Healthline Live City Hall: Mental health in focus

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“When a young person, depression appeared to me in fatigue, loss of interest, my grades dropped … I got an official diagnosis in my 30s.” – Michelle Williams

You know, the thing about mental health is that it’s an equal opportunist – it does not discriminate. ” – Jewel

To see more honest moments with our celebrities and expert guests, click the play button now to see our entire program. For video with closed caption, please register and watch here on BrightTALK.

This program was broadcast live on May 25, 2021

Nearly one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illness. This number is rising in the wake of the year we have just experienced. Mental problems can take many forms and affect people from all walks of life. If you or someone you care about is living with a mental illness, you are not alone.

Sign up for for Mental Health in Focus, a virtual event in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Our guests include artists, entertainers, journalists, and advocates, each telling a personal story of their mental health journey through books, broadcasts, or foundations that promote public discourse.

Mental Health Advocate Guests

Taraji P. Henson, actor, writer, producer and director

Taraji P. Henson is an Oscar nominee, a Golden Globe winner and the star of the award-winning film Hidden figures and Fox’s hit drama empire. In addition to her performances as an actress, writer and producer, she is a vocal advocate for mental health. In 2018, Taraji founded The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to destigmatize mental illness in African American society, provide mental health support in urban schools, and increase the number of culturally competent therapists in the field. She is the author of a memoir, Around the Road girl.

Jewel, Singer-Songwriter and Author

Jewel is a singer-songwriter, producer, actress, writer and poet. She has received four Grammy Award nominations and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. In addition, Jewel is an advocate for mental health and mindfulness if New York Times best-selling memoir Never ruined chronicle of how her hard work, cruelty, and grace enabled her to survive and thrive from the extreme circumstances of her youth. Through her Never Broken program at the Inspiring Children Foundation, she helps revolutionize mental health education for vulnerable youth.

Michelle Williams, singer, actress and author

Michelle Williams is a Grammy Award-winning artist and actress who rose to stardom as a member of the R&B mega-group Destiny’s Child, and most recently appeared as the hit series Butterfly on Fox The masked singer. Michelle is an advocate for mental health and empowerment and is an ambassador for the Office of Women’s Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she promotes awareness of maintaining optimal physical and mental health through nutrition, exercise and proper medication care. In her forthcoming book, Checking in, Michelle shares the intimate, never-before-told story of how, even in the midst of immense fame and success, she battled depression, which led her to find her true calling as an advocate for mental health – especially her own.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent

ABC / Heidi Gutman

For the last 9 years, Dr. Ashton reported for ABC News on the biggest medical and health stories. Before joining ABC News, Dr. Ashton senior medical correspondent for CBS News and appeared on The early show and CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Dr. Ashton received his medical degree from Columbia University, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and his post-graduate degree in women’s health and surgery at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. Dr. Ashton’s book Life after suicide tells of her journey in the wake of her ex-husband and her daughters father taking his own life.

Bershan Shaw, TV personality, motivational speaker and business coach

Bershan Shaw was not born a warrior. She became one. Life coach, motivational speaker, multifaceted entrepreneur and twice breast cancer survivor, Bershan has dedicated his life to helping others embrace their inner warriors during life’s most difficult journeys. Bershan recently debuted as the latest cast in season 13 of Real Housewives in New York Town.

Dan Harris, ABC News Correspondent and Co-Anchor

ABC / Heidi Gutman

Dan Harris is a co-anchor in ABC News Nightline and the weekend editions of Good morning America. He is a correspondent for ABC News and reports regularly for 20/20 and everyday issues of Good morning America. Dan is also an advocate for mental health awareness with his bestselling book 10% happier, a true story of his journey through worlds of spirituality and self-help, and his discovery of a truly sustainable way to become happier. He pursued this quest after having a live panic attack in the air.

Wilma Mae Basta, Founder at DRK Beauty

Wilma Mae Basta is originally a Philly native, mother of two and daughter of a civil rights leader. In 2017, she founded DRK Beauty, a digital platform for wellness and mental health that helps colored women discover and design their own unique wellness journey. Through DRK Beauty Healing, the organization provides free therapy to colored women throughout the United States.

Healthline Moderators

Erin Petersen-Edge, Editor-in-Chief of

Erin Petersen-Edge oversees’s team of 200+ writers and editors, producing articles and videos for America’s # 1 most visited digital health and wellness brand. Erin is a recent Bay Area transplant to the Boston area.

Faye McCray, Editor-in-Chief of

Faye McCray, Editor-in-Chief of, a Healthline Media brand and leading destination for mental health content. Faye is also a writer and former health care attorney and attorney. She is based in the Washington, DC area.


Steve Swasey, Healthline Media Vice President of Communications

Steve Swasey oversees external communications for Healthline Media, the # 1 digital health publisher whose brands include,, and Steve is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Every month, Healthline Media publishes more than 1,000 evidence-based and medically approved articles and videos.

This live event is only part of the consumer experience, TRANSFORM: Health Equity. This experience gives our audience space to explore personal stories and innovative new tools for inspirational education, advocacy and action – today. Help create change through education and conversation. Learn more here.

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