In collaboration with the artist and "fashionista," Mecca Williams, LPC, the Style Affect uses the art of personal style and fashion as a mechanism to educate African Americans in the Richmond community about mental health issues, symptoms, management skills and treatment resources .
The desired outcome of the project is for an increased understanding of the mental health needs in the African American community, to eliminate barriers and access to mental health resources, and to increase African American participation in mental health treatment.
The Style Affect will conduct style-themed mental health panels and discussion groups to decrease the stigma of mental health and encourage participants to utilize creative outlets such as fashion to manage depression and anxiety related symptoms.
Style and fashion are cultural influencers of the African American community. For centuries, style and fashion has been an artistic expression used as a catalyst that represents social change and movements in the African American community. The Style Affect will use fashion to create social change in the African American community by normalizing the need to seek mental health treatment.
Licensed mental health therapist and co-curator with Style and Spirits RVA and Two Triple Oh! received the 2018 Richmond Magazine Most Stylish Richmonder award. She is a community advocate who facilitates mental health panels and discussions throughout VA.
Check out what participants are saying about the Style Affect!
Participants love the merger of Style and Mental Health
The general symptoms of anxiety are muscle tension, poor concentration, worry, restlessness, etc. and impairs one’s ability to feel relax, relate and release. Some general depressive symptoms are, feelings of worthlessness, lack of interest regular activities, sleep issues, changes in weight (not on purpose), and loss of energy. In today’s climate, most of us are experiencing increased levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms as we are trying to adjust, make sense of our world, and find a new normal. While trying to manage our mental health, who has the time or want to be concerned with putting on the standard “appropriate fits”? Take a look at my visual style presentation that explores different types of sweatsuits and the various fashionable and fun ways to wear them. I can’t control many things in my environment, but I can control what I wear! Feeling comfortable in the clothes I choose to wear gives a me a sense of unequivocal freedom and it brings me much joy. I am a cozy girl and a therapist who uses style as an expression of art, therefore in addition to my visual presentation I developed a list of the mental health benefits of rocking sweatsuits:
Whatever you choose to wear, please BE well and comfortable. If you have any questions about sweatsuit options, feel free to send me a message!
Mindfulness is a practice that encompass various techniques that’s used to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Depression is focusing on the past and anxiety is worrying about the future. Mindfulness teaches us how to be present, in the here and now. The now is all we really have. The past is gone and the future does not exist. Be mindful about your purchases and what to wear.
This look is an example of how I used fashion and style as a way to create awareness and education around mental health.
The clothes we put on every day tell a story about who we are to the world and can have a major impact on our emotions and mood. Changing up or experimenting with fashion is definitely a good way to improve your mental health, WHEN YOU’RE TRYING to live through a global pandemic, figuring out what to wear is likely not top of mind. But according to Dr. Carolyn Mair, a behavioral psychologist and the author of The Psychology of Fashion, slipping into your favorite pair of jeans could help with anxiety and stress—after all, clothing is part of our identity.
Retail therapy is when someone goes shopping and spends some money to feel better. It’s a real phenomenon and may be a good way to relieve some stress and any other emotions you’re feeling. Also beware of the pitfalls of retail therapy too. Research suggests that 80% of clothes in our wardrobe are unworn and that's quite worrying actually, as some people can become addicted to shopping and this can result in debt, in shame, and in guilt.
Perhaps the best reason to look fashionable is that it helps with your confidence. Getting complimented on how you look can give you a confidence boost and make you feel better about yourself. And you don’t even have to seek out validation from others, either. You can seek out validation from yourself as you see your fashion skills improving.
As you’re looking to change your fashion or be more stylish, you may try some creative combinations or take some risks. Wearing the same clothing over and over does not give you much creativity to work with, but by customizing your fashion, you can be able to open up some creative passages in your brain that you never thought existed. Try on some new clothes or make some clothes! Change up your hair. Style your friends. See what it can do for you.
Check out this new video!
Learn more about mental health resources and coping strategies in these amazing videos curated by Mecca!
Learn about suicide and suicide prevention in the Black community from expert panleists. If you missed the virtual event, check out the recording.
Learn more about mental health resources and coping strategies in these amazing episodes curated by Mecca!
Shayna is a final year graduate student at Wake Forest University. She is currently in the master's program for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Shayna is expected to graduate in May 2021. Shayna has been a student intern at Avail Outpatient Counseling, Certified SWaM business since January 2020 under the supervision of Tangee G. Augustin, LCSW. Shayna will be your provider for probono sessions until May 1, 2021.
Tell us what you think about the Style Affect. Participants who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win Black owned business products! A name will be drawn the 1st of each month and sent an email to claim their prize.
Here you will find resources related to common mental health disorders and treatments.