13 mental health resources for black people trying to cope right now

Mashable
Mashable
Jun 3, 2020 · 5 min read

Black people are experiencing extraordinary stress and trauma. These mental health resources can help.

BY REBECCA RUIZ

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Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Life has been unforgiving for black people in America.

The trauma of personal and institutional racism that black people endure — and have endured for generations — makes such a statement true no matter the day of the week.

Yet, the coronavirus outbreak, which has disproportionately killed black Americans, along with the recent police killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed to demand justice for his death, have forced black people to experience extraordinary pain and anguish.

Tending to one’s mental health at such a moment may seem like an overwhelming task for numerous reasons, including because black people routinely face barriers to seeking mental health treatment, like culturally incompetent therapists and discrimination in healthcare settings.

“Healing for us looks different than most people,” Jameta Nicole Barlow, a community health psychologist who is black, wrote in an email.

“While anger and its expression is an important emotion to grapple with, Black people are not given any space to express that anger or rage without experiencing a negative outcome. Black people need time and space to even accept that we need healing, as we’ve been forced to move on in spite of [what’s happened]…”

Barlow, who is also an assistant professor of writing at George Washington University, said that black people have a long history of resilience and creating “healing spaces,” including the “poetry, chants and prayers used during the protests and movements for Black lives” over the last century to “music genres we pioneered like gospel, jazz, R&B, hip hop.”

Barlow said she has spent the week urging people to create healthy boundaries in their life and engage in self-care. Barlow recognizes that will look different for everyone and can include dance, music, crafts, yoga, meditation, baking, gardening, sports, laughter, and spiritual and religious practice. Workplaces, she adds, can also offer opportunities for black employees to take care of themselves.

“Radical self-care is required to live and survive in this world as a Black person.”

Barlow recommends that black people be in “community” with one another, though acknowledges that stay-at-home policies meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 makes this nearly impossible beyond digital platforms. At the same time, the saturation of online images and commentary portraying injustice toward black people means spending time on the internet can be draining instead of restorative. Barlow suggests limiting social media and news when appropriate.

To help reduce the body’s response to stress, which triggers the release of the hormone cortisol into the blood and puts a person on high alert, Barlow recommends activities like mindful meditation, a breathing exercise to restore calm, yoga practice, walking outside and feeling the sun, repeating affirmations, and writing down one’s feelings.

“Radical self-care is required to live and survive in this world as a Black person,” she wrote. “Overdosing on radical self-care is essential in this moment.”

Mashable asked both Barlow and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to share mental health resources specifically for black people. (NAMI recently published a list here.) This is a selection of what they recommended:

1. Association of Black Psychologists Self-Care Tool Kit

2. Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM)

3. Black Mental Health Alliance

4. Black Women’s Health Imperative

5. Emotional Emancipation Circles

6. Liberate App

7. Melanin and Mental Health

8. Ourselves Black

9. POC Online Classroom

10. Sista Afya

11. Therapy for Black Girls

12. The Safe Place App

13. Treatment directories

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential support 24/7. Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1–800–950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m. ET, or email info@nami.org. Here is a list of international resources.

Originally published at https://mashable.com

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