Mental Health America Blog https://mhanational.org/ en Reimagining Self-Care for Black Folks https://mhanational.org/blog/reimagining-self-care-black-folks <span>Reimagining Self-Care for Black Folks</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/IMG_1922.jpeg" alt="Painting of an individual on some sort of structure with lots of colors." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Fri, 03/26/2021 - 16:01</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">April 15, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><i>This article was originally published on&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://kelechiubozoh.com&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1616868143790000&amp;usg=AFQjCNExIXRSMlcc7RT7KONcBPSX4hIClw" href="http://kelechiubozoh.com/" target="_blank">kelechiubozoh.com</a>&nbsp;and has been re-published on Mental Health America's website with permission.&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://kelechiubozoh.com/2020/06/04/reimagining-self-care/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1616868143790000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEIxe2ML7ClBHmpF5WsI_ArZs611g" href="https://kelechiubozoh.com/2020/06/04/reimagining-self-care/" target="_blank">Click here to read the original article</a>.</i></p> <p><em>By&nbsp;Kelechi Ubozoh, Mental Health Consultant, Writer, and Public Speaker</em></p> <p>There are thousands of thought-provoking pieces on the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter Movement, unemployment, civil unrest, police brutality, and the economy. Meanwhile, we are still here. Some of us barely holding on and feeling so much grief.</p> <p><strong>I am a black woman in deep pain</strong>. I’m watching the ongoing violence against my community and knowing that we are also dying at higher rates from this virus. What can we do about promoting our own healing? Holding space for all this discourse and our own mental health may feel unbearable.</p> <h3>Let me tell you something,&nbsp;your mental health is vital.</h3> <p>What is happening right now is&nbsp;<em>collective trauma</em>&nbsp;underscored by&nbsp;<em>generational trauma.</em>&nbsp;Every time I see photos, videos, and images of black folks being murdered that is a micro-trauma. I have to utilize healing-centered practices and coping skills to survive.</p> <p>We all process and cope in different ways. For me, when I say I’m actively engaging in self-care, that doesn’t mean a bubble bath. I’m a black woman living in America trying to navigate “the system” with my own historical trauma and survivorship (suicide, sexual violence).&nbsp;<strong>Self-care for me is a full-time job.</strong></p> <p>For me, it usually starts with a set of questions,&nbsp;<em>“Is this going to be helpful or harmful to my mental health?”</em></p> <p>I am someone “programmed” to value what other people think and need above my own health. That success means compartmentalizing and pushing through. (<em>And the Oscar goes to …</em>) I’ve been told that taking care of myself is “selfish” and that my productivity is tied to my worth. These are lies at best, and a way to keep me out of my own power and down the imposter syndrome rabbit hole.</p> <p>Some of my ongoing work includes building better healing centered practices of connecting with myself. This includes therapy and meditation (though that has been difficult lately).</p> <p>Here are my list of self-care considerations. They may sound simple, but they required a lot of “de-programming”. Know that you should do what works for you and listen to your own intuition. Please take what is helpful and leave what is not.</p> <h3>Reach out to trustworthy people who can hold space for you.</h3> <p>Not everyone can be supportive, even if they care deeply for you. Consider the people who show up and make it easy to be yourself. No performances or faking it, but to just be. This is not as easy when you are cast, “the strong black woman,” and asking for help is seen as weak. Those are lies. Silence and isolation can breed more pain. Connecting with ourselves and folks that are supportive of us is critical.</p> <h3>Connect with things that bring you joy or energy</h3> <p>It may be difficult to do right now or even feel impossible, but if you have capacity…I would recommend it. When one of my friends asked how she could support me, I said send me pictures of your baby laughing. I’m writing affirmations about my identity, capability, and worth defined by ME. I’m listening to music that feeds my soul, and watching media that energizes me rather than drains me. I’m watching&nbsp;<em>Insecure</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>The Photograph&nbsp;</em>(okay all Issa Rae), but things that promote positive and nuanced identities of black folks. I need our black love stories, supernatural stories, science-fiction stories, and other images of our existence not drenched in pain. It reminds me of the whole picture.</p> <h3>Ask yourself what you want and need right now, and then advocate for it</h3> <ul> <li>Do you need a break from work? Can you ask for time-off or an adjustable schedule? If not, can you use your Paid Time Off (PTO)?</li> <li>Is it time to explore therapy? Do you need peer support?</li> <li>Are you wanting to have deep facilitated conversations about racism and pain? Can you join a healing circle?</li> <li>Do you need to stop talking about racism and pain and have permission to check out?</li> <li>Do you want check-in text messages and phone calls from your friends and colleagues?</li> <li>Do you need to not respond to text messages and phone calls and go silent for awhile?</li> </ul> <p>Understand what you need from folks around you and make sure you communicate it.</p> <h3>Revisit your coping mechanisms and remove those that no longer serve you</h3> <p>I’m not here to judge your coping mechanisms, you needed them to survive and they served you at some point in your life. However, it may be time to evaluate if they are still helpful.</p> <p>My previous coping mechanisms included:</p> <ul> <li>Staying so busy with work projects or advocacy that I could avoid looking at my own feelings and emotions.</li> <li>People pleasing</li> <li>Avoiding all “conflict” or saying what I actually felt, because I felt I already knew the outcome would be unproductive. Sometimes people can surprise you and sometimes they don’t, but I won’t know this if I don’t use my voice. (*N<em>ote, for me it is still important to say what I think and feel to be authentic to me. I know not everyone has that luxury or safety.)</em></li> <li>Pouring all my concern and energy to “helping others” which left me emotionally starved (but feeling good because I could avoid paying attention to my own life)</li> <li>Numbing out emotion through food or binge watching Netflix</li> <li>Insert ________(so many more)</li> </ul> <h3>Allow yourself to feel your emotions and attend your physical needs</h3> <p>Whether I’m experiencing anguish or rage, I’m allowing myself to sit in those very uncomfortable spaces and release those feelings instead of stuffing them down. This also means paying attention to your body. Do you need to go for a walk? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you dehydrated? Are you holding pain somewhere physically that needs to be released? I’m a work in progress, but I’ve noticed if I don’t dedicate time and space to releasing, it spills out in ways that are not helpful.</p> <h3>Transform feelings of hopelessness to advocacy</h3> <p>Turning my despair into action helps my mental health and allows me to move that heavy energy toward something productive. Feeling your feelings is productive and checking out may be necessary. Both have a time and place. For those of you looking for ways to contribute through donations or education, I highly recommend this&nbsp;<a href="https://www.itsnicethat.com/news/resources-supporting-black-lives-matter-movement-creative-industry-010620">list&nbsp;</a>.</p> <p>I do also take breaks and enjoy unplugging with a good show or a book, but try not to use it to detach from myself.</p> <h3>Create boundaries for yourself of what works specifically for YOU</h3> <p>No. = A complete sentence.