Why Racism Is a Public Health Issue & What You Can Do to Help

Why Racism Is a Public Health Issue & What You Can Do to Help

The Black community represents 13.4% of the American population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of those, over 16% reported having a mental illness in the past year — that is over 7 million people. For some perspective, Black adults in the U.S. are 20% more likely to report serious psychological distress than white adults. Yet, only 30% of African American adults with mental illness receive treatment each year, compared to the U.S. average of 43%. Top barriers that prevent African Americans from seeking treatment and receiving quality care are racism, racial trauma, and socioeconomic factors, which limit access to treatment options.
In other words, “Racism is a public health crisis,” as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recently stated. 
There are a number of resources, organizations, and companies dedicated to supporting Black people’s mental health. Here are a few that could be useful to you, your friends, family, and colleagues.

Mental Health Resources For the Black Community: 

Therapy for Black Girls

Therapy For Black Girls is a platform that helps find trusted and competent therapists to place with Black women and girls. Founded by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, it also has an online community-based space The Yellow Couch Collective, which focuses on helpful advice, support, and inclusion for young professionals. Support its mission of advocating for Black female mental health by donating here as well as supporting the brand’s shop.
Inclusive Therapists

View this post on Instagram


In my best Mariah 🎶 I… don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need! . 👉🏼 Quality, affordable mental health care that honors people of all identities, abilities and bodies. That shouldn’t be too much to ask! But it won’t happen by us simply wishing. To each therapist that is a part of this movement with us, thank you. You are a gift! 🎁 I’m excited to reveal the exciting offerings and advocacy work that 2020 holds. Until then: Blessings on this fourth Night of Chanukah. 🕎✨ . Remembering the principle of Umoja (unity) as Kwanzaa kicks off tomorrow. 🖤❤️💚 . Wishing you all a connective, restorative holiday season. Love, @melodyhopeli and the Inclusive Therapists team . ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️ This is the last week of our soft launch. If you’ve been following along and are considering a membership, now’s the time. Right now, first 3 months is FREE + deep discounts. Economic equity is important to us so check out ways to get a free membership – link in profile. We offer way more than a directory listing. We also take care of our therapist community because healers need support too! Members-only features include: – private, uplifting online community – professional resources centering social justice and liberation – events calendar – mental health job board – community blog – marketing tools Coming in 2020: – CEU workshops & trainings – collaborative podcast – joint advocacy work to increase justice and equity in our field – and more! Join our movement 💖

A post shared by Inclusive Therapists (@inclusivetherapists) on

The platform serves as a directory to match with professional care that prioritizes the inclusion and understands specific struggles of all identities, abilities, and race. The community-based online space also offers workshops and training with learning series on topics like racial traumas in which one can receive a certificate for their own therapy practice upon completing the course. To support its free work, you can sponsor a therapist’s membership or learner’s training in increments of just $10 which applies directly towards mental health care training, community help, and individual support to its BIPOC and minority-identified therapists.
The Nap Ministry

The Nap Ministry is an organization that advocates for rest as a form of resistance against burnout culture and capitalism more broadly. Black Americans “have never really had our place in capitalism,” other than as its engine, since slavery, says founder Tricia Hersey. Through the Nap Ministry, Hersey guides Atlanta-based sessions of “rest coaching” and is now offering virtual workshops as well.
Sista Afya

Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness focuses on inclusive mental health and well-being in four ways: education, resource connection, community support, and its online shop. The company’s merchandise includes helpful journals, educational books, and encouraging cards with money spent being donated back into the organization. In addition to therapy and teletherapy with customized payment plans, it also offers low-cost online and in-person workshops and events in the Chicago area. In the past three years, the company has worked with over 700 young Black women and you can support its monumental work by donating here.
National Queer and Trans Therapist of Color Network 

View this post on Instagram


How do you define #HealingJustice Check out our definition and share yours in the comments or post! Make sure to tag us! [Image descriptions: 4 graphics blue/green textured background with white box and text with gray letters. First image – Healing Justice is… a political and spiritual framework rooted in disability justice, environmental justice, reproductive justice, and abolitionist movements, as well as the ancestral traditions and practices of people of color, poor people, people with disabilities, women, femmes, and queer and trans people. Second image: Healing Justice recognizes the ways historical trauma and structural violence have caused harm, grief, crisis, trauma and further cycles of violence for oppressed peoples. Third image – Healing justice honors our inherent ability to heal and the specific legacy of resistance and resilience of queer and trans people of color. It requires that we constantly re-imagine what is possible regarding our healing, safety, sustainability and fortification. Fourth image – How do you define healing justice?] #NQTTCN #HealingJustice #QTPOC

