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Mental Health



The Sickle Cell Mental Health Initiative was created by the warriors, caregivers and providers of the Sickle Cell Community Consortium.  Awareness, education and de-stigmatization of mental illness, along with the procurement of mental health resources, was identified as a top priority during the 2016 Leadership Summit & General Assembly of Patients Caregivers, and CBOs.  

This platform is a work in progress…

We, the sickle cell patients and caregivers, are building this platform to address patient/caregiver-identified mental health needs and concerns.  All sickle cell warriors, caregivers, CBOs and mental health providers and experts are invited to join us as we navigate the battlefield of the warrior mind!  

  • If you are a sickle cell patient or caregiver and wish to be part of the core team of architects building this platform, please reach out to sickle cell warrior and mental health expert, Clayton Andrews  
  • If you are a trained, mental health provider, life coach, or other certified representative of the mental health community, and wish to work with us on this platform or host a open call session, please complete this form and connect with Dr. Gayle Rogers or Jewel Darbone


Collectively, we will work to curate existing mental health resources,.  We will identify any gaps from the patient/caregiver perspective, identify barriers to access to mental health care, and provide education and develop a campaign focused on de-stigmatizing mental health in minority communities.

  1. Create online mental health resources clearinghouse
  2. Identify resource gaps
  3. Identify and define barriers to access
  4. Create mental health education and awareness campaign with a focus on de-stigmatization.      



Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is described by the National Institute of Mental Health as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event”. A 2007 evaluation of 11 children living with sickle cell disease and their caregivers determined that a significant number of these children and their parents experienced multiple symptoms commonly associated with PTSD. In parents, these findings were not correlated with the severity of illness, but instead to feelings of powerlessness over the child’s illness.

  1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajh.20722/pdf
  2. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml



African American men are as likely as anyone else to have mental illness, but they are less likely to get help. Depression and other mental illness can be deadly if left untreated. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among African Americans 15 to 24 years old. Untreated mental illness can also make African American men more vulnerable to substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration, and homicide.

  1. Brother, you’re on my mind: https://www.nimhd.nih.gov/programs/edu-training/byomm/index.html
  2. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health/index.shtml


  1.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2594635/pdf/jnma00311-0027.pdf
  2.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18158366





  1.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/pbc.20792



  1.  Black Communities & Mental Health: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/african-american-mental-health
  2.  Disparities Within Minorities Mental Health Care: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/July-2017/Disparities-Within-Minority-Mental-Health-Care
  3.  Minorities and Mental Health: Moving Beyond Stigma: https://nimhd.blogs.govdelivery.com/2017/07/13/minorities-and-mental-health-moving-beyond-stigma/
  4.  Brother, you’re on my mind: https://www.nimhd.nih.gov/programs/edu-training/byomm/index.html



NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, comprised of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers, dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness by raising awareness and providing support and education to those in need.  https://www.nami.org/


A NAMI resource guide for those experiencing a mental health crisis. https://tinyurl.com/NAVIGATING-MENTAL-HEALTH


Mental Health America (MHA) is dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness, driven by a commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it, with recovery as the goal.  Before Stage Four: Mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process #B4stage4 http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/



Project LETS is a national 501(c)(3) grassroots organization led by and for folks with lived experience of mental illness, disability, trauma, & neurodivergence. We establish peer-led communities of advocacy & support; produce resources and educational materials; and aim to protect the civil and human rights of mentally ill folks through policy change — especially those who experience multiple forms of oppression and therefore are rendered especially vulnerable.


Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. So often the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy prevent Black women from taking the step of seeing a therapist. I developed the space to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant. https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/therapist-directory/



BEHAVIORAL HEALTH TREATMENT SERVICES LOCATOR:  https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

GLBT National Hotline: 888-843-4564

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs: 212-714-1141(English and Spanish)

GLBT National Youth Talkline: 800-246-7743

DeHQ: LGBTQ Helpline for South Asians: 908-367-3374  



Rosemary Britts

Rosemary Britts enjoys helping others and takes every opportunity in life to do just that.  She is a happily married mother of five children, ages 7 to 27. Her oldest daughter lives with sickle cell disease (SS) which gives her a natural passion for bringing awareness of the disease to the forefront.