</p> <p>Telling someone no used to bring about panic, fear, and judgement. (Since I used to tie my worth to productivity and people-pleasing- it was super hard.) Boundaries are what helps me have honest, balanced, and healthy relationships. Here are some of the questions I ask myself to understand my boundaries.</p> <ul> <li>Am I doing this because I feel obligated, guilty, or pressured?</li> <li>Do I need to have this conversation right now?</li> <li>Does this drain me or give me energy?</li> <li>Do I need a break from social media, the news cycle, and certain conversations?</li> <li>Do I need to ___________(insert things), right now? Ever?</li> <li>Is it mine to do?</li> </ul> <p>Don’t forget to rest and breathe, drink water, and explore with your needs. Consider connecting with powerful black art, media, and music that showcase a different narrative of our stories and our strength. Add to this list and share what helps you. We need you.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/minority-mental-health" hreflang="en">BIPOC mental health</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/self-care" hreflang="en">self care</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19271&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="Jrc47mkMf525uc_1b354AsGam1wgmxgwGWC30OHrP84"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 26 Mar 2021 20:01:36 +0000 JCheang 19271 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/reimagining-self-care-black-folks#comments Going from Interest to Impact in Young People’s Mental Health https://mhanational.org/blog/going-interest-impact-young-peoples-mental-health <span>Going from Interest to Impact in Young People’s Mental Health</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-04/pexels-keira-burton-6147219.jpg" alt="Three students sitting on steps with books and laptops open." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Tue, 04/13/2021 - 10:33</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">April 14, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Kelly Davis, Associate Vice President of Peer and Youth Advocacy at Mental Health America</em></p> <p>Even before COVID-19, there was growing distress and a need for mental health resources among young people. Now, the need for these resources is becoming even more urgent. With the increasing attention and investment in youth mental health, we must use this momentum to make critical cultural changes to the field, including amplifying and expanding the ideas, leadership, and initiatives of young people.</p> <p>So often, young people's perspectives are excluded from resources that have profound impacts on their lives. While many young people are making changes in their communities, Mental Health America (MHA) <a href="https://mhanational.org/blog/new-report-young-peoples-mental-health-2020-hope-advocacy-and-action-future">research</a> has found that only 1 in 4 young people believe that they can make a difference in their communities' mental health. This lack of empowerment creates a significant gap, excluding the perspectives needed to change services and supports.</p> <p>We must understand where young people are and what they view as barriers in creating impact in awareness initiatives to peer support programs to policy leadership and more. As players in the field, organizations must lift young leaders' work and their voices. They must engage the many young people who want to make a difference but do not feel supported in doing so.</p> <p>To help fill this gap and create accessible resources, MHA's <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8ZSQZ7C">Youth Engagement Survey</a> is designed to identify young people's perspectives and mental health advocacy needs. This survey will inform new resources that support young people in making a difference in mental health, no matter their starting point.</p> <p>As we try to meet the needs of young people, we must listen to them and build resources that promote wellbeing and empowerment. We encourage our partners and leaders in the field to share the survey to help us create supports that empower young leaders to change the present and future of mental health.</p> <p>Complete and share the survey <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8ZSQZ7C">here</a>. The survey closes on Friday, April 30.</p> <p>Questions? Email Kelly Davis at <a href="mailto:kdavis@mhanational.org">kdavis@mhanational.org</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/youth-mental-health" hreflang="en">youth mental health</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19303&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="WuWojMGJrPoqoaJ5_EDu8MkPU49XwW8tu5XCPt9n_K8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 13 Apr 2021 14:33:21 +0000 JCheang 19303 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/going-interest-impact-young-peoples-mental-health#comments How Peer Support Can Support Asian American Communities https://mhanational.org/blog/how-peer-support-can-support-asian-american-communities <span>How Peer Support Can Support Asian American Communities</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-04/pexels-mentatdgt-1206059.jpg" alt="Group of girls laughing" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Mon, 04/12/2021 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">April 12, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Tea Tran, Facilitator at Lotus</em></p> <p>Peer support is having someone in your corner who you can come to for resources and support.&nbsp;</p> <p>The pandemic; tragic shootings; racism against Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and the rise in hateful violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) - all highlight the need for accessible, peer-led, emotional support. Peer support can make an impact in these types of crisis situations because you are talking to someone who just "gets it.” A person who has been there before and has experience navigating the system will know about a wider range of resources.</p> <p>Peer support can be a friendlier introduction to mental health; it can be more accessible and approachable than clinical services. Many people fall through the gaps in our current system because of financial barriers, culturally-illiterate care, and lack of therapeutic resources in general. Peer support catches folks who fall through the cracks and oftentimes is a resource for people who need compassionate care the most.&nbsp;</p> <p>In peer support, you can express yourself more freely knowing you will be heard by someone who has been there and survived. There is a certain social equity that is created. Lived experience and mutuality is at the heart of peer support. It is solidarity for one another, in action.&nbsp;</p> <p>In my own recovery process from a major car accident, peer support, along with therapy, has made all the difference. I am a traumatic brain injury and abuse survivor. I would not wish any of my experiences on a single living being, however, knowing that there are others who have a personal understanding of similar experiences has helped me feel less alone. Living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain from injuries, panic disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression is not easy.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even still, the social support and guidance from other peers helps me build resilience. I am more than my diagnosis. Sharing personal lived experience can lead to a profound shift--from telling an “illness story” to a “recovery story.” Peers can support their own recovery and that of others through practical and emotional support such as:</p> <ul> <li aria-level="1">using positive self-disclosure,</li> <li aria-level="1">inspiring hope,&nbsp;</li> <li aria-level="1">promoting empowerment and self-efficacy, and&nbsp;</li> <li aria-level="1">growing social networks.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>I have personally found joy in facilitating a peer-led group called <a href="https://peersupportspace.org/lotus">Lotus</a>, centering around the experiences of LGBTQ Asians. Each month we meet and check in with each other, share our thoughts on chosen or freeform topics, and strive to provide a safe, supportive space for all to express themselves freely. We honor the diverse diaspora of all Asian cultures as well as AAPI perspectives.