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  • T-Kea Blackman


Updated: Feb 28, 2022


Fireflies Unite In Partnership With The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Prince George’s County Chapter Hosts “Save Our Babies: A Heart to Heart About Suicide and Mental Health for Children of Color”

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- June 12, 2018 ---In honor of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July, suicide survivor T-Kea Blackman is shedding light on suicide and mental illness affecting Black and Latino children. Fireflies Unite, a mental health and wellness community founded by Blackman, is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Prince George’s County Maryland Chapter (NAMIPGC) for its first event, “Save Our Babies: A Heart to Heart About Suicide and Mental Health for Children of Color” on Saturday, July 21, at the South Bowie Library in Bowie, Md., from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET.

The panelists include mental health professionals and advocates Tristeza Duncan, NAMIPGC board member and mental health advocate; Paul Bashea Williams, social worker and founder, Hearts In Mind Counseling; Yesenia Villalta, social worker and founder, Cultivate Love; Lisa Daughtrey, mental health advocate and speaker; Dennis Gates, family psychiatric nurse practitioner, Dennis Gates Mental Health LLC; and Nyasha Chikowore, licensed clinical professional counselor and PsyD student. Following the panel, there will be a question and answer segment for attendees to address their concerns.

The goal of the event is to create a safe space for mental health professionals, advocates, parents and those who work with children to engage in an open dialogue, provide resources and encouragement. A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to NAMIPGC. Tickets can be purchased via the following links  and

According to an article by The Washington Post, a new study by JAMA Pediatrics discovered African American children are taking their lives at roughly twice the rate of their white counterparts. Researchers at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio confirmed the rate of suicide for black children ages 5 to 12 exceeded that of young whites. The results were seen in both boys and girls. Latina teens currently have the highest rate of suicide attempts among all adolescent groups in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  In addition, a study by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center revealed suicide is the third leading cause of death for Latino men in the U.S. 

“As a suicide survivor and as someone who lost their 14-year-old cousin to suicide, I am committed to showing communities of color that recovery is possible,” said Blackman. As the creator of Fireflies Unite, Blackman’s goal is to bring light into darkness, just like the fireflies and end the mental health stigma through her organization’s podcasts, articles, events, founder’s speeches and advocacy.Blackman is also pursuing her certification through the   Maryland and Behavioral health Professional Certification Board to become a recovery coach and peer specialist. Recovery coaches and peer specialists use their lived experience with mental illness and/or alcohol and/or drug use to assist those in recovery.

The “Save Our Babies” event sponsors are Selah Wellness & Therapeutic Services, Inceptus Psychological & Consulting Services, NotOk App, I LIVE FOR, EvvettMarcell Photography, Soul Sistar Beauty, The Buddy Project, Jewelz of Jordan and All Things Keeyah.

“It is time to stop sweeping suicide under the rug and labeling it as a white people thing especially when marginalized communities are at a higher risk for developing a mental illness. We have to overcome everyday stressors, systematic-racism such as police brutality, education and health care gaps, and sexism that impacts black women,” Blackman continued.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. There are nearly 1,000 NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates across the country. Many NAMI affiliates offer an array of free support and education programs.

To learn more about Blackman and Fireflies Unite, visit and connect with her on all social media platforms @firefliespod. To learn more information about NAMIPGC, visit and follow on Twitter @NAMIPGC. Join the conversation by using #saveourbabies.

Blackman is available for interviews to further discuss the importance of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and her ongoing commitment to end the stigma of mental health in communities of color.

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