Life

20 Mental Health & Wellness Resources For Healing In The Black Community

Margaret Flatley/Bustle
By Sydney Gore

Juneteenth was recognized as an American holiday in workplaces across the country this year, and yet the level of fatigue that I have reached at this point in time is unparalleled. Over the past few weeks, friends have reached out to inquire about how we are all “feeling” and “doing,” and the answer is the same: “I’m exhausted.” We’ve been running on E in an effort to share resources and information to help rebuild our community while burning ourselves out in the process. Audre Lorde touched on this “constant drain of energy” in Sister Outsider around how efforts that the marginalized waste on educating their oppressors “might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”

While I know that I am not alone in this experience as a Black woman, I have become accustomed to suffering in silence over the years. But as poet and professor Nikki Giovanni once said, “There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don't expect you to save the world I do think it's not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”

United we must stand as we move toward a collective healing. While there is an abundance of resources for serving the Black community, you'll find 20 that are dedicated to addressing mental health and wellness below. Read on to learn more about what each platform has to offer.

Mental Health Resources

The Loveland Foundation

Established in 2018, Rachel Cargle’s non-profit has become a tremendous source of support for Black women and girls to heal. The organization currently offers fellowships, residency programs, and listening tours, along with a therapy fund to provide access to treatment and services for those in need of financial assistance. Learn more about The Loveland Foundation here.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation

Taraji P. Henson founded this non-profit organization to “provide support and bring awareness to mental health issues that plague our community.” The platform offers a variety of programs to educate and celebrate the positive impact of mental health and wellness amongst those that seek help. They also provide scholarships to Black students interested in careers in the mental health field and fight recidivism within the prison system. Learn more about BHL Foundation here.

Sista Afya

Founder Camesha L. Jones created this community mental wellness center for Black women across the African Diaspora to connect through “building community and sharing information” while accessing sliding scale services for therapy sessions, support groups, workshops, and other events that “foster healing, growth, freedom, and self-actualization.” Register now for the next Sister Support Group event and learn more about Sista Afya here.

Sad Girls Club

Founded by activist Elyse Fox, this WOC-driven platform creates a community for millennials and Gen Z combating mental health issues. The goal is to eradicate the negative stigma, provide services to girls without access to treatment, and build more IRL spaces. Donate to the non-profit here and learn more about Sad Girls Club here.

Therapy for Black Girls

Dr. Joy Harden Bradford aims to break the stigma around seeking help for mental health issues. Through this space she introduces mental health topics in a format that feels more relatable via podcast, blog, and community board. You can also find a local therapist specialized to treat your needs. Learn more about Therapy for Black Girls here.

Inclusive Therapists

Melody Li recognizes the challenges faced by marginalized communities and wanted to make the therapy process simpler and safer. Her team is composed of social justice-oriented therapists that push for “equity, justice and liberation in mental health care” and foster an environment that is “anti-discrimination, anti-oppression, anti-stigma, anti-racist, and anti-ablest.” Learn more about Inclusive Therapists here.

National Queer And Trans Therapists Of Color Network

This healing justice organization prioritizes the unique needs of the QTPoC community through emotional and spiritual care. Founder and executive director Erica Woodland aims to increase access to resources, such as technical assistance for social justice movement organizations and mental health practitioners including counselors, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, case managers, behavioral health workers, and peer support practitioners. Learn more about National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network here.

Black Emotional And Mental Health Collective (BEAM)

This 501 (c)(3) organization revolves around “the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities” and breaking down the barriers that prevent them from doing so. The collective includes artists, activists, teachers, lawyers, psychologists, yoga teachers, and religious leaders. Their work is executed through healing justice-based advocacy, education, training, organizing, and grantmaking. Check out their list of resources and learn more about BEAM here.

Wellness

In addition to therapy services, you may be interested in exploring other methods of care rooted in holistic health. There are eight dimensions of wellbeing — social/relational, emotional, physical, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, financial, and vocational. There are many alternative treatments for healing the body’s internal wounds that have been used in other cultures for centuries like reiki, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and herbal medicine. While studies have found benefits for several of these treatments, it’s always helpful to do your research or talk to your doctor before trying anything that isn’t regulated or certified.

Harriet’s Apothecary

This “intergenerational healing village” is deeply committed to cultivating an accessible, affordable, and inclusive space that honors all members of the BIPOC community. Every season they offer sliding scale services that are rooted in “anti-oppressive, trauma informed practice” such as acupuncture, essential oil therapy, thai yoga massage, reiki, herbalism, nutritional counseling, and more. You can donate here and learn more about Harriet’s Apothecary here.

