By: Isaiah S. Showell, Follow South Jersey Multimedia Journalist/’What’s Good’ Host
BRIDGETON, N.J. – Arthur Fletcher, head of the United Negro College Fund in 1944, once said, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says in America anxiety disorder is the most common mental health concern with 7% of children from as young as 3 to as old as 17 experiencing issues with anxiety. Dr. Amanda Nnachetam is the director of Brighter Paths nonprofit and she’s willing to help battle anxiety for the youth specifically in Bridgeton.
“I’ve been working at Bridgeton public schools for 15 years, and what I’ve noticed is that the things that I would deal with my students I can see cycles in their family,” said Nnachetam.
According to anxietycentre.com, 30% of adults either don’t seek help, are misdiagnosed, or are unaware they have issues with anxiety. Nnachetam wants to serve as a bridge to help the city of Bridgeton address mental health issues with her Brighter Paths non-profit equipped with mental health services that sometimes are not prioritized.
“I know what it feels like to be a child of divorce, and I know what it feels like to be a child of my mother marrying a Vietnam war veteran,” said Nnachetam. “I got to see first-hand what mental health looks like. What I’m good at is taking care of people. What moves my heart is loving the unlovely.”
Brighter Paths’ specific objectives are to provide access to free community based mental health and wellness through workshops, health fairs, etc. Brighter Paths also provides mentorship opportunities for urban youth from ages 5 to 18. One of the people who benefitted from Brighter Paths is Taviaus Wilson who now serves for the non-profit.
“I don’t know where I’d be to be honest if I never met her,” said Wilson. “She’s been a person I’ve been able to talk to and be the real me with, and that’s just by her listening.”
Brighter Paths can be reached at BPNJ.org and would love more community engagement so that the city of Bridgeton takes their mental health and the youth’s mental health seriously while simultaneously reducing anxiety.
“Dealing with people with mental health usually puts people out on the fringes,” said Nnachetam. “I want to be the repairer of the breach that brings you back to your family, to yourself, and to your community because you’re an asset.”
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