Black lives matter, and so does Black mental health. The Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health reports that African Americans are 10 percent more likely to experience serious psychological distress. At the same time, only 30 percent of African American adults with mental illnesses get help each year, which is below the U.S. average of 43 percent.
Racism and racial trauma continue to affect the mental well-being of Black people, who already face so many obstacles when it comes to receiving mental health treatment. As the National Alliance on Mental Illness stated, “Racism is a public health crisis.”
If you feel like the continued incidents of police brutality and lack of injustice for Black lives (on top of living in a society that upholds systems of racism) are taking a toll on your mental health, here are some resources that could help you, your friends, or your family right now:
FIND A THERAPIST
Finding a therapist can be so daunting that it almost doesn’t feel worth it sometimes. Thankfully, there are organizations that have made it much easier for Black people to get connected. Therapy for Black Girls, founded by Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, compiled a useful directory of therapists who actually *get it*. (The organization also produces a podcast, publishes a weekly newsletter, and hosts free support groups on Thursday nights.)
As Healthyish pointed out, Inclusive Therapists provides therapists with racial trauma training to ensure health care providers look at mental health holistically. The organization has a directory of professionals, and many of them offer reduced-price virtual sessions.
ATTEND VIRTUAL SESSIONS
Therapy can be really expensive, but online support groups like Sista Afya’s free virtual conversations make it more accessible. Their latest group session focused on how consuming news can cause stress and impact our mental health and provided tools that can be used when the news cycle is especially traumatic.
Also, look into Ethel’s Club, a Brooklyn-based wellness group that centers people of color and hosts virtual group healing and grieving sessions twice a month. And if you’re into using tarot and astrology in your mental health journey, Dive in Well has a variety of programs in addition to donation-based therapy classes and wellness-focused workshops.
HOLD YOUR WORKPLACE ACCOUNTABLE
Working somewhere that acknowledges the burdens Black people face and is actively working to end systemic racism can drastically improve your mental health. It should not be on Black people to educate white people about racism, but if you’d like to reach out to your company’s leadership or if you’re an ally who wants to make sure your workplace is being held accountable, this template is so easy to complete and send to make sure your voice is heard.
CHECK OUT THESE IG ACCOUNTS
Fill your feed with reminders and tips on caring for your mental well-being. For helpful reminders that taking breaks is a crucial part of our mental well-being, The Nap Ministry is a great follow. (This organization also offers virtual or Atlanta-based guided sessions of “rest coaching” and “spiritual direction.”)
Not only does the Black Mental Wellness account post about virtual support sessions, but it also provides helpful journal prompts if you prefer to write things out and reflect on them later.
HealHaus offers virtual wellness retreats, sound baths, and healing groups. This is also a great resource if you’re interested in private sessions across a variety of disciplines, like astrology, tarot, energy healing, coaching, or holistic medicine.
DOWNLOAD THE SAFE PLACE APP
The Safe Place is a free all-in-one destination where you can find stats about mental health in the Black community, advice on how to cope after incidents of police brutality, breathing techniques, open forum discussions, and tips about addressing mental health with your family and the Black church.
Asking for and getting help can feel scary, but please take care of yourself. And if you’re in the financial position, donate to The Loveland Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Black women get access to mental health resources through its Therapy Fund.