Darian Hall made it to adulthood without having ever met his father. When he finally did, he was confronted with a range of emotions and that sparked conversations with other men. Those conversations made it clear that men needed a safe space to talk and work through things. Darian reached out to a good friend of his, Elisa Shankle, who’d been on her own journey to mental wellness. They talked about the need for a Black owned space that specifically focused on holistic self-care. The two decided to partner and build what is today known as HealHaus.
Hall described HealHaus to Watch The Yard as a wellness studio and cafe in the heart of Brooklyn. It offers yoga and meditation classes, and hosts various workshops that address a range of mental health topics. In addition, HealHaus also “facilitates private practitioner services like psychotherapy, acupuncture, massages, cbd infused facials and reiki energy healing.” The wellness cafe features a variety of smoothies, teas and elixirs, all developed in consult with a chef and in-house physician. HealHaus seeks to be a one-stop shop for Brooklynites and especially people of color, who often do not have the access and resources to sustain mental health in the daily rush that is New York.
HealHaus serves as a prime example of the power of Black entrepreneurship. Our community has a variety of needs and in one sense, this represents a host of opportunities. Black people have a need to eat and thus others profit in the form of restaurants and carryouts. We also have a need to tend to our mental wellness and rightfully, Darian and Elisa have opened a business to meet that need, serve as a healing source for our community and in doing so, make a living. HealHaus also pushes back on the narrative that the only way to do business in our community is to provide products and services that ultimately do harm, like liquor stores and the like. Business models centered on bettering our community and servicing our needs are indeed viable.
As Mental Health Awareness Month continues, we all have a responsibility to check on our own wellness. As a community, we must support those who are seeking to advance the conversation around Black mental health. HealHaus is a wonderful example of what is good in our community and sorely needed. Let’s prioritize Black mental health and celebrate Black entrepreneurs who are doing the work. Last week we spotlighted Ourselves Black Magazine (@ourselves_black) and now HealHaus (@HealHaus). Stay tuned for more this month!