The Black Community & Mental Health: A Reflection on our Progress and 3 Things To Promote Wellness
During Black History Month, we celebrate African Americans and the role they have played in building this country, as well as recognize their achievements.
The culture in the Black community is strong, impactful, and interwoven with American culture. However, the statistics on Black mental wellness are disproportionate to the experiences of others within American culture. However, in recent years, there have been many signs that indicate that attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment in the black community are changing. In my private counseling practice, Healing-Circle LLC, located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, 80% of our clients are Black.
Additionally, as a psychotherapist working in the Montgomery County community, I meet many families of color who are excited about, believe in the power of and want to learn more about psychotherapy and its benefits. Black folks are beginning to realize that taking care of mental health is just as important as physical health.
Additionally, with racial tensions at an all-time high in this country, Black Americans are finding resourceful ways to take care of their mental wellness, find safe spaces, and heal. Black people are experiencing a form of, what Dr. Douglas E. Lewis Jr. calls “shared trauma” as a result of the news media’s coverage of high-profile police shootings, which can result in increased anxiety (New York Times, May 9, 2021). Dr. Lewis also has shared that Black people are willing to seek therapy more now than ever.
This Black History Month, let us focus on the wins we continue to make and identify 3 things that can promote wellness in the Black Community:
1. Take A Mental Health Day
Taking a day off from work isn’t going to solve all of your problems, but taking a day, or several, can give you time to recharge and take care of yourself. When planning to take a mental health day, think of a few activities that will help you reset and refresh. Many times clients tell me when a racist hate crime is breaking news in the media, their jobs don’t acknowledge the collective pain, and it's business as usual. Let your workplace know that you need time for yourself. It’s a great way to assert your healthy boundaries and get back to what's important, your health.
2. Unplug from Media
Take a social media break. Research suggests that Black people who have frequent exposure to the violence committed against other black people can have long-term mental health effects. Graphic videos can cause vicarious trauma for people of color. For African Americans, watching violence again someone who looks like them, combined with lived experiences of racism, can create severe psychological problems that can look like post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
3. Seek Therapy
Be empowered to put yourself first and seek therapy. Find someone whom you trust and who fits your values. For mental health services specific to Black wellness, check out Therapy for Black girls or Psychology Today and search for ‘African American therapists’.
Funeral providers are called upon to comfort the grief-stricken, offering compassionate care, helpful resources, and access to qualified professionals amid times of great suffering.
To that end, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services now offers grief counseling and other mental health services to the greater Baltimore community in collaboration with Leslie Holley, a celebrated, nationally-certified Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.
Our “Healing Hearts Program” includes regular social media posts, monthly blog articles, and quarterly workshops. All are provided to help our community learn about the grief cycle and how to move through the grieving process in a healthy way. These services are offered at no additional charge as part of the continuity of care represented in every package provided by Vaughn Greene Funeral Services.
About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.