Plano business owner Vontoba Terry wants to spread mental health awareness around the holiday season. Terry promotes wellness and self-care by removing the stigma around mental health, especially for people of color.
“I think it starts with identifying why there is a stigma,” Terry said in an official statement. “Oftentimes, black people I know find themselves in situations where they have to be strong for their families and communities and do more. Things need to work out, and that creates a lot of pressure to hide what might be perceived as a weakness. Mental health issues cannot be addressed if one is moving too quickly in order to survive.”
Terry, co-founder of Black brand Urban Hydration, is using his platform and business to share about the importance of mental health for Black men. He believes that taking good care of the body is the first step in healing the mind. Terry and his business partner and wife Psyche want to share the importance of self-care following the death of dancer Steven “tWitch” boss.
“We’ve followed tWitch from the early days of his career and even more recently with his amazing performance with his wife in The Hip-Hop Nutcracker,” Terry said in a statement. “I just wish he had the chance to make a difference. Choose, and get the help and support he needs to move on. His death is heartbreaking and his family is on my mind. Our primary care providers and doctors should be asking us questions about mental health and providing Excellent mental health resource.”
Business owners also want to bring the topic of mental health into all areas of life to show that everyone experiences struggles and individuals should not be afraid to talk about it.
Terry and his wife were heavily in debt when they started their business, and he was under a lot of pressure as a father, husband and business owner. He explained that he has experienced his own struggles with anxiety but has found ways to overcome it through therapy, prayer and reflection.
“I now understand how important it is not to allow business success or financial success to be part of my identity,” Terry said. “Whether the business succeeds or fails, I still have a responsibility to be a great father and husband, have great advisors around me, and make the best decisions possible.”
To emphasize the importance of men’s self-care, the Terrys have launched the Black Men’s Mental Health Kit, which includes Castor & Shea Face Wash, Castor & Shea Face Wash and Aloe Vera Toner. Proceeds from these products will go towards its WATERisLIFE program, which provides safe drinking water to those in need.