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Aruna Rao will be presenting at this years In My Mind Conference held in October in New York:

Aruna Rao is a community mental health advocate, grassroots organizer, speaker and writer. She is currently an Associate Director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New Jersey (NAMI NJ). Aruna is the founder of SAMHAJ, the first program in the USA to provide support and education for South Asian Americans affected by mental illness. She has been instrumental in developing programs for immigrants affected by mental illness in New Jersey, and her efforts have resulted in NAMI NJ receiving the 2014 Advancing Minority Mental Health Award from the American Psychiatric Foundation. Her work in mental health has been recognized by the World Malayalee Council NJ Chapter, the NJ Department of Transportation Asian American Heritage Committee and Lions Club NJ. She received the 2014 Agraj Seva Kendra Notable Indian Americans of New Jersey Award, the 2011 South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) Changemaker Award, the 2003 Leadership Award from the NJ Asian American Association for Human Services, and the 2002 National Multicultural Outreach Award from NAMI. She has served on the NAMI Diversity & Inclusion Workgroup and the National Institute of Mental health (NIMH) Outreach Partner Steering Committee. She makes frequent presentations on mental health to community and professional groups.

As the proud mother of a queer and transgender child, Aruna is passionate about advancing LGBTQ+ rights. She recognizes the urgent need for family acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in API and South Asian communities and is dedicated to creating a loving, inclusive world where LGBTQ+ people are welcomed into community spaces. Aruna serves on the steering committee of API Rainbow Parents of PFLAG NYC, and is the founder of Desi Rainbow Parents & Allies, a group developed to support South Asian parents of LGBTQ+ children. She speaks about family acceptance in community and professional settings and has been featured on podcasts and in newspaper articles.

MHNR Network proudly presents another In My Mind conference presenter. This year’s conference is one for the record books. The In My Mind conference endeavors to end stigma surrounding the LGBTQ community and mental health. Host, Kristin Walker, interviews Adioa Osei. Adjoa is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Brooklyn, NY. She received her doctorate from Long Island University, Post campus in 2014. She has experience working in inpatient and outpatient settings with adults diagnosed with a range of mental illnesses and experiencing various stressors. Her research interests include experiences of minority doctoral students, racial identity development, the LGBT community in Africa, and therapeutic uses of Hip Hop.

Dr. Leonard Cruz is a Dancer, Choreographer, Certified Integrative Health Coach, Community Activist, and Teacher. He was also a presenter at the In My Mind: A LGBTQ+ Mental Health People of Color conference in New York. We interviewed him live amongst the hustle and bustle of New York City.

For more information about Dr. Cruz please visit his website at Even there you’ll see how movement is foremost in his thoughts and action as you try to navigate the site. Ingenious!

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Thanks to our friend and past guest Etu Evans for introducing journalist, activist, film maker, and CEO Antoine Craigwell to Mental Health News Radio. Antoine’s passion for the behavioral health field is inspiring to behold. Join us for a discussion about his career and work as an advocate and the message he is spreading globally to raise awareness about mental health issues.


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Mental Health News Radio Network is proud to announce their coverage of The In My Mind: LGBTQ People of Color Mental Health Conference created by DBGM: Depressed Black Gay Men which is taking place in New York City, Oct. 5-6th. Mental Health News Radio Network, commonly known as MHNR network, based out of Asheville, North Carolina, is a network of podcasts focused on mental health and how it affects all aspects of individuals’ lives: Emotional, Physical, Financial, Spiritual, Entertainment, Sports, Politics, Technological, and more. By covering such a comprehensive conference discussing the many different issues that gay Black men face, MHNR endeavors to further educate the public about taboo conversations. The In My Mind conference hopes to make these topics mainstream, remove stigma and shame, and encourage embracing healing methods and therapies.

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Adult industry insider and star, Leo Donato, joins our show to discuss his presentation at the annual In My Mind: A LGBTQ+ People of Color Mental Health Conference. His advocacy is a bridge between sex workers and mental health professionals. The presentation is about the sexual objectification of Black men in the gay community by White men of a different social economic background and the self-esteem mental health effects this produces in Black gay men.

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Chuck Tarver is one of the volunteers for this years In My Mind Conference with DBGM held on October 5th and 6th in New York City, New York. He is also the outreach manager for NAMI Delaware. Chuck talks about how mental illness within his family inspired him to become an advocate within the behavioral health community. He signed on to help coordinate this years conference in order to help promote awareness within the LGBTQI+ community for people of color.

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Dr. Rhone Fraser is an independent writer and journalist born of Jamaican immigrants in Brooklyn, New York, on October 12, 1979. He earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple as of August 31, 2012. His dissertation was a literary and historical analysis of Pauline Hopkins, A. Philip Randolph and Paul Robeson. His dissertation adviser is the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner in History, Dr. Heather Ann Thompson.  He is an historical dramatist of five works, most recently, The Original Mrs. Garvey.  He has published in the Third World Press, CLA Journal, Callaloo, and most recently the Caribbean Quarterly.

Dr. Fraser is one of the presenters at In My Mind: An LGBTQI+ People of Color Mental Health Conference.

This year’s conference focuses on mental health care: navigating concerns, acknowledging developments and looking to the future for LGBTQ peoples of color, through the collective strengths and wisdom of clinicians, consumers, academics, and advocates to confront the issues affecting these communities. View our website for more information about this conference at

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