Rise offers mental health services, safe space for Black parents

Cofounders of the organization Black Women In Nature took members of Rise — a maternal mental health organization that caters specifically to Black parents — on a walk through Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg on July 24 as part of Black Maternal Mental Health Week.
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Cofounders of the organization Black Women In Nature took members of Rise — a maternal mental health organization that caters specifically to Black parents — on a walk through Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg on July 24 as part of Black Maternal Mental Health Week.

About 15 parents stood in a circle at Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg, braving the heat and humidity of a late July evening.

Everyone had their eyes closed. One woman had a hand on her heart and the other on her stomach.

“I am enough just as I am,” Ivory Levert said, leading a guided meditation. “I welcome moments of rest and ease and put it into everyday life. I speak my truth and ask what I need.”

The group was gathered on July 24 as part of Root to Rise, an event where co-founders of the organization Black Women In Nature took members of Rise — a maternal mental health organization that caters specifically to Black parents — on a walk through the park.

Black parents and mental health: Counseling help can be harder to come by

rise is a branch of Perinatal Outreach and Encouragement for Moms (POEM), a program of Mental Health America of Ohio that provides peer support groups, referrals, and education on pregnancy and mood and anxiety disorders for moms and families in Ohio.

Ivory Levert, center, leads a yoga session before the start of a walk involving members of Rise — a maternal mental health organization that caters specifically to Black parents — at Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg on July 24 as part of Black Maternal Mental Health Week .

The nature walk capped off Rise’s week of events for Black Maternal Mental Health Week, which in turn was part of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July. The designation acknowledges the struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to mental illness in the United States, according to Mental Health America.

To help, Rise provides a mentor program and referrals to counselors and psychiatrists of color, among other offerings.

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