&nbsp;</p> <p>Staying connected with people during a time where the world has varying degrees of self-isolation is critical. Having an identity-specific space where I can connect with others has been healing, cathartic, and empowering.&nbsp;</p> <p>Demonstrating the need for peer-led spaces, in the first two years of Peer Support Space, our peer spaces have been used over 8,000 times. In response to COVID-19, we shifted to virtual resources to continue providing support to an international community during a time of heightened distress.&nbsp;</p> <p>We welcome anyone looking for a peer support space to connect with others with shared lived experience. Check us out and join our chosen family and healing community. Visit <a href="https://peersupportspace.org/community-gatherings-1">Peer Support Space</a> to learn more about their resources.</p> <hr /> <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" style="width: 150px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td><img alt="" class="cc_cursor" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1819dc0d-714e-430f-ae90-b9306d2e2c4b" src="/sites/default/files/00-4.jpg" width="150" /></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Tea Tran is a facilitator of Lotus, an Asian LGBTQ peer support group with Peer Support Space.&nbsp; Tea is also a photographer and empowers clients to explore their best selves by providing a photoshoot experience and custom wall art galleries. She strives to create a safe space where you can discover more about yourself and provides support along your journey to peace through mental health advocacy. Tea serves the community through the arts as an LGBT female-owned small business owner with certifications in Diversity and Inclusion.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/minority-mental-health" hreflang="en">BIPOC mental health</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/peers" hreflang="en">peers</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19274&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="DqjoKW0y0N12bRWk6QwtFsteFo-a4jiCFXuPIAAEoFI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:00:34 +0000 JCheang 19274 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/how-peer-support-can-support-asian-american-communities#comments How Employees Can Advocate for Better Workplace Mental Health https://mhanational.org/blog/how-employees-can-advocate-better-workplace-mental-health <span>How Employees Can Advocate for Better Workplace Mental Health</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-02/mind%20the%20workplace%202.jpg" alt="A man and a woman in face masks talking at a table with another woman with a face mask with a laptop." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Fri, 02/26/2021 - 12:16</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">April 01, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>By Taylor Adams, Director of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">Mental Health America (MHA) recently released its <a href="https://mhanational.org/research-reports/2021-mind-workplace-report">Mind the Workplace 2021 Report</a> to highlight the mental health challenges that employees across company size and industry have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data is staggering – employees need more mental health supports at work. As an employee, it may feel like you do not have a lot of control over workplace mental health. However, there are things you can do! If you want to help improve mental health in your workplace, here are four ideas to consider:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Understand your workplace culture.</strong><br /> <br /> Workplace culture reflects an organization’s missions, values, and norms. Culture also dictates how informed or invested your company is in improving workplace mental health. Does your manager or your coworkers talk about mental health at work? Is leadership receptive to employee feedback? Did your company take employee well-being into account when responding to COVID-19? Would you describe your workplace as toxic with a capital “T”? Asking yourself these questions will help you better understand your company culture and identify the areas that need the most improvement. To help get started, the questions asked in MHA’s <a href="https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/work-health-survey/?ref">Work Health Survey</a> might help you initially frame your company culture.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Listen to and understand your coworkers’ needs.</strong><br /> <br /> Need mental health accommodations, not self-care packages? Need benefits that cover mental health services, not a training? There is often a discrepancy between what leaders think employees need and what employees actually need. For example, employers may offer an app to manage stress, but what employees really want is to feel accepted and connected with coworkers. Stress management tools serve an important purpose, but it is more important that the employer understands what tools or supports are needed. If your employer is not taking the initiative to understand employees’ needs, you can kickstart the process by closely listening and learning from your coworkers. Chances are they share many of the same concerns and stressors as you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Consider joining or establishing an Employee Resource Group for mental health.</strong><br /> <br /> Once you understand your company’s culture and specific needs, the next logical step is to organize a group of like-minded people and form an Employee Resource Group (ERG), working group, committee, or team. Recruit members who bring different perspectives, including race, gender, those with lived experience, and different levels within the organization. Focus on integrating mental health support and resources, in addition to bringing awareness within the organization. Opportunities to integrate resources include new hire orientation, management training, or professional development. Coordinate potential activities, responsibilities, and budget with HR and Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if possible. Finally, consider connecting with mental health organizations in your community. Many organizations offer workplace resources and training at little- to no-cost. A great place to start is with MHA’s 200+ <a href="http://www.mhanational.org/our-affiliates">Affiliate network</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Connect with leaders who are willing to listen.</strong><br /> <br /> A mental health movement can begin with one motivated and compassionate employee. Finding a leader within the organization who is willing to listen can turn thoughts into action. Many organizations have a designated wellness coordinator or HR representative to connect with about your concerns and goals. A place to start may be sharing MHA’s <a href="https://mhanational.org/get-involved/download-mind-workplace-2021-report">Mind the Workplace 2021 Report</a>. A successful ERG should have the ability to:</li> </ol> <ul> <li>request a budget that covers the costs to improve workplace mental health;</li> <li>outline clear expectations and allocate work hours for ERG’s responsibilities;</li> <li>provide feedback to upper management about findings or recommendations; and</li> <li>communicate regularly with management about anticipated changes based on the team’s feedback.</li> </ul> <p>Want to learn more? Please check out the following articles at <a href="http://www.mhanational.org/workplace">www.mhanational.org/workplace</a>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://mhanational.org/how-can-employees-promote-mental-health-workplace">How Can Employees Promote Mental Health in the Workplace?</a></li> <li><a href="https://mhanational.org/how-can-leadership-support-employees-who-promote-mental-health">How Can Leadership Support Employees Who Promote Mental Health?