March is Women’s History Month, a time to applaud the contributions all women have made in our society. Women have made significant impacts in changing the conversation around mental health, providing resources to those struggling, and sharing their own stories to bring mental health out into the open. This following list we compiled in honor of Women’s History Month is, of course, not comprehensive by far. Instead, these are some of the exceptional women who use their voices, platforms, and experiences to center mental wellbeing in the everyday. While we recognize these women’s achievements, we also want to take a moment to acknowledge all of the women that are living with mental health issues. We see you. We support you. We are here for you. And so are these women:
Researcher, author, speaker, professor, and podcast creator. Her work is based on two decades of research on courage, empathy, vulnerability, and shame. Her TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the most viewed talks in the world. Her five #1 New York Times best sellers center on the concept of emotional resilience and mental well-being. She is the host of the podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead which promote conversations on living, loving, and leading with compassion and courage.
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford
Licensed Psychologist, Author, Speaker, and Founder/CEO of Therapy for Black Girls, an online space which provides mental health and self-care resources to Black women and girls. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Crisis Text Line and is the Resident Psychologist for O, The Oprah Magazine, where she has a column discussing mental health topics. On her social platform, she aims to make mental wellbeing more accessible and approachable for Black women.
Author, podcast creator, social entrepreneur, and speaker whose work centers around her personal experience with loss. Her TED Talk, “We don’t move on from grief. We move forward with it,” and best-selling novels have opened up the conversation around mental health.
Film-maker, social media influencer, and mental health advocate. After the release of her documentary, “Conversations with Friends,” depicting depression, her online presence grew and Sad Girls Club was founded. The three goals of this online platform are to “remove the negative stigma integrated in mental health conversations, provide mental health services to girls who do not have access to therapy and treatment, and create in real life safe spaces that build a community for young women to know— they are not alone.” She has also created the community, Sad Boys Org, which offers a space for men of all ages to discuss mental health.
Mental Health Activist, Obama White House Champion of Change, and Creator of The People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project, which aims to recognize BIPOC members who struggle with mental health. Her photo project stemmed from the lack of media representation around people of color who live with mental illnesses. An advocate with over ten years of experience, she delivers keynotes, hosts workshops, and speaks on panels to normalize the conversation around mental health and educate others.
Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad
Founder and President of the Muslim Wellness Foundation, whose mission is to provide healing, stigma reduction, and mental health advocacy for the American Muslim Community through programs and resources. She is a founding Co-Director of the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition, an initiative alongside the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative that supports Black Muslim communities during the pandemic. Her clinical areas of interest include diversity, religious identity, racial trauma, and healing.
Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble
Psychologist, media expert, keynote speaker, author, and scientist whose mission is to help young adults achieve optimal mental health. She is the founder of the mental health nonprofit, The AAKOMA Project, which works to raise awareness, encourage conversations, and conduct research with a focus on providing support for people of color. She offers training to numerous colleges, companies, K-12 institutions, and universities on building mental health programs. Through her social platforms, she openly discusses mental health disparities, self-care practices, and highlights resources.
Actress, writer, model, radio host, and activist. She has been candid on her own struggles with mental illness, sexual assault, an eating disorder, and surviving a suicide attempt. In 2018, she founded the online community, I Weigh, to promote the idea of weighing people, specifically women, by their achievements and not their scales. This platform is centered around inclusivity, mental health awareness, and social advocacy. I Weigh aims to empower, advocate, and amplify the voices of marginalized communities while normalizing conversations on hard topics. The online organization has even changed social media policies on diet/detox culture advertising towards minors.