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Arts & Life

When it comes to mental wellness, spoken-word poet says, “There’s no one way to be.”

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Courtesy of Marcel Price
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"Every time you look up resources for mental wellness, you tend to see these same, select few faces. It’s almost like people of color don’t go through these issues," said Price. ";s:

It's a real challenge to talk about mental health issues and challenges — even more so when you're young, when you feel like an "other."

Marcel Price is tackling that challenge through poetry and spoken word. As "Fable The Poet,” this young Michigander writes about mental wellness. And in his work with Mental Health America, he's traveling to high schools around Michigan and across the country, helping kids understand their shared struggles.

His new chapbook of poetry is called Adrift in a Sea of M&M's, and it's accompanied by #ProjectCastAway, Price's spoken-word performance of 14 of the poems in the chapbook. 

This week, he sat down with Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to talk about how he came to poetry and the work he's been doing to advocate for mental wellness. 

As a high school student, Price began writing fables. “I was going through a lot of issues with domestic violence and substance abuse at home,” he explained. “And I really wanted to take myself out of my work.”

His high school English teacher told him to keep writing, and he did — in the process earning the pen name, “Fable the Poet.”

From there, Price began writing more about his personal experiences, from being biracial to having been diagnosed at age 14 with depression and anxiety. He also started to explore how mental health intersects with being a person of color. For one thing, he noted, “you’re not told to talk about your issues with mental health.”

And herein lies the goal behind his new chapbook and the work he does with Mental Health America: encouraging everyone, especially people of color, to feel comfortable vocalizing their struggles with mental wellness and recognizing that they’re not alone.

You can find the full conversation above, and more about Price at his website and Facebook page

Minding Michigan is Stateside’s ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state.

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