Our vision is to become a reputable grassroots mental health organization that does its part in eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness and one that advocates for those suffering alone in darkness; Our mission is to extend a helping hand, provide educational resources, and offer a listening ear to those who feel isolated and unheard; Our goal is to network with like-minded individuals and other grassroots organizations that were formed to uplift, encourage, and better the communities from which they came.
Nazarah's Heaven (NsH) was created to assist, support, and encourage individuals who feel lost and cannot seem to find their way. Individuals who do not have access to proper care, guidance, and mental health resources. Individuals who are, sadly, unaware that there is a name for “it” and help does exist.
NsH wants to tear down the walls of shame and embarrassment and do away with the stigma that someone who suffers from mental illness cannot live a viable, productive life—for the simplicity of listening, without judgment, can be life-changing.
I am the proud mother of three awesome sons and am someone who knows all too well what living with mental illness entails. My first experience with depression arose after my father passed away in 1993.
Before his death, I was a bright 15-year-old teenage girl who excelled academically. Within what seemed like a matter of moments, everything changed.
In 1995, two years later, I went from being an honor roll student—planning my academic career, dreaming about which university I was going to attend—to, at the age of 17, being a pregnant teenager, expelled from high school during my senior year, ultimately becoming someone who stopped caring about life.
During the same year, after the birth of my first son, postpartum depression decided to pay me a visit. That, coupled with the brokenness and trauma I was already experiencing due to the loss of my father, intensified the not-so-good feelings.
Over the years, there were many lows, but after much research and some therapy, I began putting two and two together. It was then that I realized I was not crazy, and the many things I endured contributed to my feelings and actions.
The important milestones in NsH development are the numerous storms I weathered. The countless, sleepless nights, convoluted thoughts, and desire to no longer live. Every bit of turbulence, chaos, and dysfunction endured has prepared me for this chapter of my life.
On December 6, 2007, I gave birth to a precious, angelic baby girl whom I named Nazarah Heaven. Sadly, due to underdeveloped lungs, Nazarah passed away.
I named her Nazarah Heaven as a way to reverence and pay homage to God—for Christians believe that Nazareth is the place Jesus was born and Heaven is the place Christians hope their soul transitions to once they have crossed over.
Butterflies are a symbol of how one transitions from one phase in their life to the other—signifying hope and rebirth. When Nazarah passed away, an arch of butterflies was placed over the hospital's room threshold in the NICU. That was the staff's way of informing other staff an infant had expired.
After learning the significance, I became fixated on the beautiful creature and now collect and incorporate them into my daily life. That is my special way of never forgetting the precious gift of life God chose me to carry.
One of my mantras is "How can you shrink if you’ve never been shrunk?"®™ for I believe you had to have experienced something life and mind-altering to fully understand and grasp the magnitude of trauma and how it can change the trajectory of a person's journey.
While writing the vision and making it plain, and after countless, intimate talks with various people, facing the reality that mental illness has become an epidemic, especially in the Black community, I realized my purpose and that is when Nazarah’s Heaven was born.