By: Jazmyne Courtnii Byrd
In the black community, mental health is an area in constant conversation from mainstream audiences to community leaders. Even with all the talks, there is still a stigma in our community and a strong requirement that these talks be brought to the forefront. Mental Health conversations ignited during the onset of the pandemic with the rise of suicide and burnout. Every news station on a weekly basis was reporting suicides left and right. Many mental health experts were on their post with their clients daily to help combat these concerns client by client. It’s time to highlight the experts holding power in this space that aims to help as many people as possible fight the many effects of mental health concerns. When it comes to the journey of motherhood, women across the world can agree that the new changes in mind, body, and soul can be overwhelming to deal with.
Dr. Taylor J. Bryant, of Harrisburg, PA, who specialized in postpartum depression began her own journey of impact in 2013. The co-founder of Empress Evolve a mental health collective of experts who strive to change the lives of people who are dealing with all mental health issues, has been impacting the community in the field and through social media. One of her goals is to reach women everywhere and let them know that the stigmas don’t have to be your reality. Dr. Bryant is a true voice in this space and in this exclusive interview, you will learn how she is changing the face of survival in the mental health world.
Jazmyne Byrd: How did you get started in the mental health field?
Dr. Taylor. J Bryant: I remember growing up, I would always, as a teenager, I’m talking like 13, 14, 15, 16 watch Law and Order SVU, Criminal Minds, and CSI Miami, with my mom. That’s when I noticed I had a real interest in crime. What really solidified things for me was after I graduated with my bachelor’s in psychology. Back in 2013, I started working at a local school for autism and behavior problems here in Central Pennsylvania. My first case was with a young girl who was nine years old at the time, and had severe trauma due to home life issues. And I was the only one who could get through to her and reach her. I knew then that I had the ability to change lives. I just wanted to impact people in a way that the community has never impacted them before.
JB: What do you feel is your mission within the mental health space?
TB: Currently I have my own business. It’s called Empress Evolve and we serve the community in a way where trauma is at the core of what we do. Specifically, I look at maternal mental health like postpartum, depression, postpartum, psychosis, anxiety, and all of that. My mission is to help people see that you are not alone when you experience trauma or when you’re going through mental health struggles, it can be a lonely place and you can honestly feel in your heart that nobody understands you. You don’t have to suffer alone. And I just need every person who comes my way and watches my content and chooses me to be their coach or their therapist to know that they can heal, and they can live a different life. So that’s my mission in space.
JB: How important is it for black women to be advocates in this space?
TB: There is a push currently for men’s mental health. And then on top of that black men because black men have the highest suicide rate because not only are you a man, you have to stay strong, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and don’t show emotion, that’s a lot of pressure. You can’t say I’m struggling with my mental health because you got a family to take care of, you got kids to take care of or you just don’t want to be presented to the community as if you’re weak. But then we have the black woman who is supposed to be a superwoman. Like no matter what we do, whether we show up strong and powerful, whether we need a break from the kids, no one understands that its ok to just take a break. It’s just like black women are not human and I feel like oftentimes especially when it comes to mental health, we’re not allowed to not be OK. So that’s why. And I’m sorry, let me, let me back up a little bit black women experience arguably the most trauma out of anybody else on this planet. So that’s why I think it is so important for there to be a space for black women to be advocates for mental health because just like I mentioned with men and postpartum depression, you can’t do this alone, you really can’t, you really can’t. And superwoman syndrome is real for black women. You can’t do it all. You need to, you need to rest, you need to heal, you need to reset, and the community needs to see black women as human.
JB: What do you want people to know about your business and what you’re doing in the community?
TB: I want people to know that so many moms or so many women or even men because we offer different types of coaching that target trauma at the core, we’re different. And I know everybody says we’re different. But I’ve had so many moms with postpartum depression come to me saying I followed you for over a year in your mommy gang group and I finally pulled the trigger like I went back and forth. Should I do it? Should I not? I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want people to think. I’m crazy. I have kids. I don’t want people to take my kids away because I’m getting therapy, which is a myth. But a lot of people believe that. And they’ve told me that they went to other therapists before who invalidated them and said things like, oh, yeah, this is difficult, but you’ll get over it. So, every mom goes through that just find a hobby, um, just go to a movie night with your friends. You’ll be fine and it’s the gaslighting for me. It’s the minimizing for me. I don’t do that. I don’t do that. What I do is something called holding like whether I’m doing postpartum recovery sessions with clients’ trauma sessions or anxiety. I have a couple of college students I see who deal with procrastination and anxiety, which at the core is for a lot of them, trauma. But anyway, I just need that. I hold them, I let them have this space to share with me what their experiences are and what they’re going through and they would never hear from me. But for me, it’s not about the money. It’s honestly about giving people a space to genuinely open up about what they’re going through and not be judged to figure out that path forward. That’s what we train our team to do and to be, that’s what sets us apart from all of these other mental health agencies out there.
Dr. Bryant saw the problem and became the solution to help the community overcome the trauma of life. You find out more about her practice at https://www.empressevolve.com/.