Name: Aja Owens
Poetry or Stage Name: Aja La’Starr
Activism: The areas of social justice that I mostly concentrate on is homelessness, education and LGBTQ issues. Mental Health innovation right now is really at the intersection of these communities. I believe that everyone has the right to have access to basic necessities such as: food, shelter, water, education, clothing and healthcare. Most of the outreach that I participate in supports those different areas of social justice.
Peer Support: I use my poetry, music and books to share relatable experiences with the community so they can know they are not the only ones dealing with adversity. My artistry typically allows the community to open up and engage with one another about depression and other mental health topics that many people struggle with day to day. My favorite part of working with Poetry for Personal Power is supporting other young artists as they learn how to do mental health innovation in ways that solves real issues. Not everyone listens to what our communities need.
Gigs: I would like to be booked for gigs at homeless shelters, juvenile detention centers and any type of educational institution (elementary schools, middle/high schools, colleges, vocational/technical schools, etc.) I would love to talk about mental health innovation and why you need to talk to minority communities if you are going to succeed at building something useful.
Perfectly crafted, we are all unique
From the top of our heads, to the sole of our feet
Perhaps, you are self-conscious, but, you shouldn’t be
When there is a God who took time to carve out who you would be
From your lips, to your hips, from you eyes to your thighs
From the way your body sways, to the elements that comprise who you are
We are all stars in our own right
But, we must see this image with our own sight
Because we look in the mirror and see imperfections
But, God looks at us and see a perfect reflection
A perfect selection, so perhaps it is true
That there is really not a thing wrong with you
So own who you are, because you know that you are hot
And you lack not a thing
So rock what you got!
Health Care Activism: Mental Health Innovation
What I would like to tell the Recovery Movement: I would like to encourage health activists and all advocates to listen to the people. Listen to their stories and their struggles. In listening, I believe we can truly find real solutions to assist everyday people in living healthier, productive lives. Mental Health innovation is not doing things the same they have been done for 30 years. It’s time for some new ideas.
Health Insurance Success Story: A few years ago, I signed up to receive free health insurance and was able to go to the clinic more regularly. At the time, I was unemployed so that was a lot of stress off of me since I did not have to worry about how to do even the basic things like have a co-pay. The healthcare industry can sometimes make it very difficult for people to get the care they need, so that was a time when I felt secure with the healthcare system.
Aja’s Infographic: How to increase Mental Health innovation: Listen to the advocates.1