</a></li> </ul> <p class="text-align-center"><a class="btn btn-primary" href="https://mhanational.org/get-involved/download-mind-workplace-2021-report">Download the full Mind the Workplace 2021 Report</a></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19228&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="PQLMjT5xCEXIQ2j25daQt4pRB1HU_zUNvM0XtoVBhGI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:16:44 +0000 JCheang 19228 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/how-employees-can-advocate-better-workplace-mental-health#comments My Psychosis Worsens My Imposter Syndrome https://mhanational.org/blog/my-psychosis-worsens-my-imposter-syndrome <span>My Psychosis Worsens My Imposter Syndrome</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-03/thought-catalog-Nv-vx3kUR2A-unsplash.jpg" alt="Woman in room sitting on floor with laptop." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Mon, 03/15/2021 - 10:24</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">March 16, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Kat McIntosh, Manager of Global Peer Support at Mental Health America</em></p> <p>I have noticed a growing knowledge and awareness on imposter syndrome and the way it impacts various folks, particularly<a href="https://mhanational.org/blog/why-imposter-syndrome-goes-deep-multiracial-people"> BIPOC communities</a>. <a href="https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud">Imposter syndrome</a> (also known as impostor phenomenon) was first described by psychologists Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., and Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., in the 1970s, and is said to occur “<em>among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success</em>.”&nbsp;As a result, they <strong>may attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability&nbsp;and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud</strong>.</p> <p>The increase in available resources surrounding imposter syndrome is important in understanding this unique experience. I have found however my own lived experience lacking in these accounts. While being Black Caribbean has impacted my experience with imposter syndrome, my psychosis makes it worse.</p> <p>When Mental Health America (MHA) asked folks what<a href="https://imgur.com/ebwOCtK"> living with psychosis feels like</a>, some stated:</p> <ul> <li><strong>It is hard to trust your version of the world around you.</strong></li> <li><strong>People and things randomly become scary.</strong></li> <li><strong>You are paranoid about the world around you and don’t want to be.</strong></li> <li><strong>(You ask yourself) ...Is that real, or is that me?</strong></li> </ul> <p>In my own lived experience, psychosis symptoms are coupled with doubts in my perception of my reality, and filters into how I engage with my imposter syndrome. It has been my experience that psychosis in imposter syndrome can show up as:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Persistent thoughts of being judged</strong></li> <li><strong>Voices accusing you of being a fraud</strong></li> <li><strong>Increased anxiety at work due to fears of inadequacy</strong></li> <li><strong>Persistent thoughts of comparison to other people</strong></li> </ul> <p>When I experience these situations, I constantly find myself in a balancing act of checking in with myself to ensure that I perceive myself correctly and that I perceive my world correctly. If you too experience an intersection between your experience of psychosis and your experience of imposter syndrome, there are helpful methods that you can use.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Speaking to a trauma-informed therapist. </strong>By speaking to a trauma-informed therapist, you can find a safe space to explore your experience of imposter syndrome and psychosis. I have found that this space allows me to bring language to my experience and speak about specifics related to it such as - what do my voices tell me, and how does that impact my feelings of inadequacy that imposter syndrome brings? Your therapist can also give you helpful tips that can allow you to thrive in your daily life. <a href="https://mhanational.org/finding-therapy">Visit our website for a list of therapy providers.</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Attending a peer support group. </strong>By attending a peer support group, you can find a community of other individuals who may be experiencing similar experiences with psychosis. Peer support places value on lived experience. Sharing this experience with other peers can aid in your recovery journey and can even unlock a recovery journey for someone else.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Using ground techniques. </strong>Finding tricks that allow you to feel grounded can also help you with your experience. Grounding techniques for persons experiencing psychosis and imposter syndrome can include using senses to ground you back to reality, which then allows you to remind yourself that you are not an imposter. I have found that holding items such as crystals or a stress ball that engage my sense of touch while repeating positive affirming mantras allows me to ground myself to reality, and simultaneously reminds me that my imposter syndrome is not my entire reality.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Allowing your nervous system to reset. </strong>Sometimes our nervous system simply needs to take a break and reset. You can try finding a space where you feel safe that does not have sounds or lights (particularly if you are sensitive to these). You can also use sunglasses, blinds, or dark curtains to help with blocking out light. Noise-canceling headphones can also be great at blocking out sounds.&nbsp;Giving your nervous system a chance to reset can give you a chance to pause, and make space to work through your feelings of imposter syndrome.</li> </ul> <p>Living with psychosis and imposter syndrome can be difficult for anyone. When psychosis voices seem to worsen your feelings of inadequacy from imposter syndrome, it is important to remember to be kind to yourself. You are not alone, and you can find help and support. If you are unsure if you are experiencing psychosis, you can take MHA’s <a href="https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/psychosis/?ref">psychosis screening test</a>.</p> <h3>If You Are in Crisis, Please Seek Help Immediately.</h3> <p><em>Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, text MHA to 741741, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/psychosis" hreflang="en">psychosis</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19259&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="MDglh_SA-4kvB1Cv0dWtvWCUCy1JFc7NviNeiokSo4Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 15 Mar 2021 14:24:59 +0000 JCheang 19259 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/my-psychosis-worsens-my-imposter-syndrome#comments How the Equality of Peer Support Helped Me https://mhanational.org/blog/how-equality-peer-support-helped-me <span>How the Equality of Peer Support Helped Me</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-03/dah-party03_1.jpg" alt="Five disabled people of color with canes, prosthetic legs, and a wheelchair sit on a rooftop deck, laughing and sharing stories. Greenery and city high-rises are visible in the background." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Tue, 03/02/2021 - 09:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">March 05, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p class="cc_cursor"><em>Photo by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.chonakasinger.com/">Chona Kasinger</a>&nbsp;for <a href="https://affecttheverb.com/disabledandhere">Disabled And Here</a></em></p> <p class="cc_cursor"><em>By Katrina McIntosh,&nbsp;Manager for Global Peer Support at Mental Health America</em></p> <p>As a Black Caribbean queer woman, inclusivity has become fundamental to my existence. My Caribbean upbringing has allowed me to exist on an island where our anthem echoes the words, “here every creed and race finds an equal place.”</p> <p>And while in its truest forms, these words are beautiful, in reality this isn’t always the truth.</p> <p>My queer body has longed for a space where I could be accepted for who I am. My bipolar experience has needed a space where I can express the complexities of being black, queer, and bipolar, and receive support and acceptance.