When we say black lives matter, it’s important to remember that black mental health matters as well. For years, mental health has been a topic often viewed as taboo, especially in the Black community.
In the midst of a pandemic and with the ongoing decimation of black lives, it’s overwhelming and growing increasingly difficult to find and maintain healthy outlets that give us space to unpack the traumas that come from racism, violence and many other challenges that come with being black in America.
When I talk to many of my black friends, I am reminded that our experiences are not always linear, but we relate in many ways about our hardships that are very similar, and unfortunately common.
But something that has been a constant reminder to me is that our negative experiences aren’t the only thing that we need to have in common, or what provokes discussion (which is not said to dismiss this). We can also talk about ways in which we are receiving help and the resources that are available for us.
Over the years, it’s encouraging to see that there are platforms and resources available that focus on mental health, therapy and more. Below you’ll find a few people to follow on social media who are advocating for mental health as well as directories that provide more information and insight on how to find a therapist and manage stress and anxiety.
Profiles to follow on Instagram: Add Some Daily Gems to Your Timeline
Nedra Glover Tawwab, Therapist
Tawwab is a licensed therapist, boundary expert, content creator and writer and is the founder/owner of the group therapy practice, Kaleidoscope Counseling. She encourages and teaches people how to create healthy relationships, with boundaries being the core foundation.
Tawwab’s ultimate goal is to show people that you can have healthy relationships with other people and yourself. She hosts weekly Q&A’s and shares tips, tools and mental health practices.
Thema Bryant-Davis, Ph.D
Bryant-Davis is a licensed psychologist, ordained minister and a professor at Pepperdine University. Clinically, she focuses on healing trauma, relationship difficulties, anxiety, oppression and more. Her work and practice has grown popular through her inspiring and encouraging tweets on Twitter.
Henry Health is an upcoming app that focuses on providing support and improving black men’s mental health. The pilot is currently open to those living in the DMV area. Check out https://henry-health.com/
Cator is an artist, womnx leadership coach and healer who has made it her mission to help others see unhealthy conditions, patterns and behaviors, and how to dismantle them to reclaim power, courage, confidence and more.
She is the creatrix behind Circle of Reclamation, a year-long course open to all womxn to reclaim the parts of themselves that have been lost and forgotten. Cator is also the founder of Black Girls Breathe, an organization that creates healing spaces for womnx of color.
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Our ancestors survived the impossible: the middle passage, slavery, natural disasters, man made wars, plagues… They kept going because they had foresight. Hundreds of years into the future they saw us. And this is why we keep going, envisioning and planting the seeds to create new realities. This is why we keep taking step-after-step on the long walk to freedom. For we are our ancestors’ future vision realized. The blooms of their planted dreams. Hundreds of years into the future there will be another generation looking back and thanking us for the seeds we planted and nurtured. I’m proud and deeply honored to be holding space for nearly 3,000 BIWOC for @blackgirlsbreathe Global Healing Day! And ya’ll this is God’s doing because I didn’t know how it would all come together but Spirit kept telling me the next step and I’ve been following and I’m still following. I’m humbled by the outpouring of support and this will be the largest group I’ve ever guided. I’m in awe of this community of womxn that has gathered and the sisterhood that’s already been created. I’m grateful for the allies who have supported this work. There have been THOUSANDS of shares and frankly I haven’t been able to keep up. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart to every person who has amplified this gathering. We are two days away from our inaugural gathering on February 22, 2020 where we center, celebrate and affirm ourselves and our sisters. We will be pouring self-love into our cups until it overflows. For we are the blooms of our ancestors’ planted dreams. 💜#blackgirlsbreathe www.blackgirlsbreathe.com/2020
Minaa B., LMSW
Minaa B is a social worker, writer, wellness consultant and psychotherapist who uses a variety of clinical lenses to engage with her clients. In addition to her practice, she is an author who has written the book titled Rivers Are Coming: A Collection of Essays And Poems On Healing From Depression and Trauma. Minaa also helps facilitate workshops for different companies highlighting topics that range from self-development to mental health.
Dr. Ebony Butler is a licensed psychologist who specializes in working with clients with issues related to anxiety and other stress responses. Butler is passionate and shows interest in what affects marginalized communities, minority women and LGBT persons to name a few.
Butler has also created My Therapy Cards deck, created with the intention of helping other women of color grow and elevate in the areas of emotional and mental health.
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As a psychologist (and client), I recognize how difficult it can be to ask the hard questions of your therapist. Regardless of all of the work that we try to do to minimize the power dynamic, it’s still there and can make it super intimidating for clients to pose questions. With all that’s going on, as much as I want therapists to make sure to take proper care of their clients, I also want clients to feel empowered to talk with their therapists about what’s going on with them. And, I recognize that finding the language to do so can be a huge barrier. So, I’ve put together a few questions to help. Because extra layers of unspoken power exist between white therapists and non-white clients, these questions have been compiled to empower clients who might feel otherwise. And, also, keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive and can be applied to Black and non-Black therapists of color as well. What are some other questions that could be asked? Let’s chat below! 👇🏾
Directories To Help Aid in the Search For Black Therapists
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Therapy for Black Men
- Black Men Heal
- Black Virtual Therapist Network – BEAM
- National Queer and Trans Therapists Of Color Network
- Black Therapist Network
- Inclusive Therapists
Be gracious with yourself as you take the time to look through these resources. Therapy and finding the best resources for your mental health can be overwhelming and scary. But to take that first step is the most important and you should be proud of yourself for taking the initiative.
There is a lot of trauma to unlearn and a lot to unpack, and therapy won’t completely fix everything, but it provides the opportunity to see what steps you can take to finding healing. This is a life long process but not impossible.
If this is your first time going to therapy and you’re not quite sure what questions to ask or how to break the ice, SELF Magazine provides tips and information about certain questions that you might want to ask your therapist. Additionally, they also provide tips on how to find therapy that is affordable using a sliding scale if you don’t have insurance or the insurance you do have is not accepted.
Give yourself the strength, grace, love and more that you give to others. You deserve it. Stay strong, but also give yourself time to rest. You’re valuable, we need you healthy. Black mental health is important.