Annual Member Meeting & Executive Women's Forum: Mental Health
Join Women & Hi Tech June 14th at this in-person event where we talk about mental health and how we de-stigmatize seeking assistance for mental health issues. We will also conduct our annual member meeting, presenting and then voting on our organization’s 2022-2023 Board of Directors slate! This event will be held at the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana facility, located at Camp Dellwood, (see video of facility) on the westside of Indianapolis.
After the annual meeting and mental health event, we’ll host a short happy hour for you to meet our guest speakers, network, and peruse the Girls Scouts gift shop!
Why have we chosen mental health for this topic? In 2020, we saw numerous examples of public figures and/or celebrities experience mental health challenges such as Simon Biles at the 2020 Olympics, Lady Gaga, and Chris Evans (Captain America). In January of this year, Cheslie Kryst, the 2019 winner of the Miss USA pageant and talented entertainment reporter, ended her life. These feelings are not limited to celebrities. Many of us have personally experienced or witnessed how the impacts of mental health effect wellness. Some telling statistics are noted below:
· According to the Office of Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, women wait an average of four years after the onset of PTSD symptoms before asking for help. Men, on the other hand, seek assistance an average of one year after PTSD symptoms arise.
· According to the Women’s Health Research Institute at Northwestern University, women are more prone than men to feel stigmatized for seeking assistance with a mental health issue. Women tend to rely on the opinions of the outside world for their self-esteem much more than men do. As a result, they often avoid having their mental illness treated because they want to prevent others from thinking less of them, which would cause them to think less of themselves. The stigma of seeking treatment for a mental illness is greater among women of color.
· The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), women are also twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with panic disorder (PD), which affects 6 million U.S. adults.
· According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, women of color reported feelings of hopelessness, sadness, worthlessness, and like everything is an effort nearly twice as often as white women did.
· In a May 2022 edition of the US News and World Report, recent research published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking revealed that taking even a brief break from TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The importance of mental health has long been downplayed in corporate America as employees were told to “leave their problems at the door.” Mental health challenges such as substance abuse, depression and suicide have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic across all age groups. As a result, we are witnessing more employers offering wellness plans and access to mental health services. We even see colleges leaning in to address issues on campuses! The Indiana University Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences rebranded "Dead Week" – finals preparation week—to “College Care Week,” providing students opportunities to focus on their mental health.
In short, there has never been a more relevant time to have this discussion and hear from experts that will provide coping tools and ideas. We hope you can join us!
Registration begins at 3:00pm
3:30 pm: Annual Membership Meeting with announcements and member voting of new President and board slate
3:45 pm: Program begins
Rhonda L. Bayless, Executive Director, Center of Wellness for Urban Women (CWUW)
Rhonda L. Bayless, a native of Indianapolis, is the Executive Director and founder of the Center of Wellness for Urban Women (CWUW), a nonprofit organization empowering women and their families living in urban communities to take action in their health and well-being. Our goal is to improve health-related quality of life for women impacted by social determinants of health and other factors.
She has also worked for over 20 years as an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention for women and continues to work to employ how the intersection of race, gender, and class impacts the health outcomes for women and girls. Ms. Bayless attended Franklin College and her commitment to the nonprofit sector has allowed her to gain experience through her work at Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Girls Inc National Resource Center (providing capacity building for their affiliates), and The Damien Center, as the Director of Prevention and Testing. She has sat on national working groups focusing on HIV/AIDS and women, provides support for organizations addressing diabetes and obesity for women, and provided insight and guidance to the National Council on Disability regarding mental health and Black women
In her personal life, Ms. Bayless is the mother of a 31 daughter and 10year old grandson, a lover of music, especially Prince. Community work is her inspiration and self-care is a way of life after years of body abuse.
Prior to her work as a therapist, Danielle Ireland MSW, LCSW, worked as a performer and ballroom dance instructor. Her journey from performer to therapist wasn’t a clearly defined path, but rather a sweaty, awkward, and exhilarating process of step, stumble, fear, learn, repeat. She believes that when we see the best in ourselves, we bring out the best in others.
She's also the creator of the Unleashing You Program, author of the Treasured Journal, and host of the podcast, Don't Cut Your Own Bangs - the remedy to comparison and feeling like everyone has life figured out but you.
4:45pm: Program ends, Happy Hour begins
5:45pm: Happy Hour ends