This Black South Carolina woman is the founder of National Wear Your Pearls Day, which was created to bring awareness to mental health. The goal of NWYPD is to end the stigma surrounding mental health. Even if you are not dealing with issues, you can be a listening ear for someone who is. Many people need just that.
After privately struggling with depression and anxiety, DeAnna Bookert wanted to create a safe space for others. There has always been such a negative stigma around mental health, and she wanted to help put a face to mental health. Bookert had a successful career, family, and was active in ministry, but she still had this private battle.
It was Bookert’s love of her pearl jewelry that inspired the theme of her day. “A true pearl has lumps and bruises and dents on it—like the mental health journey,” says Bookert. “National Wear Your Pearls Day is for all of us who have suffered in silence; wear your pearls and share your story proudly.”
Before she created National Wear Your Pearls Day, the author and founder of Bookert Agency, a marketing, coaching, and brand development firm, submitted a proposal for National Know Your Purpose Day. Unfortunately, it was not accepted. “But I refused to give up and decided to open up about my struggles with depression and create a day of awareness,” Bookert says.
DeAnna explains that it is okay to get professional help, make time for yourself, and remember you’re not alone when it comes to your mental health.
“Mental health awareness first starts with self-awareness. It’s important to know when you have mental health struggles and when you need to get help. Awareness also means knowing the facts about mental health from a professional” says Bookert.
Bookert will be giving away Love Gifts this year for National Wear Your Pearls Day to women who struggle with mental health challenges. They are accepting donations of jewelry or gift cards. Monterey donations can be made to their national partner, the National Alliance on Mental Illness -Columbia Chapter.
So what day is National Wear Your Pearls Day? It’s Bookert’s birthday, of course, December 15th. “For years I never looked forward to my birthday,” Bookert shares. “It was always a sad and depressing time for me. Now every year, I look forward to the day that’s not only my birthday but a day to spread hope and inspiration.”
When asked SwagHer Magazine’s signature question to describe her swagher, the single mom and widow responded by saying, “After the passing of my husband in 2015 after 15 years of marriage, I realized I had this inner strength and courage to persevere. My SwagHer is that I’m an overcomer”.
Bookert expressed that her children will always be her greatest inspiration. She works hard so they can proudly call her mom and because she always wants to be their first role model.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
If anyone would like to make a donation, please visit www.nationalwearyourpearlsday.com.
Photos courtesy of DeAnna Bookert.