Mental Health Services for the Black Community
Recently, the United States has experienced uprisings against racism and police brutality not seen since the Civil Rights Movement. In the face of racial bias, stigma, and mental health disparities, Black people have spent years trying to process the violence and racism that come with living in the United States. But they’ve never had to do it during a pandemic that disproportionately targets Black lives, health, and communities.
From police violence to mental health stigma, the experiences of people of color take a significant toll on mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, racism is a form of trauma. Racial trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and serious psychological distress.
As a result of these traumatic experiences, the Human Services Office of Minority Health reports that Black Americans face higher rates of mental illness than White people. Also, African Americans may experience more severe forms of mental health conditions due to unmet mental health needs and lack of access to mental health care, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Black Lives Matter. Black Mental Health Matters, Too.
In recent years, Black people’s increased access to mental health resources has helped to combat the historical lack of cultural competence and mental health stigma in the African American community. If you’re struggling to cope with recent events, there’s solidarity and support out there. Here’s a list of mental health resources if you’re looking for support to help process and validate your experience.
Therapy for Black Girls
Therapy for Black Girls is an online community dedicated to encouraging mental wellness for Black women and Black girls. Therapy for Black Girls also offers a referral tool to help users find mental health services.
The Loveland Foundation
The Loveland Foundation aims to make mental health services more accessible for Black women and girls through the Therapy Fund, which provides financial assistance to Black women and girls across the United States. Its Instagram feed features a combination of self-care tips and posts highlighting mental health experts in the Black community.
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation
In 2018, actress Taraji P. Henson founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to honor her father, a war veteran who coped with psychological struggles stemming from wartime trauma. The foundation aims to increase access to mental health services, raise mental health awareness, and highlight the impact of mental health conditions in Black communities. The foundation also offers a directory of culturally competent therapists and culturally sensitive Black-centered wellness resources.
Sista Afya, a Chicago-based organization, offers mental health resources for Black women and girls. Sista Afya connects Black women to affordable, accessible, and culturally competent therapists and ongoing mental health workshops. It also offers an Illinois-based program for Black women, which offers two free therapy sessions and free admission to monthly support groups for women who financially qualify.
Black Men Heal
Black Men Heal provides mental health treatment, psycho-education, and support services to men of color. By providing free access to mental health services, Black Men Heal encourages Black men to share experiences of stigma, racial bias, and mental health issues with other Black men to help create safe spaces.
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
Focused on the experiences of queer and trans POC, the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network reimagines conventional mental health services to address the unique mental health challenges of queer and trans communities of color.
Although many of their resources are directed toward mental health professionals, the Network offers a directory of QTPOC therapists with cultural competency and supplemental financial assistance for POC struggling with questions surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation.
Melanin and Mental Health
Melanin and Mental Health is a network that connects minority communities—specifically Latinx and Black people—to mental health services. The network provides a directory of culturally competent therapists. It features the Between Sessions Podcast, which includes candid conversations on mental health, racial trauma, and self-care advice from ”two brown chicks changing the face of therapy on both sides of the couch.” Their social media feed provides inspiration, resources, and self-care tips to help cope during COVID-19.
Ethel’s Club, a global organization based in New York City, offers a safe online space for young people from communities of color ”to heal, to be inspired, and to thrive.” Ethel’s Club offers digital wellness sessions, live-streamed classes and videos, and a global member network of POC.
The Therapy Group of NYC
According to the Therapy Group of NYC, working with a therapist who understands your mental health needs can significantly influence your mental health treatment’s success. The Therapy Group of NYC helps POC struggling to cope with mental health conditions, mental health problems, and overwhelming emotions find culturally competent mental health professionals to ensure their mental health needs are met.
Finally, A Few Things To Keep In Mind While Seeking Mental Health Support.
While finding mental health care can be hard—and doing it as a Black person can be even harder—it’s essential to keep in mind that you are worth it. With that said, here are some things to keep in mind during your search for mental health support:
- Forming a positive therapeutic relationship with your mental health professional is critical to your mental health treatment’s success. Still, it might take a while to find a therapist you feel comfortable with. Hopefully, some of the resources in this post can help you find the care you need. However, if you’re thinking about harming yourself, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) or the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) for immediate mental health support.
- Many mental health professionals offer sliding scale therapy, so if you’ve found a private practice healthcare provider that you feel comfortable with but isn’t covered by your health insurance, ask about sliding scale therapy. Here are some tips for making therapy more affordable.
- Teletherapy can feel awkward, especially if you’re used to in-person sessions. Taking the time to write out things you’d like to discuss in your therapy session can help you navigate the transition to online therapy. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of teletherapy.
Even if you’re used to therapy, the devastating aftermath of COVID-19 and police brutality among Black communities can make it feel like therapy isn’t working. If you’ve been diagnosed with a pre-existing mental disorder, you may be especially vulnerable to the profound stress of recent events. Ultimately, seeking professional help can help you start the healing process and cope with overwhelming feelings.