Trauma of Floyd aftermath leads activist to new advocacy 00:00

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Dimensions of Health Mental health disparities in Black communities

Trauma of Floyd aftermath leads activist to new advocacy

Isak Douah had long felt the mental toll of the fight for social justice but he’d always rebuffed suggestions to seek counseling — until the tragic events of Juneteenth 2020. His experience with therapy led to a new calling: funding mental healthcare for Black youth.

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Less than 50% of all Americans with a mental health disorder are able to get the treatment they need. Source: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Isak Douah of Minneapolis was inspired to become a community organizer after joining protests that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. After George Floyd’s murder in May 2020 at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, Douah returned from studying abroad and volunteered to help with security for George Floyd Square events.

The night of Juneteenth 2020, shots rang out on the square shattering the joyful celebration — gunfire that Douah ran towards. A friend had been shot trying to break up an altercation and died of his injuries as Douah and first responders tended his wounds.

Douah’s mom suggested therapy, as she had on other occasions, and this time, he acquiesced. That decision eventually led him down another avenue where he could have a positive impact in his community. 

“After having that experience, I wanted everyone in my community to have access to a mental health professional the way I was able to,” he said. In concert with his father, they founded 846s.org, a nonprofit organization focused on mental healthcare access for Black youth.

“It’s been a tremendous journey,” Douah said. “I try to be as big of a mental health advocate as I can for my community.”

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Digital Media Producer and Program Host

Krysta Rayford

Krysta Rayford is an audio producer and voice actor based in Minneapolis, MN. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Krysta also performs as K.Raydio, a musician whose work has been featured internationally on VH1, BBC Radio and Okayplayer. Krysta was a two-time featured performer at Soundset Music Festival in 2014 and 2019, one of the largest hip-hop festivals in the United States. In 2020, Krysta was named faculty at MacPhail Center for Music in the new Electronic Music and Recording Arts (EMRA) department. In addition to her work as a musician, Krysta is a Digital Media Producer and Program Host for iPondr. Her background in audio production is rooted in her work as Voiceover Talent in Audio Description narration. Her credits include: Empire (FOX), A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO), Independent Lens (PBS), Barbie’s Dreamhouse Adventures (Netflix) and more.

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Episode Mental health disparities in Black communities