Rosemary is the Executive Director of Sickle Cell Association, a nonprofit that she founded November 2011.  This was a move prompted by the lack of a community-based organization for sickle cell and the fact that her oldest child is living with the disease.

Rosemary has obtained her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.  She is a devoted choir member at her church – Christ Temple Family Church – as well as a member of the Professional Women’s Group of Connections to Success for which she serves on the leadership team.  Rosemary is a member of the American Red Cross Charles Drew Advisory and Planning Committees and has volunteered as a wish granter for the Make A Wish Foundation as a way to give back after her daughter’s wish was granted.

Rosemary also finds time to “Empower Women” and thrives on helping save the lives of women as a consultant with Nspire Network.

Rosemary Britts  – Founder & Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Association

Jew-EL Darbone

Jew-EL Darbone is a 29yr old sickle cell warrior dedicated to sickle cell advocacy and empowerment. She is one of the founders and CFO of   501c3 Nonprofit organization #Boldlipsforsicklecell. #Boldlipsforsicklecell started as a social media awareness challenge for sickle cell disease, it has now turned into a full fledge organization that hosts various events within the community. #BLFSC encourages all sickle cell warriors to Be Bold and Speak Up about sickle cell as well as empowering them to live bold fulfilling lives. As a social media consultant Jew-EL’s dedication to sickle cell awareness, advocacy and empowerment will not stop. She is very vocal about the mental health issues she faces daily. She has been apart of mental health panels as well as using social media to advocate and help change the narrative surrounding mental health. Jew-EL is dedicated to making her sickle cell community better in every way.

Dr. Lakiea Bailey

Dr. Lakiea Bailey is a sickle cell disease advocate, educator and research scientist.  Diagnosed with sickle cell disease at age three, she has become a passionate advocate for those living with rare diseases and is committed to serving as a voice of encouragement and empowerment within the sickle cell community.

Despite the devastating symptoms of sickle cell, Dr. Bailey was determined to complete her educational goals, earning a Bachelor degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2001 and a Doctorate degree in Molecular Hematology and Regenerative Medicine in 2012. During the course of her education, Dr. Bailey was named a Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholar, was the recipient of multiple honors and awards, including the Fisher Scientific

Award for Overall Excellence in Biomedical Research, the Medical College of Georgia Alumni Association Award, the Georgia Reagents University Leadership Award and was inducted in the Alpha Upsilon Phi honor society.  She believes that through hard work, diligence, patience and faith, even the seemingly most impossible obstacles can be overcome.

As part of her doctoral training, Dr. Bailey conducted research into the molecular mechanisms involved in the induction and regulation of the gamma globin gene.  AT the conclusion of the project she published a first author publication implicating cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in gamma globin expression in patients with beta-thalassemia.  It was during this time that Dr. Bailey also entered into the world of advocacy.  She was one of the founding board of directors for the Family Advocacy Coalition for the Empowerment of the Sickle Cell Disease Community (FACE of SCD) and the founding vice president of Sickle Cell Warriors, Inc., serving as science advisor for both. She was a frequent guest and resource advisor for What’z Da Count on Sickle Cell Trait BlogTalk radio show and made multiple trips to Capitol Hill where she advocated for an increase in research funding and visibility with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA).

At the completion of her doctorate training, Dr. Bailey founded and began working as the Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Community Consortium, a coordinated network of sickle cell community-based organizations (CBOs), patient and caregiver advocates, community partners and healthcare/research advisors.  The Consortium functions as an organizing entity allowing this diverse group of stakeholders to identify, prioritize, develop and execute solutions for patient-identified needs and gaps within the sickle cell community.  Dr. Bailey also serves as a contract consultant with bluebird bio, has served as a patient engagement expert with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and sits on the Research Advisory Board for the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research.  Dr. Bailey enjoys traveling across the nation promoting sickle cell awareness.  Her goal is to provide a platform to harness and amplify the power of the patient voice, ensuring that the sickle cell patient and caregiver takes a leadership role in research, policy, advocacy, legislation and education.

