Health

Teen Entrepreneur Shines Light on Mental Health

Jay Rodriguez, a 17-year-old who once suffered from anxiety and depression, wants to use his apparel company to give back to mental health organizations in the areas that need it the most.

The Maryland-based company, Faceless Legend, announced Wednesday, May 31 it would donate 50 percent of sales from its “The Faceless Tee” collection to U.S. mental health organizations that provide direct support and resources to urban communities.

The first edition of the screen-printed T-shirt — available in black and white — features the iconic hip-hop duo of Kid ‘n Play with the brand’s signature blurred face.

“Faceless Legend was birthed out of my own struggle with depression and anxiety,” Rodriguez said. “I would take a notebook and sort of just zone out, not even thinking that anyone would actually see what was inside of this book one day.

“Things eventually got really bad and I was admitted to a mental health facility,” he said. “I remember sitting there surrounded by kids from different backgrounds who had been in this facility for weeks — in some cases they’d been there for months — and it hit me that what I was experiencing was bigger than just me and that I wanted to do something.”

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.

Rodriguez asserts that studies also show creative therapy has proven effective in improving both mental and physical health.

Through partnerships with various organizations, Faceless Legend seeks to provide creative outlets and resources for patients to express themselves while on the road to recovery.

“We’re all born with this innate desire to express ourselves but it takes a certain level of confidence to push past the doubt and fear of what others may think,” Rodriguez said. “The legends that have and will continue to inspire the collection are all ‘Faceless’ not only because it’s the name of the brand but to encourage people to focus less on what these individuals look like and more on what these individuals have created through the adversity they’ve faced.”

“The Faceless Tee” collection is available for retail purchase at www.FacelessLegend.com in unisex sizes small to xxl.

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Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s millennial publication. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A proud southern girl, her lineage can be traced to the Gullah people inhabiting the low-country of South Carolina. The history of the Gullah people and the Geechee Dialect can be found on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In her spare time she enjoys watching either college football or the Food Channel and experimenting with make-up. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com. E-mail: Swright@washingtoninformer.com Social Media Handles: Twitter: @dreamersexpress, Instagram: @Sarafinasaid, Snapchat: @Sarafinasaid

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