MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – A Milwaukee Social Worker is working to end stigma and dispel the myths surrounding mental health in underserved communities.
At the conclusion of Mental Health Awareness Month, Tajma Hall on CBS 58 sat down with Tarsha Wiggins to discuss how she is inspiring change with her interactive ‘Trap Therapy’ events.
Trap Therapy is a free community activity that combines music and mental health. The environment is fun and creates a safe place for some difficult conversations. Trap music is a popular subgenre of hip-hop music. Trap Therapy events include a DJ spinning some of the latest tunes to keep people comfortable.
Trap Therapy events are supported by a variety of community organizations including the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention.
Wiggins continues his mission through his own organization called Speak Wellness.
“Speak Wellness is my little love child. It’s an organization I started that aims to do two things. Reduce the stigma around mental illness in Black and Brown communities,” Wiggins said.
Statistically, communities of color experience mental health issues such as anxiety and depression at a higher rate 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 Blacks facing a mental health issue can get help.
Wiggins said the growing issue of community violence has a huge impact on mental health, creating trauma that often goes unnoticed.
“Often perceived trauma is things we’re used to. It’s normal to hear a gunshot, experience, violence, experience death…,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins hopes to spread the word that okay isn’t okay and it’s important to ask for help.
“Our suicide rates are the highest among our Black teens and I think that is alarming and speaks to specific components of the pandemic such as loneliness, lack of social emotional development, increased use of technology and social media interaction, ”Wiggins said.
Trap Therapy events are targeted at all ages and give people a chance to dance in pain while facing the challenges themselves. Attendees will walk away with valuable tools to help with coping skills.
During Mental Health Awareness Month, Trap Therapy activities were held for young people and another for women.
Wiggins said Milwaukee won’t heal until people learn to heal themselves. He strives to continue to lead the role towards peace of mind for all.
“In everything I do, it’s about keeping your mark but impacting change,” Wiggins said.
For more information on Trap Therapy and Speak Wellness click here.