The Child Development Council of Franklin County Inc. will sponsor a roundtable discussion titled "Identifying Depression in African-American Women."

The event will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 26 at the council's offices, 300 E. Spring St.

It is free and open to the public, although those attending are asked to register, said Staci Kitchen, vice president of human resources for the early childhood education agency that provides Head Start services to more than 200 children and families throughout central Ohio.

The event is part of Minority Health Month programs throughout Ohio during April. It is funded by a grant from the Ohio Commission on Mental Health, Kitchen said.

"We were looking internally at ways to enhance our staff health and wellness," Kitchen said regarding the origins of the roundtable. "Stress and some mental-health issues have begun to be identified in terms of concerns that the staff has, things they felt needed to be addressed."

Depression among African-American women is a real problem, but it has not received a great deal of attention, according to an article on Healthyplaces.com. The article says this is due to the fact that African-American women "may not seek treatment for their depression, may be misdiagnosed, or may withdraw from treatment because their ethnic, cultural, and/or gender needs have not been met."

Panelists for the roundtable will include Christina Thorpe, a licensed social worker; Dr. Lewis Dodley, a retired therapist now working with the IMPACT Program; and Achea Redd, founder of what she calls on her website the "lifestyle brand and movement" Real Girls F.A.R.T.

It stands for Fearless, Authentic, Rescuer and Trailblazer.

Redd gave a presentation at the Karl Road branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library on March 22.

Her audience of primarily middle and high school students heard encouraging words from the 37-year-old mother of two and gained insight into her experiences with depression.

About 18 months ago, Redd told her audience, she began suffering from anxiety and feeling "super nervous." She became depressed and even had suicidal thoughts.

That was followed by a breast-cancer scare.

"I didn't know what was going to happen, and that just sent me into a tailspin," Redd said.

It turned out to be a false alarm, but that sent her to seek treatment from a therapist for her anxiety disorder, and that in turn led to creation of Real Girls F.A.R.T.

"It was like a light bulb went off," Redd said.

She realized that women, and especially African-American women, are taught to be strong and not to talk about depression and anxiety.

"I've been through it all," Redd said. "Starting this is what saved my life. It's what gives me a reason for waking up every day."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1