The last month has aged me.
Whenever I look in the mirror, I recognize new lines. Everything hurts.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused an excessive loss of Black lives in America. As we are coming to terms with those numbers, Black people have had to intensify their campaign for equality.
Blackness is a beautiful burden. You’d need a few thousand pages to list all the contributions Black people have made to society. But when “regular Americans” is uttered, the phrase tends to not include Black people.
Black colleagues have mentioned that their therapists have had to pivot the course of therapy to considering the racial injustices we’ve recently witnessed. Yet it’s pretty much business as usual for their white patients.
Atlanta-based psychologist Machel Hunt noted, “The protests aren’t just about the murder of George Floyd. It is about the continued inequality in social justice, economic status, and social equity. The mental health of Black men and women are being challenged more now than ever.”
Like many Black people, I’m mourning the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and David McAtee. Add to those names the many Black cis and trans men and women who have had their lives cut short in recent years, and mourning Black bodies becomes a daily act that deteriorates our collective consciousness.
Actor Nick Creegan, who played the role of Desmond in the OWN drama, “David Makes Man,” has been participating in the rallies in Brooklyn while practicing self-care.
He said, “Mental health in the Black community was already ignored and not given priority before 2020. We need to take care of our own house more than ever.”
Fortunately there are a growing number of mental health support systems for our community. Black Twitter has been a salve for generational wounds. Sharing resources at all price points has been at the frontline of social media advocacy for Black mental health. Black millennials are keen on having comprehensive discussions relating to mental health and healing.
When coronavirus hit, my income, too, dried up. I drastically reduced my therapy sessions to stretch the little savings I had. However, my therapist was confident that I had the wherewithal to cope, as I’ve spent over a decade in therapy.
A few years ago you’d have to scour the internet to find mental health resources aimed at or created by the Black community. Now a simple Google search produces a slew of options.
The Balanced Black Girl podcast team has created a nifty guide of mental health resources and self-care tips. The Liberate fund offers assistance for those who can’t afford the meditation app’s subscription services. Ethel’s Club — a social and wellness club for people of color, has taken its business model online. Its virtual memberships give access to wellness and creative activities, including free group therapy sessions for Black people, keeping its members in good mental and physical health.
The self-care readings and resources from POC Online Classroom are immensely helpful. I’ve delved into the archives of the Between Sessions podcast that discuss a myriad of issues from “both sides of the couch.” Inclusive Therapist — a platform dedicated to the mental health needs of “marginalized populations” — has a list of therapists who have reduced their rates. I have the African American Mental Health section of the National Alliance on Mental Health website bookmarked.
I regularly read comments and Twitter threads where I encounter tone-deaf and racist remarks that get my skin hotter than the bottom of my MacBook. However, right there on those same platforms are resources that help to make it easier for Black people to bear the burden of their beautiful Blackness and emotionally navigate this messed up world.
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