Meet HeadSpace: A Sitcom Trying to Elevate the Importance of Mental Health and Awareness in the Black Community
“This issue is one so many people have encountered either personally or through a family member or friend so that's another reason why we felt this show would resonate with a lot of people.” - Sade Oyinade
There have been several discussions lately in regards to mental health wellness, within the Black community especially, and how we’re supposed to deal with it. But in order for one to deal with it, there has to be a process in place for one to even acknowledge that this is an issue in the first place so that they can properly address it.
Many initiatives and foundations have been created to spread awareness on this issue that often goes unnoticed or even worse, undiscussed. The Urban Twist’s own Melony Hill launched her own initiative, Stronger than my Struggles, documenting and using her own struggles and ways of coping to shine a light on the issues hoping that it inspires others to do the same.
Baltimore psychiatrist duo Lauren Capel and Tierra Sydnor-Diggs started their own practice of touring and educating the Baltimore community on the perils of not addressing these problems that we know we all have had at times, and how going untreated in the mind can literally make your body break down and become sick. In severe cases, if mental illnesses go untreated it can, or will kill you.
Although this is an extremely serious topic, oftentimes to reach the masses, sometimes a little comedy is needed or can be the right approach to touch someone gently while delicately addressing issues that are often times considered taboo within the black community.
Film and television producer Sade Oyinade and her team, producers Deshawn Plair, Dior Allen and Darryl Blalock, have developed a situation comedy that they hope will bring some levity to this serious topic while also changing the narrative around it, and creating some much-needed dialog.
This comedy series centers on two 20-something African American male psychotherapists and their journey through opening a new practice in the heart of a Black neighborhood.
These two childhood friends will struggle through the day-to-day challenges of starting a new practice, balance their polar opposite styles, and deal with their own personal demons while working to gain the trust of their community and encourage them to utilize mental health services.
Headspace’s production team came together after working on short film Yemi’s Dilemma together and wanting to produce something that would have an impact on the Black community. The subject of mental health and therapy came up and they decided to do a comedy that had two black men as therapist opening a practice in the heart of a black community and their efforts to get the community to utilize therapy.
“I’ve been to therapy myself, having dealt with depression and anxiety and we all felt this was an important topic to dive into because there’s so much stigma surrounding it in communities of color,” states Oyinade.
“We collectively realized through different experiences that this is an important topic that doesn’t get enough attention. Also, we felt that one reason some black people, especially black men, may not seek therapy is that they don’t see someone who looks like them offering mental health services,” Oyinade also adds.
HeadSpace wants to change the narrative completely. There are plenty of African American men and women who work as psychotherapists but we don’t see them reflected on screen, especially Black men. And by offering this in a way that people can easily digest, which is through comedy, they’re hoping that people will truly recognize therapy’s importance.
“This issue is one so many people have encountered either personally or through a family member or friend so that’s another reason why we felt it would resonate with a lot of people.”
Sade Oyinade is a writer, producer, and director most known for her work producing the award-winning docu-series “Unsung”. Deshawn Plair recently co-produced Nate Parker’s upcoming digital series “Baselines”. Dior Allen is an actor and comedic character performer who created the sold-out comedy show “90’s Sitcom Live on Stage: The Woke Version”, currently touring the west coast. Darryl Blalock is an actor and writer best known for his roles on the popular Black & Sexy TV series “Sexless” and “Chef Julian”.
HeadSpace has launched a campaign on IndieGoGo hoping to raise $25,000, which will go into the production of the series. You can check out a brief clip and more info about the campaign below.