</p> <p>This is why peer support is important to me. In my first peer support experience, I cried with over 20 other peers with different identities and lived experiences, but who all honored equality and acceptance. I was able to openly express how my illness impacts my everyday experience and find support and welcoming.</p> <p>Peer support embraces equally-shared power.</p> <p>This is one of the fundamental principles of peer support. This means that in practice peer supporters engage with their team, members, and community in fundamental ways such as</p> <ul> <li>using language that reflects a mutual relationship,</li> <li>behaving in ways that reflect respect and mutuality,</li> <li>not expressing or exercising power over those they support, and</li> <li>not diagnosing or offering medical services but offering a complementary service.</li> </ul> <p>What makes peer support different from traditional clinical or social support is that it places value on lived experience. It recognizes that the lived experiences of individuals make them experts about their own mental health journeys and in determining their own self-care. Sharing this expertise with others can be the key that unlocks a recovery journey for someone else.&nbsp;</p> <p>Peer support is valuable, whether it is informal or formal. At Mental Health America, we offer training, support, and certifications to peers who want to use their experience and expertise to help others experiencing mental health challenges.</p> <p><strong>Visit our website at <a href="https://www.mhanational.org/center-peer-support">mhanational.org/cps</a> to learn more about our NCPS certification and Peer Partners program.</strong></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/peers" hreflang="en">peers</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19231&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="U_hzWAkag5LmSrcZ_lJiyw0jU-qiOU-CUakEhXBDbT8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 02 Mar 2021 14:54:42 +0000 JCheang 19231 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/how-equality-peer-support-helped-me#comments 5 Things Employers Need to Know from the Mind the Workplace 2021 Report https://mhanational.org/blog/5-things-employers-need-know-mind-workplace-2021-report <span>5 Things Employers Need to Know from the Mind the Workplace 2021 Report</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-02/mind%20the%20workplace%20blog%201.jpg" alt="A woman on her laptop working with a child jumping next to her on the couch." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Fri, 02/26/2021 - 12:09</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">March 04, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>by Taylor Adams,&nbsp;Director of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p>Mental Health America (MHA) recently released its <a href="https://mhanational.org/research-reports/2021-mind-workplace-report">Mind the Workplace 2021 Report</a> to better understand the mental health challenges that employees across company size and industry have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, MHA surveyed over 5,000 employees across 17 industries to learn more about workplace stress, burnout, supervisor support, and financial insecurity. Here are five things from the report that every employer needs to know, and steps they can take to promote a mentally healthier work environment.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Burnout is a serious mental health concern for employees.</strong><br /> <br /> If 2019 was the year that officially defined burnout, then 2020 was the year of living it. According to MHA’s report, 83% of employees feel emotionally drained from their work, and 25% of employees feel reduced professional efficacy and cynicism towards their jobs and coworkers. Of employees who strongly agreed that they feel emotionally drained by their work, 99% agreed that their workplace stress affects their mental health. If ignored, burnout can lead to more serious mental health concerns like anxiety or depression. &nbsp;<br /> <br /> An employer can help prevent or mitigate the impact of burnout on their employees by (1) educating and frequently communicating with managers and employees about the signs of burnout, (2) providing paid time off (PTO), workload management, and position flexibility to all staff, and (3) modeling healthy behaviors such as taking time off or talking openly about job stressors.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Supervisor support is critical to employee mental health.</strong><br /> <br /> Remember the expression “employees leave managers, not companies”? I would argue employees leave managers and companies (managers and company cultures can both be toxic), but there is no doubt that a fair and effective manager is crucial to an employee’s experience and well-being. I still remember the name of my first supervisor at age 17, simply because his poor and misguided management continues to motivate me to promote better workplace mental health now. Nine in 10 employees report that their workplace stress affects their mental health, but only 2 in 5 employees are receiving the support they need to help manage stress.<br /> <br /> If you are a supervisor, consider the following tips: (1) do not be afraid to provide emotional support, like asking “How are you feeling?”, (2) be flexible and realistic about your expectations for direct reports, (3) stay connected with coworkers, particularly in high-stress or remote work environments, and (4) practice self-care, because you deserve emotional support too.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Changing work environments and routines are affecting employee engagement.</strong><br /> <br /> Work environments have drastically changed over the last year, including the addition of personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing in workplace settings, and shifts to remote work environments. Employees may also have lost childcare services, are homeschooling their children, or are sharing a workspace with spouses, partners, or parents.<br /> <br /> MHA’s 2020 survey results reveal that over 65% of employees find it difficult to concentrate because of their work environment, compared to 46% of respondents in 2018. Also, over 56% of employees reported that they spend time looking for a new position, compared to 40% of respondents in 2018. Fortunately, employees who feel acknowledged and accepted at work are less likely to seek out other employment opportunities.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Most employers are not providing a safe environment for employees who live with mental health conditions.</strong><br /> <br /> For employees who live with mental health conditions, this report’s findings likely come as no surprise. Mental illness in the workplace is often misunderstood and kept quiet, which isn’t exactly conducive to creating a welcoming environment for the people who navigate these issues daily. Over 56% of employees did not feel like their employers provide a safe and welcoming environment for employees who live with mental illnesses. Less than 5% of respondents strongly agreed with this statement. Five percent!<br /> <br /> Creating a welcoming environment for employees who live with mental health conditions requires a change in culture, and changing culture requires thoughtful leadership and substantial investment. If your workplace is interested in an assessment of its mental health practices, check out MHA’s <a href="https://mhanational.org/bestemployers">Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health</a> at <a href="http://www.mhanational.org/bestemployers">www.mhanational.org/bestemployers</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Employees are feeling the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.</strong><br /> <br /> According to the report, 58% of employees worry about not having enough money to pay for their living expenses, and 2 in 3 employees cannot save for an emergency. In addition, 34% of employees cannot afford their health care costs. Federal and state minimum wage legislation and poverty guidelines have historically failed to meet employees’ realistic financial needs. Economic insecurity is a well-documented socioeconomic determinant of health, and the pandemic’s effects on employee well-being only reinforces the need to alleviate position and financial insecurity for employees through policy change.