LOS ANGELES — A group of young women came together during National Mental Health Awareness month to create a safe space to talk.
The Sad Girls Club hiked in Griffith Park for the first in-person event in a year to discuss mental health among women of color.
Founder Elyse Fox created the group in 2017 to address sadness in a safe space.
“I have depression and anxiety and for a long time I didn’t have a support system around me and I was complaining about something that didn’t exist,” Fox said. “I was like why should I complain when I can just create something.”
She created regular opportunities for women to come together and talk about their emotional struggles and find resources when they are feeling depressed.
“Mental health is an everyday thing that you have to look out for,” Fox said. “If we can incorporate it into things that we already enjoy doing, then I just really want to give our community the skills to thrive and strive especially post pandemic.”
The pandemic has been an isolating time for club member Antoinette Dormer-Whitman, who is also starting her own business. Anxiety from both of those experiences can make her feel sad.
“I get sad a lot and the fight from identifying sadness to why I’m sad is a fight that I’m committed to within myself,” Dormer-Whitman said. “The journey is what I’ll say. Not a fight.”
Her friend Ashleigh Tucker wanted to join the hike after continuously hearing reports of Black men and women being killed.
“Watching the world turn as it does is scary. Period. How can you not be sad?” Tucker said.
Dormer-Whitman said stepping through sadness and a sisterhood makes her more confident that she can fight her feelings.
“The biggest thing for me is fighting through the sadness that those narratives that makes me feel like I can’t,” Dormer-Whitman said. “That's probably like the biggest fight for me. Just actually believing and knowing that I’m capable of doing anything.”
Sad Girls Club meets quarterly and has international events.