MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — A social worker in Milwaukee is working to end stigma and debunk mental health myths in underserved communities.
As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, CBS 58’s Tajma Hall sits down with Tarsha Wiggins to discuss how she’s driving change through her interactive “Trap Therapy” events.
Trap Therapy is a free community event that combines music and mental health. The environment is fun and creates a safe place for some spirited conversations. Trap music is a popular sub-genre of hip-hop music. Trap Therapy events include a DJ spinning some of the latest tunes to put people at ease.
Trap therapy events are supported by several community organizations, including the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention.
Wiggins continues her mission through her own organization Speak Wellness.
“Speak Wellness is my little love child. It’s an organization I started that aims to do two things: reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in the Black and Brown communities,” Wiggins said.
Statistically, communities of color are more likely to experience mental health issues such as anxiety and depression than other races, but are less likely to seek help. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, less than 10% of black people dealing with mental illness receive help.
Wiggins says the growing problem of community violence is having a major impact on mental health, creating trauma that often goes unnoticed.
“Oftentimes what’s considered trauma are things we’ve become accustomed to. It’s normal to hear gunshots, experience it, experience violence, experience death…,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins hopes to spread the word that it’s okay not to be okay and that it’s crucial to get help.
“Our suicide rates are highest among our black adolescents and I think that’s alarming and speaks to specific components of the pandemic, such as isolation, lack of social-emotional development, increased use of technology and interaction with social media,” Wiggins said.
Trap Therapy events are aimed at all ages and give people the opportunity to dance through the pain while dealing with the inner issues first hand. Participants walk away with valuable tools to help with coping skills.
During Mental Health Awareness Month, Trap Therapy events were held for young people and another for women.
Wiggins says Milwaukee can’t heal until people learn to heal themselves. She strives to continue to lead the way towards peace of mind for all.
“Everything I do is about leaving your mark, but making a difference,” Wiggins said.
Click here for more information about Trap Therapy and Speak Wellness.