When it comes to mental health access and support for everyone, we’ve come a long way, but we still have so much work to do. As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, we’d be remiss not to talk about the fact that Black people are disproportionately more likely to experience mental health issues, while facing extensive barriers to access.
Whether it stems from social stigmas, misdiagnoses, racial bias in the health care system, or socio-economic limitations, Black people are the least likely population of people to get mental health treatment. And if that wasn’t enough, the massive detrimental impact of racism on mental health is associated with depression, anxiety, and generational trauma.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use inpatient hospitalization and emergency rooms, and are more likely to receive lower quality care.”
None of this is OK. Just ask the phenomenal advocates and organizations out there who are standing up and demanding justice for the Black community in the mental health space. Whether you want to support one of these organizations, follow and learn from a Black mental health leader, or are inspired to seek out support for yourself, we have listed some of the trailblazers in this space. And we’ll continue to share resources and inspiring voices on our social media throughout the year.
- BEAM is a national training, movement building, and grant making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.
- Black Men Heal provides access to mental health treatment, psycho-education, and community resources to men of color.
- Black Mental Health Alliance provides information and resources to connect people with culturally competent mental health professionals.
- Black Women’s Health Imperative is dedicated to advancing health equity and social justice for Black women through policy, advocacy, education, research and leadership development.
- The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, founded by Taraji P. Henson, is committed to changing the perception of mental illness in the Black community by encouraging those who suffer with this debilitating illness to get the help they need.
- The Loveland Foundation was established in 2018 by writer and activist Rachel Cargle as a result of her fundraiser Therapy for Black Women and Girls. The Loveland Foundation is the official continuation of this effort to bring opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially to Black women and girls.
- Rhonda V. Magee is a professor of law at the University of San Francisco and an internationally recognized teacher of mindfulness-based interventions for personal transformation and social justice.
- National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network is a healing justice organization that actively works to transform mental health for queer and trans people of color in North America.
- Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. Dr. Joy Harden Bradford is a licensed psychologist, speaker and the host of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. Her work focuses on making mental health topics more relevant and accessible for Black women.
We owe so much to the dedicated humans who have paved the way for all minorities to have improved access to mental health support. At Sanvello, we believe in eliminating the stigmas surrounding mental health and breaking down barriers so that everyone can have access to the support they need.
We still have so much to learn, so join us all year round as we continue to uplift members of the Black community who are advancing the field of mental health, advocating for change, and inspiring us all to do better.
By Katie Nave, Copywriter at Sanvello
Katie Nave is a writer and mental health advocate living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been featured in publications including Glamour, Business Insider, and Motherly. She has served as a producer for the National Women’s March and worked with organizations like Girls Inc. and CancerCare. She is currently the Copywriter at Sanvello and you can follow her on Instagram: @kathryn.e.nave