Green serves as the nationally recognized color for Mental Health Awareness — a hue chosen to illustrate the strength and courage of millions who fight each day to overcome mental illnesses.

Kellene Diana, the founder of the mental health organization, The Green Heart Community, Inc., has continued to advocate going green.

Diana, a longtime advocate in the mental health community, kicked off Mental Health Awareness Month with the second annual lighting of Baltimore City Hall.

With assistance from Mayor Brandon Scott, the dome at City Hall sparkled in shades of green for the first week of May.

Kellene Diana founded The Green Heart University to train students in mental health coaching. (Courtesy photo)

“It is now an annual event and it’s a topic that because of the pandemic we have no choice but to talk more about. Mental illness impacts celebrities, our children, people in leadership, our city council, our government, everyone,” Diana remarked. “Unfortunately, some people are still hesitant and scared because of being judged or they are scared that they will no longer be respected.”

To advance her advocacy work, Diana founded the Green Heart University, an online school designed to spread “green love” and to bring radical awareness to the importance of mental health.

She describes it as a first of its kind — an online school designed to provide instruction for mental health advocates and coaches with the nuances needed to help people in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“We have students, instructors and partners who are on a mission to spread awareness,” she said. “We equip our students with the tools they need to become certified mental health coaches and advocates so that they can make an impact, an income and advocate for others.”

“Green Heart University was created amidst the pandemic because of the need of so many who have never dealt with this. I want to give people the tools they need to recognize and direct people with anxiety and depression. We have partnered with mental health professionals, suicide prevention professionals and others to advocate for mental health.”

To date, Diana said Green Heart University has assisted thousands of women worldwide in achieving their dreams despite battling anxiety and depression. She continues to uphold a personal commitment to erase the stigma associated with anxiety and depression, particularly among women.

“The more you talk about mental health, the more responsible you are,” Diana declared. “Talking about mental illness and mental health is okay and necessary for the healing we need as a nation, not just in Baltimore. And it’s our responsibility to open the conversation and give others the green light to do the same.”

“We have to normalize these discussions — make them exciting. Mental health is just as important, if not more important, than physical health. If you are not right mentally, then physically you won’t feel right either.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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