Mental Health Resources for the Black Community
Given the state of the world at this time, it’s more important then ever for people to take care of their mental health. In the past, I’ve written several articles about therapy — from clearing up misconceptions to finding affordable options. What needs to be specifically addressed, however, is the lack of accessibility to and the higher levels of stigma around mental health services in the Black community.
In Black communities, the stigma around mental health is usually higher than other (mainly White) communities. According to a 2008 study, it is taught early on that “Blacks should be able to handle any adversity, so having mental health problems was incompatible with Black values of strength, resilience, and religious faith.” Often, the Church is emphasized as the only appropriate source of support outside the family. Because of these and other stigmatizing views of mental illness and the mental health system, many Black Americans receive little to no information about mental health issues and what information they do get is often skewed or incorrect.
While access to mental health services can be difficult for many populations, it is especially hard for Black people. According to the American Psychiatric Association, barriers include:
- Stigma associated with mental illness
- Distrust of the health care system
- Lack of providers from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds
- Lack of culturally competent providers
- Lack of insurance, underinsurance
It has also been shown that Black people feel more comfortable with a mental health provider who is also Black, yet as of 2013 only 5.3% of psychologists were Black/African American vs. 83.6% being White. Even if a Black person wanted to focus on their mental health, it’s even harder for them to know where to start.
The following list contains podcasts, therapist directories, and social organizations. Within each, you can often find further resources, so take some time and find ones that speak to you. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you are aware of any other helpful resources, please leave them in the comments and I will update the list!
Balanced Black Girl: a wonderful podcast highlighting wellness from the Black woman’s perspective. Podcast episodes can be found in the link in bio on Instagram (link above). They also recently compiled and released an incredibly thorough community healing resource guide that is free to download.
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM): According to their mission statement, BEAM is “a training, movement building and grant making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.” There are numerous trainings, videos, and resources tailored to specific issues in the Black community. Currently, many are available free to the community online.
Black Men Heal: offers limited and selective FREE mental health care for Black men.
Black Mental Wellness: the mission of Black Mental Wellness is to “provide access to evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective, to highlight and increase the diversity of mental health professionals, and to decrease the mental health stigma in the Black community.”
Ethel’s Club: A digital membership club for people of color. For $17 a month, you can access numerous events, articles, join a book club or writing group, and connect with other members around the world.
The Hey Girl Podcast: hosted by Alexandra Elle (who you should also follow on Instagram), this podcast features conversations with a diverse collection of people who inspire her. The episodes are roughly around 30 minutes, which is a good length to listen to if you’re pressed for time.
Inclusive Therapists: a helpful website that allows you to locate a therapist that celebrates your identity. “We are social justice-oriented professionals that are boldly: anti-discrimination, anti-oppression, anti-stigma, anti-racist & anti-ablest. We are an activist movement pursuing equity, justice and liberation in mental health care.”
Melanin and Mental Health: searchable directory of Black mental health professionals in your area, free resources, and regular events.
NAMI’s Sharing Hope Program: an hour-long presentation that can help increase mental health awareness in African American communities by addressing a number of important topics. This link is to information on how to get involved in presenting the program, but here is a link to their printable presentation Sharing Hope: An African American Guide to Mental Health.
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network: searchable directory of over 145 Queer and Trans therapists of color in your area.
POC Online Classroom: a list of resources and readings on the importance of self care, mental health care, and healing for people of color and within activist movements.
Sista Afya: a Chicago-based organization that works to help provide mental health services and raise awareness through education, large events, merchandise, and therapy for individuals and groups.
Therapy for Black Girls: working to help break the stigma around mental health in the black community, Therapy for Black Girls “presents mental health topics in a way that that feels more accessible and relavent.” They also have a successful podcast and Instagram account by the same name.
Therapy for Queer People of Color: a searchable directory for mental health providers proficient in dealing with Queer people of color.