By: Mama Kay
My aunt Alma Roberts, Senior Program Manager for Kaiser Permanente, shared that StoryCorps was looking for stories dealing with families and mental health. She thought that Ola and I would be a perfect match. She sent me her boss' information, and we said that we were definitely interested. We filled out the proper forms, StoryCorps producers got in touch with us for this project, and they called us from LA. They sent us questions, possible questions, because the whole process is for one family member who deals with mental issues to interview the other family member who also deals with mental health issues.
On Saturday morning of December 9th, we made our way in the snow to Baltimore Studios (231 Holiday Street), near downtown Baltimore. We were met at the door by some of the producers, and we chatted because the interview before us was still going on. They took us through and turned on the mics and just had us go for it. We talked for 30 minutes and you know he would tell us how much time we had left. In that interview, we laughed, we cried, and I thank God for the virtues, because we gave each other acknowledgement. I really listened to Ola, and talking to the radio audience who might hear her story. I really listened and learning more about that process. I acknowledged her, Kaiser Permanente, StoryCorps; we were so fucking grateful to have that time and how rich it was.
I guess since we’ve been dealing with mental health all these years, we believed that it would be an easy task for us to discuss it. It was very poignant, emotional, funny, clear, and hopeful that we can help others who have struggled with suicide attempts, hypersexuality, alcoholism, drug addictions, as they climbed through the web of mental health challenges. I’m so proud of Ola and her openness in her fight to heal. The fact that she works as an employment specialist for those who have mental health challenges. She finds that so rewarding to work for that community that she belongs to. It makes her stop hiding and it made me proud to come from a family that struggles to combat mental health issues but are triumphant.
Then afterwards we walked to Ida B’s Table (235 Holliday Street) and shared brunch together in a perfect little spot as the snow fell.