Asking for help is never easy, and for Black women even less so, as damaging stereotypes, as well as religious and societal stigma, keep us from sharing our pain. From the everyday stress of life, to the far-reaching impact of traumatic events like the death of Lauren Smith-Fields and the unjust murder of Breonna Taylor, women of color endure the layered effects that racism and sexism can have on their mental health.
Although women are twice as likely to experience depression than men, Black women are half as likely to seek out mental health care than white women. A long-standing and understandable mistrust of the health institutions that once experimented on Black women, not to mention socio-economic barriers, have kept many Black women from receiving adequate mental health care. Even worse, internalized assumptions about Black culture often prevent many from trying therapy or holistic methods for fear of “acting white.”
In the past few years, however, the pandemic has forced many of us to confront the state of our mental health, leading to more open conversations about depression and anxiety. While it is comforting to hear celebrities share their struggles and see a significant increase in online resources available, the modern wellness space is still overwhelmingly white. A quick Pinterest search for fitness inspiration reveals a glaring homogenous and limited view of who participates in health activities, as most of the images’ subjects are thin, young white women.
In an interview with Delilah Antoinette, the founder of Black Girl’s Healing House, a virtual community designed for Black women to share their experiences and resources, she recalls the uncomfortable experiences she had going into crystal shops, including being followed around by an employee. Frustrated with the lack of community and space for Black women, Antoinette, along with fellow trailblazers like Elyse Fox and Dr. Joy Harden Bradford have created their own safe spaces of healing and community for Black women, building a room when there was never a seat at the table.
Continue reading to learn more about the mental health resources available for Black women.
Celebrating its fifth anniversary, the Gen Z and millennial-focused organization boasts over 250,000 Instagram followers, and has quickly become an online go-to and hub for soft Black girls. After battling depression and panic attacks at age 27, founder Elyse Fox created Sad Girls Club as a safe space for young Black women experiencing mental illness, providing online workshops focused on trauma and and even forming a Sad Moms Club.
Founded by Delilah Antoinette in 2018 after working through her C-PTSD, Black Girl’s Healing House is an online space that views community as the way forward. A safe haven for Black women to come together, the Facebook community has grown from 500 to 60,000 members in a few short years, creating an extensive network of mental health resources that connect women to everything from accessible Reiki classes to therapists and life coaches of color.
Culturally competent health care is imperative, that’s why Therapy for Black Girls connects those in need with mental health care providers of color through their extensive directory. This organization is also home to the deservingly popular and informative podcast, hosted by psychologist Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, who touches on a wide variety of topics from self-improvement, to egg freezing to burnout.
Located in Brooklyn, Heal Haus provides a physical space for people of color to explore various holistic healing modalities without judgment or discomfort. Offering both online and in-person services, Heal Haus is home to monthly therapy, yoga, meditation and Reiki workshops led by experienced practitioners. If you’re fond of astrology and find yourself reaching for crystals, Heal Haus is for you.
Inspired by the Black matriarchs in her life, Naj Austin founded Ethel’s Club, an online community for BIPOC people dedicated to providing moments of joy for people of color, both in the metaverse and outside. For $17 USD/month, members have access to book clubs, artist Q&As, as well as meditation and yoga classes.