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The Wellness Collective brings Mental Wellness Speed Dating to Pittsburgh

click to enlarge The Wellness Collective brings Mental Wellness Speed Dating to Pittsburgh
Illustration: Ashantay Ganaway
Mental health is a topic that has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind for the past year. How we care for ourselves and those in our lives is an important topic and, according to Shanon Hughes, founder of The Wellness Collective, it's especially important for Black families.

“For Black folks, we have the pandemic coupled with systemic and racial injustice, scarce resources, and subpar recreational and educational outlets [for our children]. Our mental health has been severely strained, even more so than it already was prior to this global crisis,” says Hughes in a press release.

The Wellness Collective is seeking to make the process of finding mental health care simpler for families, so they are holding a Mental Wellness Speed Dating event on Tue., Aug. 24 from 5-8 p.m. The event is free to the public for those looking for a therapist, a spiritual advisor, a birth worker, or more, and if a participant matches with a practitioner, financial support is available.

“The Wellness Collective collaborates with people who are experiencing crises to develop effective solutions that mitigates need. Our aim is to restore stability and strengthen resiliency," reads the website for the Wellness Collective. "We do this by listening to our neighbors, facilitating local resource collection and redistribution, and improving accessibility to services."

Hughes says the process of finding help for mental and emotional issues can be daunting, and many people don’t know where to start. Additionally, one bad experience with a mismatched practitioner can lead people to write off the practice of self-care as a whole.

The idea for mental wellness speed dating came about when CEO Christian Hughes had a vision of making the process of finding a mental health provider easier.

“I wish there was, like, a mental health speed dating event so that you can get a feel for the right practitioner without having to go through the physical, financial, and emotional labor just to get to that point,” he said during the conversation, and so mental wellness speed dating was born.

The inaugural event will take place over Zoom to ensure the safety of all participants. Interested parties can register here. The first event is specifically for Black families, but The Wellness Collective says future events will be announced and open to a wider audience. 

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