For Black Mental Health, We Must Dismantle Racism
June 2, 2020
Our hearts are broken as we mourn the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and so many others. In the United States, African Americans have historically faced, and continue to face, systemic racism and oppression, leading to disparities in wealth, income, housing, employment, education, criminal justice, health care, and opportunity. These injustices also adversely affect Black mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal behaviors. For the wellbeing of our society, it is essential that we recognize and work to dismantle the racism and discrimination that continues to impact the lives of Black people today.
As a suicide prevention organization, we at Families for Depression Awareness are troubled to see the rates of suicide rising disproportionately among Black teens and children. We believe that this trend can be reversed. However, the U.S. mental health care system is inadequate for the demand for services, and some communities are less well-served than others. Not all clinical treatments and diagnostic criteria have been studied for validity and reliability among members of the Black community. Further, traditional mental health treatment may not feel like a safe place for Black families to turn when they’ve faced discrimination, mistreatment, or neglect from medical providers (as has unfortunately been highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic).
Families for Depression Awareness strives to provide resources and education that represent and reflect diverse families and experiences. We are grateful to all of our volunteers who so generously share the most sensitive and painful parts of their lives to help others in our Family Stories. We encourage you to read these to find inspiration and new perspectives.
In addition to our Family Stories, we look to Black educators, leaders, and advocates to inform our educational resources. While we have long woven resources for people of color and minority groups throughout our programs, we take this opportunity to highlight relevant resources for Black people and voices of Black mental health professionals, educators, leaders, and advocates.
- Innopsych, an online directory making it easier and faster to find a therapist of color, 617-942-0088.
- Therapy for Black Girls, a database of in-office and virtual therapists, designed for Black women.
- Inclusive Therapist Directory, an online database for culturally-responsive therapists.
- Association of Black Psychologists, maintains a directory of member therapists.
- The National Queer and Trans Therapist of Color Network, a community of care, resource sharing, connection, and learning for queer and trans black, indigenous, and people of color providing and seeking mental health resources.
- Black Mental Health Alliance, the National Directory of Black Psychiatrists of America.
- The Loveland Foundation, provides financial assistance for black women and girls to cover the costs of therapy. You can apply for assistance here.
Mental Health Organizations
- Black Mental Wellness, Corp., providing access to evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective.
- Sista Afya, sustaining the mental wellness of Black women through sharing information, building community, and connecting Black women to quality mental wellness providers.
- The SIWE Project, a global non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the global black community.
- Black Men Speak, informs and enlightens the mental health community and the general public about issues concerning African American males with mental health and substance abuse challenges through a speakers bureau.
- Ourselves Black, provides information about mental health promotion and positive coping as well as mental health content and stories specifically routed in communities of color.
- Black Women’s Health Imperative, advancing health equity and social justice for Black women, across the lifespan, through policy, advocacy, education, research, and leadership development.
Mental Health Apps
- notOK, a free mental health app to take the guesswork out of asking for help. Created by teen siblings.
- The Safe Place, Android or Apple, a free mental health app for the Black community.
Mental Health Advocates, Leaders, and Educators
- Donna Holland Barnes, Ph.D.
- Derek J. Wilson, Ph.D.
- Erlanger Turner, Ph.D.
- Imadé, Depressed While Black
- Kameisha Cooper
- Christine Crawford, MD, MPH
- The Bipolar Black Girl, Andrea Elizabeth Paul
- Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, Terrie M. Williams
- Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education, Mychal Denzel Smith
- 72 Hour Hold, Bebe Moore Campbell
This list is just a starting place; we’d love community support to build on these resources. If you have a resource you’d like us to add, please e-mail Programs Manager Arielle Cohen with a link and short description.
To our African American volunteers, supporters, and program participants advocating for change, we stand with you in the fight for racial and health equity.