Plano business owner Vontoba Terry hopes to spread mental health awareness during the holiday season. Terry promotes wellness and self-care by eliminating stigmas around mental health, especially for men of color.
“I think it’s important to identify why there is a stigma in the first place,” Terry said in an official statement. “Black men I know often find themselves in a situation where they have to be strong for their family and community and do more to get ahead, which creates a lot of pressure to hide what might be perceived as weakness. As men we can move too fast in an effort to survive to address mental health.”
Terry, the co-founder of the Black-owned brand Urban Hydration, is using his platform and business to share the importance of mental health for Black men. He believes that taking care of the body is the first step in mental healing. After the death of dancer Steven “tWitch” Boss, Terry and his business partner and wife, Psyche, hope to share the importance of self-care.
“We have watched tWitch since early in his career and even recently with his amazing performance with his wife in the Hip Hop Nutcracker,” Terry said in a statement. “I only wish that he had the opportunity to make a different choice and receive the help and support he needed to keep going. His death is heartbreaking and his family is in my thoughts. Our primary care providers and doctors should be asking us questions about our mental health and providing quality mental health resources.”
The business owners also hope to bring the conversation of mental health into all areas of life in order to show that everyone goes through struggles and individuals shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.
Terry and his wife went into debt while starting their business, putting a lot of pressure on him as a father, husband and business owner. He explained that he experienced his own struggles with anxiety, but found ways to move past it through therapy, prayer and reflection.
“I now understand how important it is to not make business success or financial success part of my identity,” Terry said. “Whether the business succeeded or failed, I still had a responsibility to be a great father and husband, surround myself with good advisors and make the best decisions possible.”
To highlight the importance of men’s self-care, the Terrys created a Black Men’s Mental Health Wellness Bundle, including castor and shea face wash, castor and shea face lotion and an aloe toner. Proceeds from the products will go towards its WATERisLIFE program which provides safe drinking water to those in need.