WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"The THRIVE Conference hosted by Anona Wellness validated a lot of the way I was going about my own wellness journey. There are so many Black women in this journey that I wasn't aware of and it was just nice to know that we aren't alone and there are others taking the time to prioritize their wellness. I walked away from the conference with a lot of new resources that I can utilize."
— Ashley Ansah
Anona Wellness is an organization focused on eliminating cultural barriers to accessing mental health and wellness within Black, Indigenous, racialized, and immigrant communities. Through the use of events (such as The THRIVE Conference), educational resources (such as the Culture Meets Wellness podcast), and practical tools, we aim to provide BIPOC, racialized, and/or immigrant communities with the skills needed to prioritize their wellness.
As part of this initiative, we also run a podcast called the 'Culture Meets Wellness' podcast, where we invite people from various cultural and professional backgrounds to speak about their own personal journey with wellness and mental health, and how cultural barriers have impacted their experience with mental health and wellness along their journey. This podcast is available on all podcasting platforms, including Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, and more.
Within 8 months of launching, we have already educated more than 700 individuals about the importance of mental health and wellness for racialized and immigrant communities, and this number continues to grow everyday. We are proud to state that Anona Wellness has served as an excellent educational resource for those from racialized communities, as well as those from non-racialized communities who may not have previously been aware of the impact that culture can have on mental health.
Anona Wellness Founder
Hey everyone! I'm Chongo Bwalya and I'm the creator of Anona Wellness. I'm 24 years old, my family is from Zambia, we came to Canada when I was 5 years old, and I was raised in Ottawa, Canada.
When I was 16 years old, my mom passed away from ALS. At the time, I didn't know how to cope with the trauma of that kind of loss, and my immediate response was to put all of my energy into working hard. In 2018, I graduated at top of my class in the business program at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Following my graduation, I spent two years working for a Big 4 Accounting Firm. During this time, I struggled with my mental health, and began to realize that I did not know how to effectively cope with the challenges that life would bring my way, partly because I was always taught that showing vulnerability was a sign of weakness.
As time went on, I noticed a lot of my friends from Black, Indigenous, racialized, and immigrant communities also faced similar challenges, and I realized a large reason for this was because of the large stigma associated with mental health in many of our cultures. It was during this time that I came up with the idea to create Anona Wellness, and launched the initiative in January 2020.