<br /> <br /> In 2020, Congress passed a series of COVID-19 relief packages to alleviate the economic fallout of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the stimulus payments to individuals served as a temporary and inadequate solution for systemic wage and income equality. MHA supports systemic change in minimum wage and income equality policy to ensure all employees feel financially secure, especially in the event of a traumatic event or emergency, such as a global pandemic.</li> </ol> <p><strong>To learn more about the 2020 survey findings, download the full <a href="https://mhanational.org/get-involved/download-mind-workplace-2021-report">Mind the Workplace 2021 report</a>. </strong></p> <p><strong>If your organization is ready to make mental health a priority for your employees, check out <a href="http://www.mhanational.org/bestemployers">MHA’s Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health</a>.</strong></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19227&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="hyib0-s9uQy_56Fprdf1AtYq_iCBlthmwuJ4ThwPOsQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 26 Feb 2021 17:09:33 +0000 JCheang 19227 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/5-things-employers-need-know-mind-workplace-2021-report#comments Love Milestones and the Inevitable Roadblocks https://mhanational.org/blog/love-milestones-and-inevitable-roadblocks <span>Love Milestones and the Inevitable Roadblocks</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-02/road.png" alt="Road" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Mon, 02/22/2021 - 15:50</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">February 25, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="border:none"><em>By Morgane Freeman, Marketer/Podcaster/Mental Health Advocate</em></p> <p>We all have an age in our heads when we know we will supposedly have our life together. That is the age when we will have the job we always wanted, the home of our dreams, the earth-shatter romance, etc. (Mine is 35, which is just four years away.) As we strive to reach these milestones, there will inevitably be some roadblocks hindering the journey.&nbsp;</p> <p>If 2020 has taught us all anything, it’s to be flexible. The milestones of love and happiness are different for everyone. And the lessons are just as unique. Perhaps your journey leads you to an occasionally challenging but blissful romance that lasts a lifetime. Maybe it leads to divorce and then a more joyful marriage - or it might lead to a fulfilling single life in your 50s. Wherever life takes you, the following milestones are likely to occur. Personally, I’ve experienced each of these in one way or another.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Your First Crush</strong></p> <p>There is a special someone that has your eye. You get butterflies when that person smiles at you. You feel like you can do just about anything in the world. But what if they are smiling at the person behind you? So, your crush doesn’t like you back? You receive a no to your homecoming date invite? (That last one is very personal.) Or, what if they have another special someone in their life? Well, they were not for you—no need to waste time fantasizing about the what-ifs. Your crush can just be a crush. It lets you know your heart is ready and willing to explore a new relationship with someone.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Your First Fight</strong></p> <p>Disagreements are common in any relationship, even friendship. Arguments are bound to happen. The emotion of a debate reveals the passions and concerns of your partner.&nbsp;However, what if you never really fight? Perhaps you or your partner are walking on eggshells about your true feelings. Not being open and honest reasonably early in a relationship might lead to a significantly damaging fight down the road. This can quickly disrupt and possibly ruin your relationship. Having a passionate discussion is powerful. It puts your communication skills to the test, allowing you and your partner to engage in an otherwise uncomfortable conversation by addressing both parties’ feelings.</p> <p><strong>Your First Trip</strong></p> <p>Though traveling isn’t quite a thing at the moment, taking time away from your regular routine can show you a new side of your partner. Sharing a romantic getaway with your sweetie might seem like well...a pleasure cruise. But it also might turn into a nightmare. You’ll quickly learn if your partner is a plan-ahead kind of person or a take-things-as-it-comes type of person. No fun in the sun with your partner? Fear not; it just may not be in your budget or your relationship’s journey.</p> <p><strong>Proposal/Wedding Planning</strong></p> <p>I once was told that the months or days after a proposal are likely the happiest you’ll ever be in a relationship. You both know where you stand. It’s a genuine and honest place, hopefully. You two feel like you can take on the world. Until friends, family, and your past get involved. Wedding planning is stressful enough as it is - without adding in outside opinions. If the dating relationship doesn’t end with a proposal but ends in heartbreak, once the tears dry, your heart will feel normal again. Consider all the lessons you’ve learned from your partner. Perhaps you learned how you wanted to be treated or not be treated. You’ve learned what you love in a partner and what you could do without. You’ve grown and evolved as a person as well.</p> <p>Whether you reach these love milestones or not, you’ll develop your cadence. Romantic comedies will have you viewing romance through a rose-colored filter when in fact, love is a commitment—a long-term relationship and friendship with your partner. As you hit or miss the aforementioned milestones, you are a step closer to your happy place. It might not be every day filled with love and bliss, but you’ll find your rhythm in love and happiness.</p> <p><em>Morgane Freeman, MS, is a Social Media Specialist in the Financial Industry. She has a BA in Communications from Wilberforce University and MS in Marketing from SNHU. Morgane resides in the Kansas City, MO area. In her free time, she’s the host of <a href="https://www.youngblackmrs.com/">Young Black MRS</a>, a wife, plant-based cook, and a mental health advocate.&nbsp;</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/relationships" hreflang="en">relationships</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19222&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="QG3WpaSzBGLBGL3K4z8xAS94whAd1Ai91oCX-4n5K8o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 22 Feb 2021 20:50:04 +0000 JCheang 19222 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/love-milestones-and-inevitable-roadblocks#comments Confronting Barriers and Systemic Racism to Address Mental Health Among Black Youth https://mhanational.org/blog/confronting-barriers-and-systemic-racism-address-mental-health-among-black-youth <span>Confronting Barriers and Systemic Racism to Address Mental Health Among Black Youth</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-02/A%20non-binary%20student%20taking%20notes%20in%20class.jpg" alt="A non-binary student taking notes in class" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/18/2021 - 12:13</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">February 23, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Erlanger Turner, Ph.D., Executive Director, <a href="https://www.therapyforblackkids.org/">Therapy for Black Kids</a> and Nekolas Milton, M.S., Doctoral Student at the University of San Francisco</em></p> <p>Historically, seeking therapy in the Black community has been a taboo subject. Due to more conversations on social media, celebrities disclosing their own mental health, and more Black professionals entering the field, we have seen the tide turn.