Editor's note: Mental Health Musings (MHM) will focus on community resources and stories throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing protests against police brutality.
Trauma weaves itself into the mundane — the abuse disguised as love, the bills left unpaid, the barren fridge, the eviction notice, the mountains of empty beer cans, the dunes of prescription pill bottles, the child that died during birth or the child who survived only to flitch at the touch of another.
The Healing Hub of New York opened its doors November 2 to help those in Western New York heal from trauma.
The Amherst facility provides a myriad of workshops to address and heal different traumas.
It took Western New York native Kelly Whitfield four decades to understand how her childhood trauma at the hands of her adoptive parents intertwined itself in her daily decisions.
“For 40 years, I was like God, kill me or fix me,” she said. “I went through life triggered and trying to run, but didn’t know what I was running from.”
Whitfield battled her addiction, her anxiety, and her trauma for all those years — but it wasn’t until she could confront her adoptive mother, her abuser, that she could finally begin healing.
“I wanted to help others heal even though I wasn’t healed, that’s all I wanted,” Whitfield said.
It took her one year and one month to build a grassroots volunteer-based center to help others starting with food drives on the same corner in Buffalo where she used to buy drugs.
The Healing Hub of New York, 210 John Glenn Drive, Suite #3, aims to be that change by providing a safe and nonjudgmental space that offers a myriad of different workshops to address the root causes of trauma.
An extensive body of research shows that traumatic experiences are linked with both negative behavioral and physical health conditions, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The Amherst facility offers workshops that range from music and art to finances and breast feeding classes.
Untreated behavioral health conditions like substance use or depression, anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can negatively impact careers, relationships, and stability.
Each workshop addresses different ways that trauma can impact someone’s life — from the healing that art and music can offer, to safe spaces for at-risk teens, to helping mothers learn to breastfeed and to helping people in domestic violence relationships heal, to having more financial empowerment.
Whitfield is the proud mother of two sons and when she speaks of them, she speaks of giving them a better life than she had, of giving them an inheritance of kindness instead of the trauma she knows.
“The reason I’m doing this is because this cycle stops with me,” Whitfield said. “I want that gift for everybody, I want everyone to be a cycle breaker, I want healing through our communities, I want empowerment through our communities.”
In addition to the workshops, The Healing Hub of New York also does food drives every Friday at 2 p.m. on E. Utica and Main from 12 -2 p.m. and downtown on Saturday at 2 p.m.
To find out more about The Healing Hub of New York visit www.healinghubny.org.