A post shared by Healing Justice For QTPOC (@nqttcn) on

National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) is a healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color (QTPoC). We work at the intersection of movements for social justice and the field of mental health to integrate healing justice into both of these spaces. Our overall goal is to increase access to healing justice resources for QTPoC. You can learn more about the Mental Health Fund (MFH) here.
The Unplug Collective

Unplug is a community where Black and Brown womxn and non-binary folks can share their stories about existing in their bodies without being silenced or censored. A virtual safe space, a digital healing circle, a budding fashion magazine, Unplug seeks to increase representation among marginalized voices through editorial photoshoots, video shoots, op-eds, and submissions from the public. The community also offers free group therapy and discounted individual therapy.
Beam Collective

BEAM is a national nonprofit that focuses on training non-mental health professionals and providers with skills to offer healing justice informed peer support services and first responder support, funding healing, and mental health efforts led by Black wellness professionals and developing leaders for the purpose of helping Black people nationwide heal.
Black Girl in Om

View this post on Instagram


BGIO was born to elevate the inner work first. We are so proud to have influenced a movement and cultivated a culture that now *needs* to see the whole of us, today and beyond.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ We’re thrilled to introduce a new experience to you starting this month — one intended to connect the dots between healing and wholeness.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ This Wednesday, April 15th, registration opens for The Circle, our digital sister circle. Join us for this brand new, incredibly intentional five week experience. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ We acknowledge that this is also a time of financial uncertainty for many. Our team will provide a select number of community scholarships for those currently facing challenges and welcome generosity from those who are able to help support this initiative.⁣ ⁣⁣ So, watchya waiting on? 🤍 Click our bio link to join our newsletter, to support, or to press play on our latest guided meditation for black girls everywhere. #YouDeserve⁣⁣ #BGIOTheCircle ⁣⁣ Photo by Taylor. S. Hunter (@goldentimetay)

A post shared by Black Girl In Om (@blackgirlinom) on

Founded by Lauren Ash, Black Girl In Om is a global platform that provides a “space for women of color to breathe easy,” offering holistic wellness workshops largely based in journaling, mind-clearing meditation, and body-restoring yoga. Recently, Ash launched The Circle, a new digital initiative that provides members with journaling prompts, thought exercises, and guided meditations to further support the global community of black women and women of color
Dive in Well

Dive In Well began as a dinner series but is now a movement actively diversifying the space of mental health awareness with several hands-on practices. The Pool is its ongoing series of online workshops and its in-person Free Swim classes (currently online due to COVID) are donation-based conversations taught by its community members. To support, donate to Dive In Well directly, here. Once donated, you’ll receive a complimentary E-workbook with insightful information, lessons and exercises one can apply to their own practice.
Ethel’s Club

While Williamsburg social and wellness hub Ethel’s Club—which offers working, gathering, and performance spaces designed specifically with people of color in mind—had to close its brick-and-mortar location, founder Naj Austin has transitioned their community online. During this challenging time for the black community, Ethel’s Club has been offering free online gatherings, performances, and healing sessions.
Harriet’s Apothecary

View this post on Instagram


The Movement For Black Lives, and organizers mobilizing across the country, invite you to rise up with us and say no more! We are calling for a week of action June 1st to 5th In Defense of Black Lives. This is an opportunity to uplift and fight alongside those turning up in the streets and on the airwaves. Today we prepare for the week ahead by intentionally grounding ourselves and fortifying our spirits for the protracted struggle. Today we make space for collective mourning and resilience as we get in touch with what is required of us in this moment. Mobilize in solidarity with activists and organizers across the country and world saying enough is enough. Change your social media profile pictures to the image below this week to show that you are committed to being in defense of Black lives. #DefundPolice #DefendBlackLife #Repost @mvmnt4blklives ・・・

A post shared by Harriets Apothecary (@harrietsapothecary) on

Harriet’s Apothecary is a “healing village led by Black Cis Women, Queer & Trans healers, artists, activists & ancestors, centering the genius of Black, Indigenous & POC folk.” They are currently offering a handful of resources, including support groups, AMAs, healing circles, a storytime series, and more.