</p> <p><strong>Racism is a Factor</strong></p> <p>Black Americans are becoming more open to seeking therapy, but some challenges remain. For example, racism is pervasive in America and this can cause challenges navigating the mental health system. When we consider racism, it is important to understand that racism occurs in many forms. Several types of racism have been described that may impact access to care among the Black community: individual-level racism, which is synonymous with racial prejudice (assuming that one’s self is superior to other races); institutional racism, which is revealed in and practiced within organizations and institutions leading to discrimination of groups of people; and cultural racism, which is seen in the assumed superiority of a language or dialect, values, beliefs, worldviews, and cultural artifacts dominate in a society (Jones &amp; Neblett, 2019; Turner, 2019).</p> <p><strong>Accessibility, Availability, and Appropriateness of Services Are Additional Barriers</strong></p> <p>In addition to the impact of racism on access to services, other barriers may influence use of treatment among Black families. Some research (e.g., Turner, 2019; Turner, Malone, &amp; Douglas, 2019) has noted the role of multiple factors associated with treatment seeking, including accessibility factors (structural variables that may influence an individual’s ability to access treatment), availability factors (examines access to culturally competent services), appropriateness factors (examines how individuals view mental health problems as requiring treatment), and acceptability factors (captures variables such as stigma and cultural mistrust).</p> <p>Over the last year, the pandemic and racial injustice may have amplified these barriers and placed more Black youth at increased risk for limited access to therapy. It may be particularly difficult for Black parents to feel comfortable seeking therapy from a non-Black therapist due to mistrust. It is more important than ever for the mental health community to understand these barriers and transform systems to ensure the needs of Black youth are met.</p> <p><strong>The Impact of COVID-19 on Black Youth </strong></p> <p>While anxiety, depression, and suicide in children and teens in America have been rising in the last few years, the current COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these numbers. In regards to depression,&nbsp; <a href="https://www.mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america">9.7% of youth in the U.S. have severe major depression, compared to 9.2% in last year’s dataset.</a> While this is true across the board, certain historically marginalized groups have felt the brunt of the impact. While white youth still die by suicide at a higher rate, <a href="https://mhanational.org/sites/default/files/2021%20State%20of%20Mental%20Health%20in%20America_0.pdf">the rate of Black youth suicide is increasing faster than any other racial or ethnic group.</a></p> <p>Black children and adolescents are overrepresented among families with social inequities. The pandemic-related physical health, mental health, economic and social consequences increased stress in black families. Some factors contributing to increased mental health concerns are listed below:</p> <ul> <li>Black Americans are more likely to know individuals who have died from COVID-19. <a href="https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/mental-health-disparities-among-black-americans-during-covid-19-pandemic">This includes a disproportionate number of Black youths who have experienced the loss of a loved one.</a></li> <li>Black youths may have adverse experiences in the home. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7306718/">There is a well-known impact of unemployment and increased financial strain that contributes to child neglect and domestic violence.</a></li> <li>The lack of social connectedness can <a href="https://www.childrensmn.org/2020/07/16/covid-19-trauma-mental-health-struggles-among-black-teens/">exacerbate anxiety and depression among children and teens</a>.</li> </ul> <h4>Tackling Current Approaches to Training&nbsp;&amp; Treatment to Improve Care</h4> <p><strong>“Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First”</strong></p> <p>As mental health providers, we are not exempt from feeling the effects of COVID-19. It is important that we are checking in with ourselves to<a href="https://mhanational.org/blog/can-i-really-be-burnt-out-because-working-home"> prevent burnout</a>. This is especially true at the trainee stage. &nbsp;When you travel on a plane, you hear the instructions from flight attendants: “should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.” The same concept goes for working with Black youth and other historically marginalized groups. While “putting on your oxygen mask first” can mean engaging in self-care practices, it also can mean doing your own homework to better serve Black youth.</p> <p><strong>Recognize and Mitigate Racial Trauma</strong></p> <p>Mental health providers have an important role to play in helping to mitigate and heal the impact of racial trauma on Black communities in the context of COVID-19. Recognizing what is racial trauma can be a first step. Many accounts from student trainees, colleagues, and professionals <a href="https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/bc1/schools/lsoe/sites/isprc/racialtraumaisreal.pdf">demonstrate a lack of awareness, knowledge, and the practical skills necessary to competently address racial trauma in mental health settings. </a>To our knowledge, few training programs explicitly cover this content in their coursework. This often places the burden on professionals to learn after entering the field. Furthermore, it can lead to a risk of inadequate care for Black youth.</p> <p>In our view, it is important that institutions are implementing new procedures, training, and decisions in response to improving care with historically marginalized groups. When providing clinical care, it is critical to consider <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2020-41729-001.pdf">cultural identity, with a focus on inherent strengths and previous experiences of resiliency of the individual and their community.</a> It is important to establish a <a href="https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/bc1/schools/lsoe/sites/isprc/racialtraumaisreal.pdf">Racism Recovery Plan (RRP)</a> to learn how to identify, cope, and manage racial trauma.</p> <p><strong>Broaden Treatment Approaches with Black Youth</strong></p> <p>Regarding treatments and interventions, we urge mental health professionals to also broaden their approaches to treatment with Black youth. Given the limited diversity of the profession, it is important for all therapists to improve their ability to work with diverse therapy clients. The field generally focuses on cultural competence through increasing awareness around biases and cultural differences. Williams (2019) articulates that simply teaching facts about cultural differences between racial and ethnic groups is not adequate to achieve cultural competence. Training at the graduate level and post-graduate level should move to more experiential activities.</p> <p>Experiential activities can help to reduce inter-racial anxieties through disconfirmation of cognitive distortions and habituation to feared stimuli such as talking about race (Williams, 2019). Finally, more work needs to be done on examining the use of culturally appropriate treatments based on principles within Black psychology that integrate the whole person, spirituality, and community (Belgrave &amp; Berry, 2016).</p> <p>If we truly want to transform the system and meet the needs of underserved communities, we must begin to shift our approaches to training and educating mental health providers.</p> <hr /> <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" style="width: 150px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="text-align-center"><img alt="" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="be593aa6-5bd6-42d3-bada-ce6e3aa192c5" height="171" src="/sites/default/files/Dr.%20Earl%20Turner%20Headshot%202021.png" width="133" /></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Erlanger “Earl” Turner, Ph.D. (He/Him) is a licensed psychologist and an assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. He is also Executive Director and Founder of <a href="https://www.therapyforblackkids.org/">Therapy for Black Kids</a>. His research focuses on mental health among racial and ethnic communities, access to behavioral health services, and the impact of racism on mental health. He has served in numerous roles within the&nbsp;American Psychological Association (APA) including served as the 2017 Chair of the APA Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interests and on the Board of Directors for APA Division 53 (Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology). Dr. Turner is also the Past-President of the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice and is the first African American male to serve in that role. