Entertainment pioneer Shani Das kicks off her #SilenceTheShame campaign, a global social media initiative in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. The celebrity campaign features a wide range of diverse talent including Nick Cannon, Andra Day, Will Packer, Jeezy, Estelle, Bell Biv Devoe, Stephanie Mills, Terri J. Vaughn, Chloe x Halle, Shanice, Flex Alexander, Takeo Spikes, Ed Lover, Nicci Gilbert Daniels, among many others.
A 25-year music and entertainment business veteran, Shanti Das was seven months old when her father committed suicide. Das and her siblings grew up feeling haunted, stigmatized, and embarrassed over his death for many years…The year 2015 was extremely tough for Das. She too had suicidal thoughts. Her sister convinced her to call the suicide prevention hotline to get the help she needed. Her pastor, the Rev. Dr. Warnock, who was also very supportive, told her, “You can’t pray your way through this one. You really need to go to the doctor.” Das visited her psychiatrist, who prescribed her antidepressants to cope. Although Das never made any attempts to kill herself, she said she came close. “I truly considered and thought about it. I thought about how I would do it. I had planned out what my funeral would be like, how family members and friends would react, what my colleagues would say or wouldn’t say. Yeah, it was very, very close.” Thankfully, her courage and quick action provided her with the much-needed support to get through that very dark period in her life.
“My mom shut down, and we didn’t talk about my dad’s suicide as a family,” says Das. “People would ask, ‘What happened to your father?’ and I would just say, ‘Oh, he died,’ because it was too painful for me to talk about. As a result, my siblings and I had to deal with it on our own. My sister started going to counseling when she was in college. My brother, I don’t know that he ever properly dealt with it, and then I dealt with it once I was in my 30s, while living in New York City.”
“I started thinking about my dad again, and it all came to a head, and I talked myself into a downward spiral,” says Das. “Different things in my life changed. I walked away from a lucrative career and started over. I started doing more community service while maintaining several music projects and clients. It was that experience that birthed Silence the Shame. My best friend also had committed suicide three and a half years ago. I have a family member that suffers from bipolar disorder. I felt like, for whatever reasons, these situations were placed in my life; God wanted me to deal with it head-on and be a voice of light.”
Nowadays, Das takes better care of herself. She watches her diet, exercises to get those endorphins going, and she takes yoga regularly. She also keeps her stress level down. She prays every morning, and although she knows you cannot pray away certain illnesses, she believes it’s important to have a spiritual component in your life.
Please continue reading Shanti Das’ story at Huffington Post