Dr. Gayle Rogers



Dr. Gayle Rogers is founder and president of Forever Free, Inc., & A.C.E. Network, a coaching for empowerment group located in Dana Point. California. In the ministry arena, her primary focus is equipping, coaching and training leaders to facilitate wholeness and healing, while carrying a Kingdom message to the nations. Dr. Gayle leads conferences nationally and internationally with a strong apostolic/prophetic and healing anointing.

In addition to her worldwide traveling ministry activities, Dr. Rogers is a mental health professional with a Master’s Degree in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies. Her focus is integrating a clinical therapeutic approach, using cognitive behavioral therapy and a spiritual discipline. Dr. Gayle’s primary goal is to bridge the gap between spiritual and psychological modalities. Her clinical expertise includes posttraumatic stress disorder, depression/anxiety issues, personality disorders, sexual trauma, and domestic violence. She focuses on mind/brain/body healing through her extensive training of how to practically change toxic thought patterns, ridding the body and mind of toxic emotional trauma. After years of scientific research, Dr. Gayle believes as much as 90 to 95% of illness is directly related to issues plaguing the mind. Her practice includes individual and group therapy, teleconferencing, and Skype/web-based therapy.

She and her husband Ed of 35 years have three daughters and seven grandchildren. She has authored several books, including the most recent, The Whole Soul– Rescripting Your Life for Personal Transformation. This book focuses on embracing your authentic identity, and changing mindsets with the authority to take control over negative thought patterns. Dr. Gayle is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor through American Association of Christian Counselors, a certified “Train the Trainer” through the University of Oklahoma, and has previously been a certified clinical treatment specialist in both domestic violence and sexual offense.

Dr. Gayle is an apostolic/prophetic intercessor and serves as Consultant and Team Director with AIN, a professional marketplace intercessory group, serving clients in seven countries. In addition, she is a member of several ministry networks, including International Breakthrough Ministries, Dallas TX, & A.P.E.C.T. Network, Columbia SC. Dr. Gayle is a former Executive Council member of Kingdom Congressional International Alliance (KCIA), and International Society of Deliverance Ministers.  

Clayton Andrews

Clayton Andrews is a 35-year-old patient with Sickle Cell Disease, residing in Augusta GA. A husband and father of four, Clayton is an LAPC and graduate from Troy University with a Master of Science in Counseling and Psychology. His primary focus is the enablement and development of self-sufficiency, development and growth of mental health. Clayton is the Chair and co-founder of the Sickle Cell Champions Association, a mentoring organization geared and designed for the guidance and empowerment of young males with Sickle Cell Disease into their transition into adulthood. Clayton’s ultimate objective is to become a positive influence and mentor to his peers in the Sickle Cell Community and advocating for young males with this disease. Clayton has seven years of combined experience as a Child Protection Investigator and Child Advocacy Coordinator. As a Forensic Behavioral Health Counselor, he is accountable for providing guidance and facilitating behavioral health practice for clients facing criminal issues. He is currently in the process of obtaining his licensure as a counselor, as well as pursuing his Doctorate to further expand his effectiveness. He and his wife of eight years have three daughters, all of whom have Sickle Cell Trait and an 12-year-old son. Additionally, Clayton is certified in the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) for mental health wellness, recovery and maintenance and is also a member of the Walden University Psi Chi Chapter. Clayton’s works include his involvement in the S.C.C.A. “Mentoring Workshop” in August 2016, Panel Presentation of the “Safety Response System, Phase I” for Georgia Department of Human Services in 2013 and self-designed training presentation of “The Proper Acquisition and Assessment of Safety Resources in Child Protective Services (2010).”


Join the Sickle Cell Consortium and Medicate Your Mind Bookclub on the 31 Day Mental Wellness Challenge.
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