Inspiring People

Public Relations Guru, Author and Mental Health Advocate, Terrie Williams

Terrie Williams

Terrie M. Williams is a licensed clinical social worker, and founder of The Terrie Williams Agency, which is one of the country's most successful African-American public relations and communications firms, and has handled some of the biggest names in entertainment, sports, business and politics. Through her Stay Strong Foundation, she has launched the national mental health advocacy campaign "Healing Starts With Us." A best-selling author of four books, including her latest, entitled BLACK PAIN: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting (Scribner), Terrie is committed to guiding people in deep emotional pain onto a path of healing.

Terrie has been recognized by numerous awards including The Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural & Minority Medicine's 2006 Eagle Fly Free Award for her work as a depression survivor, and The New York Women in Communications Matrix Award in Public Relations—the first woman of color to receive this award in the award's 70-year history.

Terrie has a B.A. (cum laude) in Psychology and Sociology from Brandeis University, and an M.S. in Social Work from Columbia University.

October is Mental Health Awareness Month and in an effort to draw attention to the importance of mental health, recognizing the signs and understanding the available resources, I am revisiting an inspiring conversation with Public Relations Expert and Mental Healthcare Advocate, Terrie Williams.

Terrie issues a wake up call:

What I know is that suppression and oppression lead to depression.

Stories That Heal

How do you wake up a community? How do you help the acknowledge something that has been ignored for generations? How do you bring the hidden issue of mental health into the light?

One story at a time...

Welcome to Stories That Heal, a website for people living with mental health problems—and their friends and family. You'll find real-life stories and resources to help in the recovery process. It's time for us to stand up and support our loved ones who struggle with mental health problems. Together, the healing will begin.

Click here to visit Stories That Heal and learn more.

We inherit the pain of our parents and our forefathers, pain that just does not get talked about and resolved. There are childhood wounds and scars that we never get a chance to speak about and then there are the every day slights that we experience as adults. Because we are all moving at such rapid paces with so many demands on our time, we never take the time to process all of this. All of this, not treated leads to self destruction.

So many people are walking down the street as pressure cookers with no way to let off steam. If there is no one to talk to, we just hold things in and then that becomes illness and disease. Or we let it out in unconstructive ways -- we hurt and kill, self medicate, gamble, do drugs, shop when we don't have money -- all of this are ways to ease the pain, creating new issues all together. Many people think there is something wrong but because no one is sure of the signs and because no one speaks about it, we don't really deal with it. I just wanted, in very everyday accessible language, to say "This is what it looks like, and feels like and sounds like." When we know better we do better.

We each have to share our story with someone else because that is where there is power to transform another's life. Too many people are walking around with their game face on, passing for normal so everybody thinks they are the only one going through something.

Everyone is going through something. When you interact with someone at work or with someone in your family or with a friend, and you experience tension or flair ups, nine times out of ten it has nothing to do with that moment. If we understood more about who we are as human beings, if we were more up front about our frailties, my suspicion is that we would have more compassion for one another.

Be your best self! Get past the issues that hold you back!

My hope is that we will begin to understand ourselves and be empowered to become the best that we can be...

Thanks Terrie!

BLACK PAIN: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting


From Publisher's Weekly:

Black Power masks Black Pain, says Williams, a social worker and founder of a successful public relations firm. Back when black was beautiful, we felt comfortable in our dark skin and 'nappy' hair. Decades later, that sense of pride has morphed into bling that hides the pain of poverty and racism. The result has been depression expressed through violence, addiction, suicide as well as obesity and hypertension. The stoicism blacks are taught in order to not appear weak in the eyes of other black people only leads to denial and isolation. Williams argues persuasively that blacks are not alone. She begins with her own tribulations with depression. From there, she examines how depression is expressed by black men, women and children, and shares the stories of scores of others: rich, poor, successful, incarcerated. This liberal insertion of case reports coupled with a plethora of block quotes can bog down the text. However, Williams is dedicated to convincing her fellow African-Americans that assistance is readily available, whether through counseling, medicine or self-help: [T]here is no need for you to suffer alone or in silence. Help is out there.

"Black Pain is just the conversation starter that we need to begin tackling the taboo topic of depression. Out of the discussion comes the healing." - Tavis Smiley, Author, Television Personality and Radio Host

"Black Pain is an immensely readable and down-to-earth book. It will motivate black people who suffer with depression in silence to seek help. This book shines a bright light on the darkness of despair" - Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

"Black Pain shines a spotlight on the issue, getting the message out that we must identify, understand, and seek the help we need to heal." - Danny Glover, Actor/Activist

"It boldly confronts the reality of our pain head on, flowing like hot lyrics over the perfect beat." - Sean "Diddy" Combs

"Black Pain shows us that it is time that we all talk about our depression and fight with the same vigor that we fight to achieve racial justice." - Charles Ogletree

"Black Pain shows us how to recognize that depression that may be hidden away and deal with it. It pushes us to give a voice to the pain without passing it on to others." - Patti LaBelle

"Terrie dares to bring out what so many have not had the courage to confront, having learned that you can never heal until you expose what hurts you. Black Pain is an opportunity to reach your breakthrough moment." - Rev. Al Sharpton

"The racism, the struggle, the feelings of hopelessness-it hurts like hell. Black Pain shows us why we are dying in the streets." - Jamie Hector, actor, The Wire

"Black Pain takes a candid and in-depth look at depression in black America. The book provides hope to those who battle with the disease and offers an understanding for the friends and loved ones who care for them. I highly recommend this book." - Bishop T.D. Jakes, Senior Pastor, The Potter's House

Click here to buy BLACK PAIN today.

For more information about BLACK PAIN or Terrie M. Williams, visit or email
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