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Black Mental Health

Updated: Mar 13

As the current events of racism and violence unfold I find myself reflecting on what to say. I realize however that the position to be able to reflect on this as opposed to having to fight and protest for my life if one of privilege.

Did recent events incite me to be more vocal? Yes. But this cannot be about me telling you what I’ve been doing in the past to do anti-racism work. That doesn’t matter, it’s not about performative allyship. Moving forward I need to do better as a white person, beyond the events unfolding. I can always do better and this text is surely not perfect, it is not enough. I want to learn and do better. There are, however, a few things I wanted to share.

Black people do not need to hear our shock and disgust. Racism is not shocking; they live it every day. What is more helpful is taking action, having conversations with our white people, donating to organizations supporting Black rights, lives, movements, businesses, livelihoods. Racism is a system that benefits all of us as white people and has been around forever. It is nothing new.

Black people do not owe us their trauma for the sake of our education. We cannot put the onus on them to teach us how to do the work; Google is our friend, the story highlights and posts of Black educators are a resource that does not require demanding emotional labour from them. There are a myriad of Black scholars, activists and educators we can find if we search for them. If we are consuming information and learning from Black people, it is important to pay for it. Their time and emotional bandwidth are not free. Especially during this time, they are emotionally exhausted. In the same vein, it is important to talk amongst ourselves as white people and share resources but we must be mindful of how white people can be harmful in Black spaces. We cannot send racist or ignorant people to a Black educator’s social media platform in the hopes that this educator will educate and take care of that racist. We must collect and call in our own.

It is also important to remember that anti-racism is not a hobby or an aesthetic; speaking up against injustice is never “off-brand” and it if loses us followers I hope we never wanted those people in our space in the first place. Our silence speaks volumes, we must use our voice and not just hide behind reposts or vague quotes about love and light. Name racism for what it is, use the term Black people if you mean Black people instead of POC. However, it is a balance. We must speak out but we must also prioritize and amplify Black voices and narratives without centering white feelings. It does not matter how we feel, it matters what we do and how we support the Black people in our lives and everywhere.

I need to do better, I am always learning. I need to take this renewed conviction recent events has give me and carry it forward in my anti-racism in the future, beyond current circumstances. We all need to do better, we can always do better.

Finally I’d like to promote the fundraiser I have started, raising money for Black girls and women to access therapy. Black women and girls face unique traumas and barriers to accessing mental healthcare. As someone who works in mental health I know the importance or professional support to processing and healing from trauma. If you don’t think racism and violence is traumatic for the Black community, educate yourself. Please consider donating, there is also an option to set up a recurring donation. Any amount helps.

(Please reach out to me if you want help finding resources, I am by no means an expert but we can navigate it together and I have some resources to suggest.)

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