As a mental health counselor and 3rd year PhD candidate in Counselor Education and Supervision, a lot of my training and understanding of mental health was done under the theories and techniques of primarily old White cisgender men who would never know my experience as a Black woman. Co-founding and putting together something as impactful as Black In Mental Health was so therapeutic professionally and personally. It provided this feeling of "I see you, and I'm with you" that always felt so elusive to me at the predominantly white institutions I studied at.
It’s not often that you get to work with amazing and dedicated Black mental health advocates from all over the world, in different fields and areas of mental health. We’re all bringing something unique to the table as the Black In Mental Health community. It’s so liberating because it’s OUR table that we, as Black individuals coming together, created. As a community, we are sharing resources, normalizing, decolonizing, and taking ownership of the discussion of mental health topics in the Black community and bringing attention to the impact of anti-Blackness in our communities throughout the world.
2020, for me, was about making the Black In Mental Health community and the larger Black In X organizations known. It was about making the excuse of “Oh, I just didn’t know any Black mental health professionals/advocates,” no longer a sufficient response to cover the lack of diversity and systemic racism in the mental health field. For me personally, thinking about Black In Mental Health for 2021 is about continuing and sustaining that work for this community to build from. Black people are here. We have ALWAYS been here, whether as teachers, researchers, clinicians, advocates, or just people who benefit from mental wellness. One of my hopes is that Black In Mental Health will continue to grow as a resource and motivating force for equitable Black mental health. Our voices matter. Our mental health matters. Our lives matter.
Thank you so much to Zori Amber (@ZoriAmber on Twitter) for sharing this amazing piece with us!
There are many amazing Black In X organisations, to find and support them you can visit BlackInX.org!