Unapologetically Black Unicorns

Unapologetically Black Unicorns

Have you ever chatted with an Unapologetically Black Unicorn? Someone who symbolizes freedom, power, strength and is a true force of nature and thought, ‘WOW people need to hear this’? Now you can and learn how to be a U.B.U. too! Join the weekly conversation with host Keris Jän Myrick, an unapologetically black unicorn in their own right, and nationally recognized mental health advocate chatting with amazing U.B.U. folk who are advancing all things mental health, racial justice, and anything cool to enhance human existence.


June 6, 2023 33 mins

Dr. Jonathan Edwards (he/him) and Rita Cronise (She/Her) are editors for the book “What it Takes: Wisdom from Peer Support Specialists and Supervisors” and they are Unapologetically Black Unicorns. Jonathan and Rita explain how the book came about and the history of Peer Support. They talk about who the target audience is for the book, why this book is needed and remembering their colleague Steve Harrington.

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Rev. Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard (she/her) is the Founding Pastor of Word of Encouragement Community Church (WOECC) in Los Angeles, California. Rev. Najuma talks about the marriage of mental health and the faith community. They talk about being a first responder for the church community, empowering the village and going from building to bonding.

This episode is sponsored by Janssen Neuroscience and Supported by The Painted Brain, a Ca...

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Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D. (she/hers) is the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administrator of SAMHSA and an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Dr. Delphin-Rittmon reflects on her roles before joining SAMHSA and some of her mentors through the course of her career. They talk about mental health promotion and early intervention, the data behind th...

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Carolina Valle, MSW, (She /Hers) is the Senior Policy Director at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and she is an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Carolina unpacks the impact of her family history and what inspired her to become a social worker. They talk about the diversity of how communities are defining mental health and wellness, some concerns with the CARE Court framework and fighting stereotypes in the field of policy.


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Dr. Rupi Legha (she/hers) is a psychiatrist focused on anti-racism and providing humane and compassionate care and she is an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Dr. Legha walks us through her path to becoming a psychiatrist and how she was not convinced by the biomedical approach. They talk about safety concerns in mental health, community-oriented care and working to not problematize a child and their mental health.

The National Suici...

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May 2, 2023 9 mins

Keris has done over one hundred episodes of Unapologetically Black Unicorns and she is here to celebrate. She shares what the milestone means to her and she reflects on what she’s learned throughout all these episodes. Keris explains the next steps for the podcast and shout-outs are her guests that have contributed to the show’s success.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

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Taun Hall (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Miles Hall Foundation. Taun shares the heart-breaking story of her son Miles who was killed by the police and how it’s led to her advocacy work. They talk AB 988 – “The Miles Hall Lifeline Act,” doing the prevention work in our Black communities and taking care of your self-care.

Mental Illness Is Not A Crime: The Miles Hall Foundation: https://www.themileshallfoundation.org/



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Crystal L. Brandow, PhD (she/hers) is the founder of clb strategies, LLC, Hakim Asadi, LMSW (he/him) is the founder of Beyond Living and Lawrence Hines (he/him) is a Marketing and Branding Consultant and a Mental Health Advocate and they are all Unapologetically Black Unicorns. They share why they developed this well-being model for Black people created by Black people. They talk about the nine domains for the well-being model, tak...

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LaVerne Miller (she/her) is an attorney with a focus on the employment of people with lived experience and she is an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. LaVerne shares her experience starting the first forensic peer specialist training program and how proud she is of its expansion. They talk about the peer workforce movement and the importance of Estate Planning, taking advantage of employee benefits and empowering ourselves for our fu...

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April 4, 2023 11 mins

Keris goes solo to share a critical email she received and goes on to focus on the common experience of all the negative self-talk that follows. She explains how someone else’s perception can really affect you and ways to try to move past it. Keris talks about how she was able to go to an event with friends to help refocus her energy but how it really comes down to feeling appreciated, feeling a connection and a sense of community ...

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Yolo Akili Robinson (he/him/his) is the Executive Director of BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective). Yolo explains why we need to give the skills and tools to the community because they are the true caregivers for so many people’s healing and wellness. They talk about the healing justice model, person-centered care and cultivating more community and healing spaces.

This episode is sponsored by Janssen Neuroscience and...

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Zak Williams (he/him) is a Mental Health Advocate, the son of the late actor/comedian Robin Williams and an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Zak shares how mental health advocacy has been a way to manage his process of healing and discovering how service was a path to happiness. They talk about how Zak got started teaching at San Quentin State Prison, his work on lifestyle interventions and being open to opportunities.

The National ...

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Nicole Kwan (she/her) is a mental health advocate and she is an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Nicole talks about how mental health was stigmatized in her own culture and how she found people to talk to and support her. They talk about the focus on immigrant mental health, getting more young people to the table and the importance of compassion, kindness and empathy.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now: 988 Suicide and ...

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Jess Stohlmann Rainey (she/her) is a mad care worker, an instructor in the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology and she is an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Jess shares her points from a piece she wrote about 988 and the importance of informed consent. They talk about Jess’ experience as a death doula, why it’s essential in care work to not only give people options but to also make sure they have access ...

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February 28, 2023 30 mins

Dr. Teah Hairston (she/her) is the founder of Be Love Holistic. Dr. Hairston walks us through her journey including the challenges she encountered after a miscarriage. They talk about recovery for Black women, the need for being with people who have experienced things like you, the impacts of Sister Circles and making room for self-care.

This episode is sponsored by Janssen Neuroscience and Supported by The Painted Brain, a Califor...

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Nze Okoronta (they/them) is the Peer Services Program Director for SOAR Case Management Services overseeing Solstice House Peer Run Respite and Peer Run Warmline and they are an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Nze shares their mental health journey and how they are working with the same Warmline they called while in crisis. They talk about their experiences with peer respites, not using anything carceral in the program and dealing ...

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February 14, 2023 15 mins

Keris goes solo to reflect on some personal meaning behind another Tarot card. She shares why the Lovers card resonates with her and she draws the parallels between the card and her personal experiences. She talks about why she first struggled with the Lovers card even though it is her birth card, she shares an event from her childhood that’s made it hard for her to love herself and honoring you for you – U.B.U.


The National Suic...

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February 7, 2023 35 mins

Preston Mitchum (he/him) is the Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs with The Trevor Project and he is an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Preston shares what The Trevor Project does as an organization and how they try to reach and support LGBTQ young people. They talk about how Preston always wanted to support people and fight for their access, how The Trevor Project crisis counselors are trained to meet the needs of LGBTQ y...

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Dr. Kristee Haggins (she/her) is a community healer, African-centered psychologist and the Executive Director of Safe Black Space. Dr. Haggins shares how Safe Black Space is creating opportunities for Black people to heal and thrive. They talk about the community healing circles, how Dr. Haggins got into the field of psychology and why we need more Black psychologists plus the power in embracing who you are.

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January 24, 2023 36 mins

Nandini Nema (she/her) is a gap year student who is making an impact in mental health and she is an Unapologetically Black Unicorn. Nandini shares the work she’s done as a youth representative with UNICEF by helping build child friendly cities. They talk about how mindfulness is a process, working in tech as a Google summer scholar, what they would do to encourage people to get into the field of mental health and they share some of...

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