Learning about the history of systemic racism during Black History Month - and all year - in the mental health system and movement and how it harms Black communities in the US and around the world is key for creating a mentally healthier world.
We are highlighting Black and African American contributions to the mental health movement because they are oftentimes overlooked. Without recognizing the lack of representation of Black and African American people in the mental health movement, we do a disservice and continue to inflict harm.
Learning about the history of systemic racism during Black History Month* - and all year - in the mental health system and movement and how it harms Black communities in the US and around the world is key for creating a mentally healthier world.
This is a non-exhaustive list of Black and African American mental health resources.
*Note: MHA uses "Black History Month" as opposed to African American History Month to acknowledge the contributions of Black people whose ancestry is unknown or who do not identify as African.
The podcast HISTORY This Week explores what happened in 1840 as U.S. Marshals went door to door conducting the sixth-ever census in the United States. That marked the first time the U.S. government included a question about mental health. The results were tragic and long-lasting. Twenty-one years before the Civil War erupted, with over two million enslaved people in America, the question fed and upheld a racist and pernicious lie that was spreading throughout America at the time: freedom causes African Americans to go insane.
Mental health resources for Black and African Americans
- The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation: changing the perception of mental illness in the African-American community by encouraging people to get the help they need; focuses on stigma/self-stigma reduction and building trust between Black people and the mental health field.
- Resource Guide: directory of mental health providers and programs that serve the Black community; includes therapists, support groups, etc, but also digital content, faith-based programs, educational programs, etc.
- Therapy for Black Girls: online space encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls; referral tool to find a therapist in your area
- Therapist Directory: find trusted therapists that can help you navigate being a strong, Black woman; can search for an in-office therapist by your location or a virtual therapist
- Therapy for Black Girls Sister Circle: a paid membership community ($9.99/mo), a space for Black women to gather support, encourage, and learn from each other
- Therapy for Black Girls Podcast: The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly chat about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions to become the best possible versions of ourselves
- The Loveland Foundation: financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy
- Therapy for Black Men: primarily a therapist directory for Black men seeking therapy; includes some resources and stories
- Dr. Ebony's My Therapy Cards: self-exploration card deck created by a Black female psychologist for other women of color; created with the intention of helping other women of color grow and elevate in the areas of emotional and mental health
- InnoPsych: InnoPsych's mission is to bring healing to communities of color by changing the face and feel of therapy. They strive to make therapists of color more visible in the community by creating a path to wellness-themed business ownership; to make it faster (and easier) for people of color to match with a therapist of color; and to create a major shift in how communities of color (or POCs) view therapy
- Black Emotional and Mental Health (BEAM): BEAM is a training, movement-building, and grant-making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness, and liberation of Black communities. BEAM envisions a world where there are no barriers to Black Healing.
- Toolkits & Education: graphics on accountability, self-control, and emotional awareness; journal prompts; articles on Black mental health
- BLD PWR: engages pop culture, education, and activism to build and train an inclusive community of entertainers and athletes to advance radical social change. BLD PWR partners with grassroots causes and organizations at the intersections of gender, immigration, economic, educational, environmental, and racial justice movements
- The AAKOMA Project: works with teenagers and their families to raise awareness, conduct patient-centered research, and encourage young people to begin conversations in their communities
- The NotOK App™: a digital panic button that takes the guesswork out of asking for help when you're feeling vulnerable
- Couched in Color Podcast: Couched in Color is a weekly show designed to encourage dialogue on the mental health needs of youth and young adults of color
- Depressed While Black: founded by writer and mental health advocate Imadé (ee-MAH-day), envisions a world where people of African descent heal from severe depression through Black-affirming mental health support and advocacy