The Stress Free Experience offered free yoga class to promote mental health. Photo by Jackie Rae.

May was Mental Health Awareness month, but Antwoine Gant is doing what he can to make sure mental health awareness becomes a daily practice.

Gant hopes to address the stigma mental health issues often have in the Black community— a goal that came shortly after his mom died as a result of mental and other health issues. Gant says far too often, expressing a mental need in the Black community results in “being weak or, you know, you’re just not strong-willed of a person to endure certain situations. And it’s not necessarily that. It’s just some people handle situations differently than others.”

To honor his mother’s memory and address mental health needs, Gant created The Stress Free Experience. It’s a one-day experience that is more than just panels, seminars, and handouts, it’s fun—which is by design. Gant says he wants people to enjoy themselves so they can better receive information that will improve their mental health. With music, food, sound healing and yoga, he creates a Stress Free Experience while also presenting innovative technologies within the mental healthcare industry that he believes are reshaping the world.

The first Stress Free Experience took place on a recent Saturday and the goal was to sell just 40 tickets. Not only did the event sell out online, but additional tickets were also sold at the door.

“I’m glad I can do what I need to do and keep her memory alive by spreading this awareness,” said Gant speaking of his mother.

He said not only was he honored by the success of the event, but he is also planning on having another Stress Free Experience in three months. After that, the event will be held every other month in an effort to make sure everyone in Long Beach has an opportunity to improve their mental health.