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America is a cultural and ethnic mosaic and within these cultures, mental health/substance abuse challenges and mental health treatments can be viewed quite differently.

Cultural stigma, understanding symptoms, community support and resources are just a few examples where culture can impact our mental health and how we seek out help.

Hear from our diverse panelists talk about the role that culture plays in recognizing a mental health/substance use challenge and how they started on their journey to recovery.

We will also discuss solutions to overcome these cultural barriers and other roadblocks.

This panel is moderated by Dr. Charmain Jackman, an award-winning licensed psychologist who speaks about mental and emotional wellbeing related topics which includes mental health stigma in communities of color.

Breaking Through Cultural Barriers in Seeking Help for Mental Health & Substance Abuse Challenges [Panel Discussion]

Related Resources

988 is a suicide and crisis line available 24/7
National network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Innopsych.com
Find a Therapist of Color

  Free & Confidential Consultations:
Lawyers, law students, and judges in Massachusetts can discuss concerns with a licensed therapist, law practice advisor, or both. Find more on scheduling here. You can also find useful articles, webinars and various discussion & support groups including recovery groups using the AA model

Alcoholics Anonymous / Narcotics Anonymous
AA.org / NA.org

The Trevor Lifeline for LGBT Youth and Young Adults
1-866-4-U-TREVOR

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Meet Our Panel

Charmain F. Jackman, Ph.D.
Founder/CEO- InnoPsych, Psychologist, Speaker, Writer, & Consultant
(Moderator)

Dr. Charmain Jackman (she/her) is an award-winning licensed psychologist with 25+ years in the mental health field. She is the founder and CEO of InnoPsych, a Black-woman-owned mental health tech company and an industry leader providing inclusive mental health solutions to people and companies. InnoPsych offers an online platform that connects people of color to therapists of color and provides programming on topics such as racial trauma, burnout, mental health stigma, and emotional wellbeing that empowers leaders to cultivate emotionally safe work cultures. She has extensive experience working with youth in crisis, children/youth and families involved with social services and the juvenile justice system, and with visual and performing artists. Dr. Jackman is deeply invested in sharing tools that foster healing and thriving. She is the creator of the My Time To Thrive card deck, which provides tools for reducing stress and fostering healthy coping patterns. Dr. Jackman has won several awards for her impactful work including the Boston Business Journal 2022 Power 50 Movement Makers, 2021 American Psychological Association’s (APA) Citizen Psychologist Award and City of Boston’s 2021 Innovator of The Year award. Dr. Jackman has been featured on national media outlets such as the New York Times, NPR, PBS, Oprah Daily, Essence, Black Enterprise, and the Boston Globe. She is an appointed member of the Massachusetts 988 Commission representing the NAACP Boston Chapter.

Mariette Lynn Clardy-Davis, Esq.
Assistant Vice President, Assistant General Counsel at Primerica

Mariette Lynn Clardy-Davis, Esq. is an accomplished interdisciplinary professional, with over 15 years of combined experience in legal, compliance, advocacy, Web3 and digital content creation. Mariette serves as the Assistant Vice President, Assistant General Counsel at Primerica where she provides strategic guidance to support their Registered Investment Advisor and Broker-Dealer business lines. Mariette is a passionate mental health advocate for lawyers and the founder of M.L. Clardy LLC. and the newsletter for lawyers, 👀 The Peek: 🚪A Doorway into Wellness. A mental health newsletter for lawyers written by a lawyer focused on bi-polar depression, anxiety, and depression. Mariette writes from personal experience with bi-polar depression navigating over a decade of mental health challenges, she took back her life. Now she brings that wisdom and understanding to other lawyers who feel alone with their mental health struggles. Mariette saw the lack of representation in the legal community for women of color who openly share their story of mental health, so she became the change she longed for in her own mental health journey. Mariette uses her voice and unique lens as a woman of color and attorney, to empower and educate through speaking and training for law firms, non-profits, behavioral health facilities, professional associations, and corporations. She is a former mental healthcare attorney and currently serves as a board member of NAMI Central Georgia. Finally, she is an active contributor and volunteer to Web3 & Tech focused projects, nonprofits and businesses including WIT, Atlanta Blockchain Center, Black Women Blockchain, SheFi, Third Academy Metaverse Foundations, Bankless Consulting (Bankless DAO), and a board member of Anuu Way.

Donya Feizbakhsh, Esq.
Legal Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs at BBC Studios

Donya Feizbakhsh, Esq. attributes herself to the characteristics laid out in her birth chart: unique, un-conforming, independent, free-spirited, and rebellious. She embodied these characteristics throughout her life in her dance training, academic pursuits, and her love for performance. She received two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Delaware, in English and in Mass Communications. She went on to law school at the Syracuse University College of Law, where she collected awards for the highest achievement of appellate advocacy and national recognition for her oral and written advocacy. Donya went on to work for Shook, Hardy & Bacon, a firm with national presence, to train and learn the art of law. At this point of her career, she realized that all she has accomplished had not resonated with her self-confidence. Her mental health was not up to the standards of her resume’s accomplishments. While obtaining her LLM in Intellectual Property from Cardozo School of Law and starting a new career path as Counsel for BBC Studios Americas, Inc., Donya put her Aquarius characteristics under a sharper light. She sat in the uncomfortable shadows of her OCD diagnosis, depression, and anxiety until eventually the physical, emotional, and mental labor awarded her the best achievement of all, peace.

