Lance Bottoms ‘Unmutes’ Talk about Mental Health in Niles

NILES – Nearly three years after announcing she would not seek a second term as mayor of Atlanta, Ga., Keisha Lance Bottoms finally recognizes herself again.

The former Atlanta mayor was the keynote speaker April 26 at Unmute the Uncomfortable – a Symposium on Racial Equity, Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention, presented by Coleman Health Services in partnership with the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board. The event took place at the Eastwood Event Centre in Niles.

“I’ve done a lot of unpacking since I left office. Going through the pandemic and all we experienced in 2020 was a lot on all of us,” she said. “And on the front lines, it was quite a daunting season to say the least. For me, it was about doing a wellness check – what do I want for my life and where am I mentally and emotionally?”

Those are questions she asked herself when she was deciding whether to seek a second term. She’s proud she did it on her own terms and said it was the right decision for her.

“I’m happier,” Lance Bottoms said. “I’m in a much better place.”

Lance Bottoms went on to serve as a senior adviser and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in President Joe Biden’s administration from 2022 to 2023.

“I love the name of this event, ‘Unmute the Uncomfortable,’ because so many people are afraid to talk about what’s going on in their head,” Lance Bottoms said. People speak freely about the importance of mammograms, prostate examinations and other screens and tests related to physical health, she said. “But for some reason, we are still often uncomfortable talking about our mental and our emotional well-being,” she said.

Pictured at top: Judge Carla Baldwin, left, interviewed former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms during a fireside chat at the Unmute the Uncomfortable event.