Sherman Phoenix hosts Trap Therapy to focus on youth mental health

NOW: Sherman Phoenix hosts Trap Therapy to focus on youth mental health

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A woman with a passion for bridging the gap for black and brown communities struggling with mental health issues has a new method, aimed at reaching people of all ages. Tonight's event, on May 4, at Sherman Phoenix, focused on the youth.

When you look around the room, you see that this program is doing just what it set out to do. These kids are listening and they're going home with some valuable takeaways.

With a little dancing, some eating and lots of listening, kids in this room have some new tools to handle the stresses of life.

"Youth Trap Therapy is essentially the intersection of urban hip hop music where we pair that with topics around mental health, emotional wellness," said Tarsha Wiggins, a licensed clinical social worker.

"All of the teens and youth are into dancing and singing anyway. This is a great way to reach out to them," said Teninka Scott.

Tarsha Wiggins started "TRAP Therapy", and Milwaukee's Office of Violence and Prevention says a federal grant made this event free for all, teaching some valuable coping skills.

"How to work against negative emotions and thoughts, how to build coping skills and how to understand their own identity and because they've experienced trauma, it's ok, they can still heal," said Simmone Kilgore, program manager of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention.

Zaniy'la, at just four years old, is leaving here with this new skill, she learned to give her brain a kiss.

"I’m smart. Can you say I'm beautiful? I’m beautiful. Can you say I'm a good dancer? I'm a good dancer," said Zaniy'la.

"Often times there's a big struggle with finding someone that looks like you, talks like you and being able to just identify on so many other levels," said Wiggins.

Another lesson -- be good to yourself, and good to your friends, something Daniel says he's done recently.

"I asked him if he's okay and he say yea," said nine-year-old Daniel.

"When you think you're too stupid, when you think you can't do something, I'm here just to tell you that you are powerful and you are capable," said Wiggins.

The next TRAP Therapy session is for women only and it is being held on May 19. You can find more information here.

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