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5 Self-Care Communities Dedicated to Promoting Black Women’s Mental Health

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Briona LambackJune 10, 2020

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Many states are opening their economies and people are slowly returning to work, but Black people are heading back to the office bearing the burden of extra layers of toxicity, apart from the usual microaggressions we encounter. In addition to Black Americans disproportionately dying from COVID-19, in the past months, we have also been repeatedly inundated with traumatizing imagery of Black bodies being brutalized.

For several weeks now, those images and video clips have been dominating news cycle and performative allyship on social media has become rampant. Together, this has compounded on the energy required to weather the otherwise ubiquitous snide comments about our hair or being deemed a threat by the Amy Coopers of the world simply for existing in our skin. Simply put, the endless scrolling of Black suffering has been exhausting.

Sure, there is hope for change in the fact that many non-Black people are finally waking up to the reality that police brutality was a problem of pandemic proportions in America long, long before anyone even heard of COVID-19. But, white people, you need to understand that your Black colleagues are not okay and there is no post-pandemic “new normal” for us right now that doesn’t include racism. We have always skillfully navigated racism in the streets and at work because we were born with America’s knee on our necks. And while learning this all at once may well be overwhelming, Black people haven’t had the privilege of taking a beat.

While learning all at once may well be overwhelming, we haven’t had the privilege of taking a beat. So, fellow Black women, if you need to take a mental health day, you should.

So, fellow Black women, if you need to take a mental health day, you should. And if you need ideas for how to spend it, consider joining one of the five self-care communities for Black women outlined below.

Below, find 5 self-care communities for Black women worth exploring.

1. Therapy for Black Girls

Police kill more than 300 Black Americans each year in the U.S., and according to a 2018 study, these murders detrimentally affect the mental health of the general population of Black Americans. However, therapy has long been deemed taboo in our community, and affordability of therapy services also plays a significant role in the lack of mental health support that Black people tend to seek.

That’s where Therapy for Black Girls comes in: It’s an online community with a podcast and an Instagram page full of tips that not only destigmatize but also encourage mental wellness for Black women. You can find helpful daily reminders on the Instagram page that double as uplifting messages, like “Take a deep breath. Release your shoulders. Unclench your jaw.” Therapy For Black Girls’ directory can also help you find a therapist who inherently understands the nuanced feelings and experiences that come with navigating the world as a Black woman.

2. Black Girl in Om Guided Meditations

Meditation is widely known for its beneficial mental health effects. And during this incredibly high-stress time, many in our community may be suffering from depression and anxiety directly related to what psychologist Joy DeGruy, PhD, calls, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, a concept that is the focus of her seminal book and which she defines as “a condition that exists as a consequence of multigenerational oppression of Africans and their descendants resulting from centuries of chattel slavery.”

Black Girl in Om, a wellness community created to help Black women breathe easy, offers guided meditations that make practicing for the first time an inviting experience. To start, there are three mediations designed to aid in specific areas in your life: abundance, intuition, and power of acceptance. No matter where you begin, the soothing sound bites will feel like a welcome breath of fresh air.

3. Well-Read Black Girl

Well-Read Black Girl is a book club exclusively for Black girls, women, and non-binary readers and writers. The community organizes an annual literary festival where our voices are at the forefront of the conversations being had. The community also regularly curates reading lists featuring work from classic and contemporary Black women writers.

With suggestions like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism, one scroll on Well-Read Black Girl’s Instagram feed will have you stuffing your cart with new must-reads. Reading has long been a tool for our liberation this community has carved out a necessary dedicated space for sharing our stories.

4. GirlTrek

GirlTrek is the largest public-health nonprofit for Black women. It aims to inspire Black women to take a walk as a form of radical self-care and healing so that we can be the change-makers in our communities. Beyond walking, the collective encourage activities that support physical activity via walking, like having a porch picnic and participating in a sunrise prayer, and any number of other ideas featured on its 100 Radical Ideas for Self-Care checklist.

GirlTrek also offers a program called the 21-day Black History Bootcamp, which is basically a cauldron of Black sisterhood. By joining, you’ll receiving daily inspiring Black-history stories, playlists, and be connected with a community of women to chat with during your walks.

5. Ethel’s Club

Brooklyn’s Ethel’s Club is a social and wellness club designed to celebrate people of color. When the pandemic hit earlier this year, the organizations quickly pivoted from IRL offerings to providing a digital safe space for Black mental wellness. Ethel’s Club now regularly hosts virtual global healing and grieving sessions, during which licensed Black therapists guide groups through the complex emotions our community is processing right now.

If you’re interested in channeling your energy into creativity during this time, Ethel’s Club’s digital clubhouse membership ($17 per month) provides access to a slew of creative workshops. Whether you’re interested in sessions about podcasting or writing through troubling times, these courses are helpful in creating space to allow our voices to heal through our resistance.

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