Richard Hennessey, Esq.
Partner at Morrison Mahoney

Richard Hennessey, Esq. is a Partner in the Boston office of Morrison Mahoney. He represents some of the nation’s leading insurance carriers in a variety of civil litigation matters including liability policies and variety of matters across several lines of coverage. Prior to joining Morrison Mahoney, Richard was an associate with a national law firm as well as a senior claims analyst with a national third-party claims administrator. Additionally, Richard is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Lawyer Well-Being Committee and the Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and is an Innbassador at the Pine Street Inn. He is currently Chair of the Insurance Practice Group of the ALFA International and has been a speaker at several of the ALFA International events. He is received his BA from Middlebury College and his JD from Vermont Law School.

Diana Viktoria Li, Esq.
Attorney at Ares Management

Diana Viktoria Li, Esq. is currently an in-house attorney at Ares Management and will return to Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP as a mid-level associate in the Investment Management – Private Funds group in January 2024 where she will represent and counsel investment advisers, unregistered investment companies, and domestic and offshore private investment entities. Prior to joining Ares, Diana worked at Morgan Lewis for 3 years as an associate and in college, Diana worked in law firms in Vienna, Austria and Shanghai, China. Diana previously volunteered at Safe Horizon, Habitat for Humanity, and the Samaritans. Additionally, she is Treasurer of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts and a Director on the board of directors of the Women’s Bar Association. Diana also served 3 years on the board of directors of the Young Lawyer Division of the Massachusetts Bar Association. Diana received her B.S. in Psychology from Boston College in 2016 and J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2019. On a more personal note, Diana was born and raised in Vienna, Austria, is a native German speaker and speaks conversational Mandarin. She has danced competitively most of her life and is passionate about lifting up the Asian community by planning events and mentoring law students.

April K. Toy, Esq.
Partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson

April Toy, Esq., a Partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson is a trial attorney and represents businesses, insurance companies, and individuals in a wide range of civil litigation matters in state and federal courts. Her primary practice areas include commercial litigation, legal malpractice defense, and insurance coverage disputes. She takes pride in developing case assessments early to navigate litigation costs effectively. Over the course of April’s career, she has successfully tried several cases to a jury verdict and always brings a tireless work ethic and a diverse perspective to her practice. She has been recognized as a 2023 Top 100 Under 50 Executive Leader by Diversity MBA, Recognized as a “Rising Stars in Law” honoree by Milwaukee BizTimes, 2022, as well as recognized on the Rising Stars list by Wisconsin Super Lawyers magazine, 2019. Additionally, she is currently the National Secretary of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and was previously Region IX President,  Deputy President of the Community Service and Pro Bono Initiatives, and part of the Latina Leadership Academy. She was part of the Legal Opportunity Scholarship Committee of the American Bar Association. April received her J.D. from Marquette University Law School and her B.A. from San Francisco State University.

Alan Wong, Esq.
Associate Counsel at NFS Leasing

Alan Wong, Esq. is Associate Counsel of NFS Leasing, Inc., where he is responsible for managing NFS leasing’s litigation. Prior to going in-house, Alan practiced complex civil litigation with a focus on biometric and data privacy matters at Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. in Boston. Alan received a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a board member of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts and an Alternate Regional Governor of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Alan is the proud son of immigrants from Hong Kong, a first-generation college graduate and the only lawyer in his extended family’s social circle. Alan believes that the time to highlight discussions about mental health – particularly in the legal profession – is long overdue and can speak to the impact of East Asian culture on mental health awareness, stigma, and treatment.

Dr. David G. Zelaya
Assistant Professor at Brown University School of Public Health

Dr. David G. Zelaya (he/him/él) is an Assistant Professor at Brown University School of Public Health within the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, he is a research fellow at Harvard Medical School within the Department of Psychiatry, and an affiliated scientist at Yale University with the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Dr. Zelaya received his Ph.D. from Georgia State University in counseling psychology, he was a psychology resident at Harvard Medical School’s Cambridge Hospital, and he completed his fellowship within the Alcohol Research Center on HIV at Brown. His program of research focuses on examining health disparities, from an intersectionality and minority stress lens, among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and sexual and gender minority communities and links to HIV risk, mental health, and substance use. Dr. Zelaya is the PI of a NIAAA funded K23 grant aimed to develop a behavioral health intervention for Latinx queer individuals to decrease hazardous alcohol use by targeting intersectional forms of discrimination. Clinically, he is interested in providing culturally competent behavioral health services to historically underserved communities (e.g., Spanish-speaking Latinx people; sexual and gender diverse people). He has been the recipient of numerous social justice awards, his research has been published in the flagship journals of his field, and he serves on the editorial board for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity journal. At Brown, Dr. Zelaya teaches Introduction to Health Disparities.

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