Milwaukee social worker merges music and mental health with 'Trap Therapy'

NOW: Milwaukee social worker merges music and mental health with ’Trap Therapy’

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Social Worker in Milwaukee is working to end the stigma and debunk myths surrounding mental health in under-served communities.

As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to an end, CBS 58's Tajma Hall sits down with Tarsha Wiggins to discuss how she's sparking change with her interactive 'Trap Therapy' events.

Trap Therapy is a free community event that merges music and mental health. The environment is fun and creates a safe place for some tough conversations. Trap music is a popular subgenre of hip-hop music. Trap Therapy events include a DJ to spin some of the latest tunes to get people feeling comfortable.

Trap Therapy events are supported by various community organizations including the City of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention.

Wiggins is continuing her mission through her own organization called Speak Wellness.

"Speak Wellness is my little love child. It's an organization that I started that's aimed at doing two things. Reducing the stigma around mental illness in the Black and Brown communities," said Wiggins.

Statistically, communities of color experience mental health issues like anxiety and depression at higher rates than other races but are less likely to seek help. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, less than 10% of Black people who are dealing with a mental health issue get help.

Wiggins says the growing issue of violence in the community has a major impact on mental health, creating trauma that often goes unnoticed.

"Often times what is considered to be trauma are things that we've grown accustomed to. It's normal to hear gunshots, to experience, violence, to experience death…," said Wiggins.

Wiggins hopes to spread the word that it's okay not to be okay and it's crucial to seek help.

"Our suicide rates are the highest among our Black adolescents and I think that’s alarming and speaks to specific components of the pandemic like isolation, lack of social emotional development, increased use of technology and social media interaction," said Wiggins.

Trap Therapy events are geared towards all ages and give people the opportunity to dance through the pain while tackling the inner issues firsthand. Attendees walk away with valuable tools to help with coping skills.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, Trap Therapy events were held for youth and another for women.

Wiggins says Milwaukee can't heal until its people learn to heal themselves. She's striving to continue leading the charge towards peace of mind for all.

"In everything I do, it's about leaving your mark but effecting change," said Wiggins.

For more information on Trap Therapy and Speak Wellness click here.

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