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Breaking the Mask of Depression

Hello, everyone! This is your host, Diva with Depression, and I'm thrilled to share my latest episode of "Breaking the Mask of Depression." In this episode, we dove deep into the complexities of mental health, particularly focusing on the experiences of Black individuals in the mental health system.

My special guest was Imade Botha, a remarkable advocate for minority mental health and the founder of Depressed While Black. Imade shared her harrowing yet inspiring journey through the mental health system, starting from a life-threatening moment on a Los Angeles highway to her advocacy work today.

Key Highlights from the Episode:

  1. Imade's Personal Journey:

  2. Imade opened up about her initial encounter with the mental health system as a graduate student at USC, where she was advised to leave her program and enter a psychiatric facility. Choosing to advocate for herself, she refused and continued her education while seeking appropriate therapy.

  3. She discussed her diagnosis of major depressive disorder and later, borderline personality disorder, highlighting the challenges and misunderstandings often associated with mental health diagnoses.

  4. Challenges in the Mental Health System:

  5. Imade detailed the systemic issues within the psychiatric community, particularly the racial biases that affect how Black individuals are treated and perceived in mental health settings.

  6. She shared a powerful narrative about her first hospitalization experience, underscoring the lack of compassion and the punitive nature of the treatment she received.

  7. Depressed While Black:

  8. Imade explained the genesis of her nonprofit, Depressed While Black, which provides Black-affirming personal care items to psychiatric patients. This initiative addresses the neglect of Black-specific needs in psychiatric facilities, such as appropriate hair care products and other personal care items.

  9. Advocacy and Future Plans:

  10. Looking forward, Imade discussed her plans to expand her advocacy work through initiatives like a mobile hair salon for Black children in psychiatric facilities, aiming to provide not just physical care but also emotional support and affirmation.


This episode was a profound reminder of the ongoing struggles within our mental health systems and the powerful impact of personal advocacy. Imade's story is a testament to the strength found in self-advocacy and the importance of culturally competent care.

Please help Imade continue her work helping Black and Brown patients in behavioral health spaces. Donate at:

Thank you for tuning in, and I hope this episode inspires you to protect your peace and advocate for better mental health care in your communities.

Stay tuned for more discussions that break the mask of depression and bring light to the shadows of mental health challenges.

Remember, you are not alone, and together, we can make a difference.

Depressed While Black:

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