I envision it to have, diversifying the business world, and no longer being a black sheep in a homogenous sector.

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