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" style="width: 150px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="text-align-center"><img alt="" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="cf878d60-794f-4c52-a1ea-0a7ca28691b1" height="212" src="/sites/default/files/Neko%20Milton%20photo%20(1).JPG" width="150" /></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Nekolas “Neko” Milton (He/Him) is a PsyD candidate at the University of San Francisco. He is currently completing his predoctoral internship at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology (CMTP) at Boston Medical Center and the Boston University School of Medicine. He is currently the student representative on the APA Division 37 Board of Directors. His clinical interests include working with infant and early childhood mental health. He will be a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA TIES for Families providing culturally responsive trauma-informed care to foster/adoption youth. His research interests include cultural identity development and mental health concerns among Black and Deaf communities. Neko's future goals include providing culturally competent services as a health service psychologist working in an integrated hospital setting or community mental health center, with a focus on providing services to underserved populations. </em></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Sources</strong></p> <p>Belgrave, F. Z., &amp; Berry, B.M. (2016). Community approaches to promoting positive mental health and psychosocial well-being. In A.M. Breland-Noble, C.S. Al-Mateen, &amp; N.N. Singh (Eds.), Handbook of mental health in African American youth. Springer International Publishing.</p> <p>Jones, S.C.T., &amp; Neblett, E.W. (2019). The impact of racism on mental health of people of color. In M. Williams, D. Rosen, &amp; J. Kanter (Eds.), <em>Eliminating race-based mental health disparities: Promoting equity and culturally responsive care across settings</em>. New Harbinger Press.</p> <p>Turner, E.A. (2019). <em>Mental health among African Americans: Innovations in research and practice</em>. Rowman &amp; Littlefield.</p> <p>Turner, E.A., Malone, C., &amp; Douglas, C. (2019). Barriers to mental health care for African Americans: Applying a model of treatment initiation to reduce disparities. In M. Williams, D. Rosen, &amp; J. Kanter (Eds.), <em>Eliminating race-based mental health disparities: Promoting equity and culturally responsive care across settings</em>. New Harbinger Press.</p> <p>Williams, M. T. (2019). Cultural competence 101: Teaching about race and racism. In M. Williams, D. Rosen, &amp; J. Kanter (Eds.), <em>Eliminating race-based mental health disparities: Promoting equity and culturally responsive care across settings</em>. New Harbinger Press.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/minority-mental-health" hreflang="en">BIPOC mental health</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19220&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="BUdAoUHR_kq_Hs2SWHRvQ1Mp2Ppy3zgN7QvWN7mAyYc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 18 Feb 2021 17:13:58 +0000 JCheang 19220 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/confronting-barriers-and-systemic-racism-address-mental-health-among-black-youth#comments Mental Health America Turns 112: A Hopeful Birthday https://mhanational.org/blog/mental-health-america-turns-112-hopeful-birthday <span>Mental Health America Turns 112: A Hopeful Birthday</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-02/pexels-spemone-226718.jpg" alt="Pink balloons facing the sky" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/18/2021 - 14:07</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">February 19, 2021 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>By Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO</em></p> <p>Mental Health America (MHA) is celebrating its 112th birthday. There were times in our history when we could not have imagined getting to this day. But not only are we still here, we find ourselves emerging from one of the most consequential years in our history.</p> <p>That is worth more reflection. But first think about who we were in 1909 when MHA was founded by a young, white man with lived experience. Much of Clifford Beers’ vision is still relevant today – that all children should have access to mental health screening and services, that prisons should not be used as mental health facilities, and that mental health professionals, not sheriffs and police, should manage mental health programs.</p> <p>Otherwise, our society was very different in 1909. We were still a decade away from women gaining the right to vote and a century away from women serving at the highest levels of our legislative and executive branches of government. And in much of the country the mental health service delivery system – already segregated from the general health care system – was further segregated by race.</p> <p><strong>It is impossible to think about our history without understanding the distance we have traveled.</strong></p> <p>Today, young people still use our resources more than any other group. But it is young women – not young men – who are driving so much of our work. As a group, women have brought awareness of mental health forward in recent years. And they are challenging men to catch up.</p> <p>And today, we understand that the racist and discriminatory systems that we often took for granted through much of the last century have left an indelible mark on our society’s mental health. While all racial and ethnic groups have experienced the loneliness, financial stress, grief, loss, and worry that have characterized this past year, different population groups are experiencing these things far differently.</p> <p>How they respond is not only due to the “free” choices they make today, but also to the choices that have been made by generations of policy leaders that resulted in inequitable and discriminatory systems that limited access to affordable, appropriate, high-quality services and supports.</p> <p><strong>Still, this past year has challenged all our prior notions of “normal.”</strong></p> <p>What that has done is to draw attention our way. It is pushing more people than ever to talk about mental health. It is pushing employers to support employee mental health. It is pushing media to report on mental health. It is pushing communities to protect mental health.</p> <p>And, most importantly, it is pushing policy leaders to invest in mental health.</p> <p><strong>On this MHA birthday, we have more reason for hope.</strong></p> <p>This is because in the worst of years we can see more clearly all that needs to be done to build a better foundation for our current and future generations. And this truly has been one of the worst of years for all too many people. So, our eyes are now opened wide and we can see just how weak the foundations of our systems have been. &nbsp;</p> <p>At MHA, we have been working on changing that by building some new foundations that we hope will prove to support more equitable structures over time. And we have reason to celebrate because so many people are working together with us in realizing our vision. Together, we are looking forward to better systems and structures on the horizon. Happy birthday, MHA!</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health" hreflang="en">mental health</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health-policy" hreflang="en">mental health policy</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19221&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="UBvyiymXw4zEat7kZs-I-D78aA1zYqcSMYcDBXAEnjs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 18 Feb 2021 19:07:32 +0000 JCheang 19221 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/mental-health-america-turns-112-hopeful-birthday#comments