HealHaus is a Brooklyn-based membership healing space that was created by founders Darian Hall and Elisa Shankle to provide accessible and inclusive wellness to their community. They offer virtual wellness retreats, sound baths, and healing groups. While closed physically, they are offering free virtual events via Zoom and private sessions across a variety of disciplines, like astrology, tarot, energy healing, coaching, or holistic medicine.

Funds That You Can Donate To Now:

The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness COVID-19 Women’s Relief Fund

“The COVID-19 Relief Fund for Black Women and Families will provide mini-grants to women to meet their family’s immediate needs for food, housing, childcare, toiletries, medication, healthcare-related costs, or other critical expenses,” says the foundation’s website. The application requires a fairly short survey, and you will be granted funds based on verification of the request, the need expressed in your complete application, and the availability of funds.
Black Earth Farm Foods Donations

View this post on Instagram


all power to the people! spread the word! venmo: @blackearthfarms cash app: $blackearth

A post shared by Black Earth Farms (@blackearthfarms) on

Black Earth Farms in the East Bay of San Francisco is now accepting donations via its Venmo account (@blackearthfarms) to deliver boxes of fresh, free food to Black people who have been arrested, bailed, traumatized, or injured. The farm will also donate to members of the Black community who are responsible for organizing funds for those awaiting bail and protestors who need medical attention. Direct message Black Earth Farms on Instagram for more information.
The Loveland Foundation

View this post on Instagram


#repost Head to the link in @rachel.cargle bio to RSVP. • Thinking about what our ancestors and past leaders left for us. What tools and direction and foresight they offered. • When James Baldwin reminded us: “It is a very peculiar revolution because, in order to succeed at all, it has to have as its aim the reestablishment of the Union. And a great, radical shift in American mores, in the American way of life. Not only does it apply to the Negro, obviously, but it applies to every citizen in the country. This is a very tall order and desperately dangerous, but inevitable in my view because of the nature of the American Negro’s relationship to the rest of the country, of all these generations, and the attitudes the country’s had toward him, which always was, but now has become overtly and concretely, intolerable. • When Malcolm X made clear: “Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.” • When Fannie Lou Hammer started: “There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement — three people is better than no people” • When Nikki Giovanni explained: “We put our lives on the line because we understand that our lives were always on the line.” • When Angela Davis said, ““I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” • @rachel.cargle will be giving a Public Address on Revolution this upcoming Saturday evening. If you’d be interested in hearing her words and her teachings please use the link in her bio to RSVP and you’ll receive the viewing details Saturday afternoon. • This live address will include Rachel’s official response to the brutality happening to black bodies in the US. she will be pulling from the words of revolutionaries before us. She will be offering resources for action and highlighting the movement on the ground so that we all can show up in revolutionary ways. • looking forward to being in conversation and community with you all. • TL:DR – the revolution is coming, RSVP link in bio. • Will We see you there? • #revolutionnow

A post shared by The Loveland Foundation (@thelovelandfoundation) on

Founded in 2018 by Rachel Cargle, The Loveland Foundation supports Black females looking for therapy as well as provides financial assistance through donations. Its goal for 2020 is to provide 1,000 Black women and girls with 4-8 covered therapy sessions. According to the org’s site, if 6 people donate $20 it would cover one therapy session so donate here.
The Nina Pop Mental Health Recovery Fund and the Tony McDade Mental Health Recovery Fund 

The Okra Project, a New York City organization, has launched mental health funds in honor of both Tony McDade and Nina Pop, which will purchase therapy sessions with licensed Black practitioners for trans people. The Tony Dade Mental Health Recovery Fund will benefit trans men and the Nina Pop Mental Health Recovery Fund benefits trans women (Okra Project encourages anyone who identifies “under the Transgender umbrella” to apply to the fund which most aligns with their identity). They’ve contributed $15,00 to each fund and are asking community members to match their totals. People can also donate sessions with their own Black, licensed therapists. Donate to both funds here, and apply for sessions at the hyperlinks for each fund above.


Whichever way you choose to grieve, process, and/or stand in solidarity, know that you’re not alone — and that you and your wellness matter.