Injustice and trauma take a clear toll on our mental and emotional health. Here are a few things to keep in mind as our country reckons with the murders of unarmed Black men and women.
Be aware of your mental and emotional health. Exposure to graphic images and hateful speech deeply impacts all of us, especially communities of color who live with these aggressions every day. Make time to reflect, breathe, journal, or other ways to check in with how you are really doing.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings. It is normal to experience a range of emotions right now, most of which are very uncomfortable. Resist the urge to rush through or numb your feelings, without understanding what they may be saying to you. Use these emotions to consider opportunities for solidarity, learning, and action.
Practice self-care in the midst of whatever engagement, activism or caretaking you take on. Honor your needs, and prioritize your own well-being. This can be as basic as making sure you are drinking water, eating regular meals, and getting enough sleep. It may also mean cultivating ongoing practices of creative expression, mindfulness, or spiritual reflection - whatever keeps you grounded and accessing hope.
Moderate your intake of news and social media. It can be damaging to constantly expose ourselves to violent images, or people whose views threaten our welfare. Think about how your media intake is affecting you. Determine what information you need to know because it is actionable, and be aware that taking in too much may be harmful. Make sure that your media diet includes positive individuals and organizations, and sources of reputable information.
Find your supportive community. Connect with people who understand how you are feeling because they are going through it, too. Seek support from elders or mentors who can remind you of the ongoing history of struggle and resistance in which you are taking part.
Set boundaries. For Black folks and other people of color, it can be exhausting to educate others about racism and how it impacts their communities. Allow yourself to choose what conversations you take on, and where you draw limits. For allies, seek out ways to educate yourself that do not require this emotional labor from people of color.
Take action. Think about how you can affect positive change, however small it might feel. This might mean participating in a protest, writing a letter, donating to a cause you believe in, educating yourself, or having a conversation in your circle of influence.
- Give yourself breaks. The work of engagement and activism is exhausting. Allow yourself to choose the times you step in, and to also give yourself permission to say no when you need to. The burden of challenging injustice does not rest on your shoulders alone. It is especially important for people of color to remember that their identities encompass more than trauma - connect with your joy, strengths, hope, and passions.
Much of the above content was duplicated from the CSU – East Bay Counseling Centers. SF State Counseling and Psychological Services expresses gratitude to for their support.
Understanding Racial/Cultural Trauma
Healing For Black Individuals and Racial Trauma
Understand your own biases by taking an implicit bias test. Dialogue about your results with someone you care about and can encourage you to challenge these biases: implicit.harvard.edu
#StayWoke staywoke.org surveys your strengths and interests to connect you with activism opportunities.
Anti-Racism Resources - books, podcasts, organizations, films/tvs
Toolkits and Trainings
Therapists and Resources
The Love Land Foundation - healing for women of color, especially black women and girls
The Boris Henson Foundation - eradicating stigma around mental health issues in the African-American community
Free and Low Cost Mental Health Resources
- Real to the People is offering free group therapy in light of Covid-19 and racial trauma.
- Therapy for Black Girls is offering free group therapy through this website.
- Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is offering up to 5 free therapy sessions with licensed, culturally competent clinicians through a Covid-19 free virtual therapy support campaign, while funding lasts.
- Liberate App - Free meditation app targeted toward Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
- BetterHelp - Offering one month of free remote therapy.
- Conversations on Black Healing - the Black Emotional and Mental Health collective (BEAM) offers Virtual Heart Space gatherings, as well as a video series on Black healing. They also list a network of Black therapists offering services remotely.
- Between Sessions Podcast - the organization Melanin and Mental Health offers a free podcast about mental health and communities of color. They also have a list of therapists specializing in work with minoritized communities.
- Sister Afya - Community Mental Wellness organization focusing on sustaining Black women. Includes extensive section on Mental Wellness Information and Resources, including ways to start a healing journey, build social support, find services and ways to pay for them, and apps and hotlines that could be helpful.
- Ethel’s Club - “Digital Membership club” for and by people of color allows access to cultural and wellness events online.
- Inclusive Therapists - list of therapists who celebrate minoritized identities. Includes options for free or reduced cost services.
- Black Mental Health Alliance - Offers referrals to culturally-competent and patient-centered licensed therapists.
Donate or Get Involved
Black Lives Matter - a global organization whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
Anti-Police Terror Project - Oakland-based, Black-led, multi-racial, intergenerational coalition that seeks to build a replicable and sustainable model to eradicate police terror in communities of color.
Minnesota Freedom Fund - support bail for people arrested during protests in Minnesota.
Reclaim the Block - organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.
Bail Project - a national nonprofit organization that pays bail for people in need.
The Innocence Project - exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices.
Marie Ibarra Linktree - CSUEB community member Marie Ibarra created a linktree account with additional resources for donations, activism, and education.
Individuals and Organizations to Follow
Voices for Black mental health:
Voices for change:
Much of the above content was duplicated from the CSU – San Marcos and University of Kentucky Counseling Centers. SF State Counseling and Psychological Services expresses gratitude to those Centers for their leadership and support.