The world is currently witnessing an uprising against racism and racist police brutality. Millions of people are now only waking up to the realities of police brutality against black communities, racism has always underpinned many societies across the world — and people of colour have always known and endured this burden.
From persistent police brutality to health inequalities — notably showcased in the UK BAME Covid-19 Review — and racist microaggressions, people of colours' experiences of racism, can take a mental health toll. Racism is a form of trauma. Experiences of brutality, harassment, and stigma can lead to PTSD symptoms. With the growing presence of social media, repeated exposure to videos and images of racist police brutality can also contribute to PTSD. In the UK alone, despite being a minority, people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems and get a more unsatisfactory outcome from treatment. Just like our bodies, our minds can also get sick – and it can be just as lifealtering as a physical condition.
Mental health establishments have historically failed communities of colour. Black communities, in particular, have been targets of medical abuse, and their pain is frequently not taken seriously by the medical community. There is a lack of access to culturally responsive care — that is, carefully tailored to the experiences, values, and needs of marginalized people — which can exacerbate the mental health effects of racial trauma.
Today, dozens of black and people of colour-led grassroots organizations, clinics, and collectives provide therapeutic resources for communities that experience racist oppression. We have listed below some of these groups as a starting point; countless more are doing difficult, phenomenal community wellness work every day. These resources include both traditional talk therapy — often at subsidized rates and available remotely during the coronavirus pandemic — as well as self-care resources and healing practices. Feel free to add more in the comments section below.
1. Frontline Therapist – www.frontlinetherapist.com
2. BAATN (The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network) www.baatn.org.uk
3. Black Thrive - www.blackthrive.org.uk
4. Local Minds - www.mind.org.uk
5. Sharing Voices – www.sharingvoices.net
6. Together - www.together-uk.org
Understandably with so much going on in the world, away from seeking therapy, make sure you are checking in on your friends and relatives. When you don't feel well, be open about your own experience. Rightfully so, you should not feel any pressure to speak about anything you don't wish to however, we encourage you to share your story in a way that feels comfortable for you. A little dialogue is better than no dialogue at all!