Jasmin Pierre isn’t shy when it comes to discussing her mental health journey with others.

“I’m really not afraid to put it all out there. Like, people know that I’ve been suicidal. People know that I’ve been in a mental institution,” said the 31-year-old mental health advocate and app creator.

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By being so open about her story, Pierre hopes to normalize these conversations among Black people in order to remove the stigma associated with mental health challenges. That’s one of the reasons why the New Orleans native created “The Safe Place,” a mental health app created with Black folks and cultural competency in mind. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s continued racial trauma and unrest, Jasmin has witnessed an increase in downloads.

“I’m glad that my community has something like this because I don’t think any of us really saw a year like this coming. And our mental health is more important than ever now. We have to take care of ourselves,” said Pierre.

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Research shows that rates of anxiety and depression have skyrocketed for Black folks in recent months. Jasmin is particularly worried about how Black young people are dealing with their mental health right now given the pandemic, current racial injustices, and going back to school.

“If they don’t even see us taking care of ourselves and we’re not expressing our emotions and we don’t want to go see a therapist, how are they going to know how to do that? You have to lead by example.”

As she continues expanding the free features on the app, which already includes offering tips on how to prioritize self-care during publicized incidents of police brutality, a library of videos and podcasts, Black mental health statistics, finding local therapeutic services for users, and more, Pierre’s making sure to value her own mental health by seeing a mental health professional weekly and by creating art.

“I do have mental health issues still, but like there’s other ways and I can express myself and still maintain some sort of peace,” she said.

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Jasmin Pierre shares her goals for “The Safe Place,” why religion and mental health do not need to be at odds with one another, and more in the video above.

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If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

Jessica Moulite is an award-winning Video Producer at The Root passionate about dismantling unjust societal power structures and all things Black culture. She's also probably watching “Living Single.”

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