Black Mental Health
How To Take Care Of Yourself
Make a safety plan. Creating a safety plan can include listing your coping strategies, identifying the people in your life that may support you through a crisis, and more. Have a step-by-step plan ready for if/when you feel depressed, suicidal, or in crisis, so you can start at step one and continue through the steps until you feel safe. Having a template on hand with an established plan may be helpful, or you can get help and guidance at https://www.mysafetyplan.org/.
Lean into community. Community can be one’s greatest resource. Identify spaces and people who bring joy and ease. This can mitigate isolation, hopelessness, and loneliness.
Ask for help. You do not have to move through anything alone.
Limit your news consumption. The constant replay of news stories about traumatic events can increase stress and anxiety. Try to reduce the amount of news you watch, read, or listen to, and engage in relaxing activities instead.
How To Help
Ask and listen: Be an active part of your loved ones’ support systems and check in with them often. If they show or discuss any of the most common warning signs for suicide, be direct. Tell them it’s OK to talk about suicidal feelings. Practice active listening techniques and let them talk without judgment.
Know the facts: Mental health support among Black communities is not a monolith. Each person’s care varies based on their gender, age, ability, location, and a multitude of other factors. There are many social, structural, and systemic factors that impact one’s wellness and ability to thrive optimally.
The suicide rate among Black youth has been found to be increasing faster than any other racial/ethnic group. Members of the Black community face structural racism that can lead to barriers to access for the care and treatment they need. Only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. The 988 Lifeline is a service that is available to provide immediate crisis counseling when it is needed. Due to stigma, lack of culturally competent providers, mistrust of medical providers due to historical abuse, cost or a lack of insurance, and/or limited options in their area, Black adults and youth often experience multiple barriers to care.
Get them help and take care of yourself: Research local resources. Don’t be afraid to get your loved one the help they might need. Support them in identifying others to talk to that may understand how they feel – family members, friends, co-workers, and faith or spiritual leaders. The 988 Lifeline is always here to talk or chat, both for support in a time of crisis and to support friends and loved ones.