Naaya

Through this platform, founder Sinikiwe Dhliwayo aims to “root BIPOC in their well-being” by providing a space where they feel seen and heard through experiences and education. It serves as a catalyst for discourse around the decolonization of wellness and regaining agency. This week, tune into Instagram Live for a discussion between wellness advocates and authors Quentin Vennie and Manoj Dias on self-love and redefining masculinity as men of color. Learn more about Naaya here.

HealHaus

Healers of color are often hard to find, but not anymore thanks to HealHaus. This Brooklyn-based wellness studio (and cafe) offers daily classes for reiki, meditation, breathwork, and yoga. Signing up for a monthly membership grants customers unlimited access to classes. Learn more about HealHaus here.

Dive In Well

Join the ongoing movement to decolonize the wellness space by supporting Maryam Ajayi’s empowering endeavor. This progressive platform is deeply committed to “cultivating space, community conversations, and change for a more equitable and accessible wellness industry” both online and offline through a range of initiatives. Next month, Ajayi will be hosting a four-week course with Embody Inclusivity founder Constanza Eliana Chinea about how to build “an inclusive wellness brand rooted in anti-racism, decolonization and racial equity.” Support Dive in Well’s crowdfunding campaign here and learn more about the platform here.

Black Girl Magik

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, this global support network designs safe spaces for empowering Black women and girls while also nurturing unconditional vulnerability and honest acceptance toward each other. Through transformative lectures, workshops, panels, and meetups, the collective hopes to “dismantle limitations, challenge stigmas and lift each other higher.” Learn more about Black Girl Magik here.

Underground Plant Trade

DJ Freedem’s idea is simple: Provide Black people with a platform to “come to collect their reparation plant” from white allies. While this isn’t the cure for fixing systemic racism, it’s a nice small gesture of solidarity that may bring some much-needed positive energy into your home. According to research published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture in 2019, the presence of plants reduces stress and anxiety levels, decreases depression, improves self-esteem, increase creativity, and enhance productivity and focus. This exchange is a nationwide operation, so check to see if your state is already in formation here.

Ethel's Club

In 2019, this community clubhouse became the first and only social and wellness club for people of color. The newly launched digital membership includes conversation series, wellness courses, creative workshops, cooking tutorials, and more. In response to the trauma inflicted from the recent instances of police brutality, founder Naj Austin began offering free virtual healing and grieving circles to the Black community. Learn more about Ethel's Club here.

Black Girl In Om

Last month, founder Lauren Ash launched The Circle in an effort to provide more support toward women of color during the global pandemic. Now, this initiative is needed more than ever. The Circle specifically provides members with daily journaling prompts, guided meditations, thought exercises, and more materials tied to each weekly lesson. Registration is currently open for those interested in enrolling in the program.

Herbal Mutual Aid Network

Spearheaded by artist and musician Yves B. Golden and herbalist Remy Maelen, this herbal medicine drive is putting natural goods directly into the hands of Black people who seek support during the ongoing crisis of racial violence and injustice in America. The greater goal is to “create a more equitable care system that supports the work of local racial and disability justice organizers.” For centuries, medicinal plants and herbs, like reishi, ashwagandha, milky oats, and CBD, have been used in remedies for the prevention and treatment of stress, anxiety, and diseases. Since more clinical research is needed to prove their effectiveness, consider consulting your healthcare practitioner before use.

If eligible, you can contact Yves directly for the official Herbal Mutual Aid request form. Donations are currently being accepted through Venmo or PayPal.

The Unplug Collective

This grassroots, student-run magazine was created for Black and Brown womxn and non-binary folks to share stories about their experiences from mental health and medical discrimination to body image, fatphobia, and gender. Find out how to submit your own entry here.

Inner Workout

This customized self-care program is structured within 60-minute wellness classes that combine the following areas: restorative movement, breathwork, meditation, and journaling. You can get started with the program by creating your own personal profile here.

The Nap Ministry

For founder Tricia Hersey, this organization is bigger than taking a nap — it’s about feeling liberated and empowered by a radical act, and creating safe and sacred spaces for the community to heal together. As stated on the website, “We believe rest is a form of resistance and name sleep deprivation as a racial and social justice issue.” Learn more about The Nap Ministry here.