Monthly Archives

June 2019

Self-Care for June: Tips To Take You From Feeling Overwhelmed To Empowered

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Tips To Take You From Feeling Overwhelmed To Empowered

“The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.”
― Lorraine Hansberry

Every June, we gather for virtual and in-person celebrations and demonstrations of LGBTQ Pride. We honor the work done by those before us–like the protesters at Stonewall and countless others–to fight for equal rights. We also recognize that many LGBTQ people are still struggling for their civic freedoms and fair treatment. One common and shared experience by LGBTQ young people is the pressure to meet family expectations, to ‘fit in’ socially, and to be something else–all of which also is manifested in phenomena like bullying and micro-aggressions and can affect mental health negatively. For LGBTQ people of color, societal bias against these intersectional identities can compound the adverse impact on well-being and cause a person to feel overwhelmed.

Feeling overwhelmed in many ways is normal. Whether you feel that the burden of your responsibilities is just too heavy, or you feel overcome by meeting seemingly-impossible expectations from others, these experiences can lead to a general sense that you’ve lost your power over your circumstances. Yet, feeling overwhelmed can also carry physiological and psychological risk of stress.

Feeling empowered, on the other hand, has been tied to greater decisivenessgoal-oriented action, and a general sense of control. So, how can you begin to undo feeling overwhelmed when it shows up? Follow these tips to get started.

Evaluate Your Circle. Are the people around you supporting you? If not, it could be time to say good-bye. Know that you deserve positive and supportive people in your life and nothing less.

Work Your Inner Monologue. First, recognize your feelings, instead of denying or burying them. Then, have a conversation with yourself about turning those feelings around. Research suggests that this kind of work–particularly in the form of journaling–can lead to greater health and happiness.

Build Yourself Up. One way to feel more empowered is to recognize your strengths and reaffirm your individual power. Research shows that using affirmations can help. Try these three to get started: I am who I want to be. I believe in me. I am grateful for today.

From everyone on The Steve Fund’s team, I want to wish you all a wonderful Pride month. As Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple says, “History rarely yields to one person, but think and never forget what happens when it does. That can be you. That should be you. That must be you.” I hope these tips help you remember that you can be that person!

Be well,

Anuja Khemka
Executive Director

The Steve Fund Attends Boris L. Henson Foundation Benefit Dinner

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On Friday, June 7, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)’s new Task Force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health convened for the second time. Dr. Annelle Primm, Senior Medical Advisor, who represents The Steve Fund on the Task Force’s working group of experts and stakeholders, spoke during the launch conference in April. Following the gathering on Capitol Hill, senior leaders from The Steve Fund joined the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation during its inaugural benefit dinner (pictured above).

Actress, mental health advocate, and founder of the Henson Foundation Taraji P. Henson aptly described a deep concern within the African-American community with her comment:

“We, in the African-American community, we don’t deal with mental health issues. We don’t even talk about it. We’ve been taught to pray our problems away. We’ve been demonized for coming out and saying we have [mental health] issues and we have trust issues. I need the person sitting opposite from me, when I go seek [mental] help, to be culturally competent. If you’re not culturally competent how can I trust you with my deepest secrets and my vulnerability?”

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, launched by Taraji P. Henson to help eradicate the stigma around mental health issues in the African-American community, hosted a benefit dinner Friday, June 7, 2019 in Washington DC. Pictured above (left to right): Gordon Bell (The Steve Fund Board Member), Dr. Annelle Primm (The Steve Fund Advisor), Dr. Narcisa Polonio (The Steve Fund Advisor), and Dr. Sam Daniel (former President/CEO of the former North General Hospital in Harlem and prominent NYC physician).

Here are a few resources from The Steve Fund that also support Taraji P. Henson’s appeal to fight the stigma around mental health in African-American communities and communities of color:

Meet Our Latest Stephen C. Rose Legacy Scholar

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Meet Robina Onwong’a, a rising 4th year Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri’s (Mizzou) Counseling Psychology Program, and 2019 recipient of The Stephen C. Rose Scholarship for Psychology Research on African American Youth presented by The Steve Fund and The Association of Black Psychologists.

Robina Onwong’a is a Maryland native with Kenyan roots. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, French Language & Literature, and International Studies from the University of Maryland. She is a rising 4th year Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri’s (Mizzou) Counseling Psychology Program. She serves on a few executive boards: The Association of Black Psychologists, Student Circle, Communications Chair; Mizzou’s African Graduate and Professional Student Association (AGPSA), Secretary; Mizzou’s Counseling Psychology Student Organization (CPSO), 4th Year Doctoral Representative. As part of her clinical training, Robina has provided career counseling and currently provides individual therapy and co-facilitates group therapy at a community mental health clinic that uses an integrative behavioral health care approach. She also conducts clinical assessments at an autism and neurodevelopmental clinic. Robina’s research focuses on the influence that psychological trauma in early age has on psycho-social-emotional development, ethnic identification, and belonging for historically marginalized and underserved people, particularly those of African descent. She aspires to develop and consult about the implementation of culturally appropriate interventions that will support the mental health of those individuals, facilitate healing, and ultimately, spread love. Robina likes photography, teaching, facilitating workshops, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and fruits, to name a few significant things.


About The Stephen C. Rose Scholarship for Psychology Research on African American Youth

The Association of Black Psychologists is proud to offer The Stephen C. Rose Scholarship for Psychology Research on African American Youth. Established by The Steve Fund, this scholarship is in memory of Stephen C. Rose whose passions included psychology, in which he attained a graduate degree. It seeks to encourage and promote research on psychological challenges confronting African American youth. This is an area of study which needs greater attention, particularly given the impact of societal issues such as racism, which have a negative effect on the mental health of African American youth.

The Steve Fund has established this award in recognition of the inspiration Stephen gave to all of those who knew him. Stephen was a young African American man who lived life with courage, determination, and compassion. He cared deeply about the well-being of others, therefore this fund was created by his family and friends to promote the mental and emotional well-being of young people of color.

For additional information, contact The ABPsi National Office at 301-449-3082 or


Our Mission: Promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color