Today’s #SameHereHero: Lennie Carter (He’s just one of those good guys who “gets it,” who you just want to be around. Lennie had reached out about the company he founded, TruCircle – which he’ll talk about below – and wanting to partner w the Crazy Movement somehow. What started as a business relationship has turned into a friendship. What I love about his story is how it addresses another angle of life that can affect mental health that we haven’t yet addressed – growing up in a difficult neighborhood.)
“Growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn gave me an opportunity to see many unique, interesting and difficult aspects of this world, without ever having to actually leave the block. Living in an area where violence and poverty were the ‘norm’ had a direct impact on my mental health as well as that of my loved ones. Residing in neighborhoods such as Brownsville and witnessing everyday occurrences makes you become numb to things like death and lost relationships from things such as incarceration and/or substance abuse. I had family members who were robbed and the victim of muggings, as well as those who got in trouble w the law.
Going through these experiences led me to depression, anxiety, and stress. Learning how to manage these emotions was challenging and I struggled with sharing my emotions with other people.
My toughest battle dealing with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress came when my mother, Barbara Carter, was admitted into the hospital in ICU for two weeks. She had fainted while commuting on a train and developed a brain contusion when I was only 28 years old. I had to be a champion for her health and well-being as she was for me all my life. At the end of two weeks of her being in a coma, she passed away.
A loved one recognized that my mental health symptoms were starting to get worse after losing my mother. I was showing signs of lack of sleep, lack of eating, and always being frustrated. That was when family decided to look into therapy for me.
I began going to therapy and to my surprise it was not what I expected. They began to assist me with a plan to help me work through and ultimately past my toughest emotions. Through improving my mental health with therapy, as well as working out in the gym to improve my physical health, I was getting on the right track.
People were surprised to hear that I went to therapy after my mother passed. They were shocked because I was considered to have tough skin earlier in life and during the journey of her passing, and even seemed to be somewhat robotic with my outward emotions. I’m an open book though and have no shame in admitting I needed that help and it had greatly benefited me.
When I shared w ppl I knew what I had been struggling w from a mental health standpoint, I was surprised, but glad that everyone accepted my experience and reacted with open arms. It led to great conversations where I’ve encouraged others to seek professional mental health help. Recognizing the value of the right therapy and the barriers to find the help needed, I went on a mission to build a solution. I took my tragedy and decided to build TruCircle, a web and mobile platform connecting people from underserved communities to in-person and virtual mental health professionals that have a specific certification. #SamHere and I’m psyched that we’ll be featured on weareallalittlecrazy.org as a means by which folks from neighborhoods like mine will be able to find the help they need.”