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Arlington, VA — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today released the following statement from CEO Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., regarding recent racist incidents across the country and their impact on mental health:
“The effect of racism and racial trauma on mental health is real and cannot be ignored. The disparity in access to mental health care in communities of color cannot be ignored. The inequality and lack of cultural competency in mental health treatment cannot be ignored.
“Our nation’s African American community is going through an extremely painful experience, pain that has been inflicted upon this community repeatedly throughout history and is magnified by mass media and repeated deaths. We stand with all the families, friends and communities who have lost loved ones senselessly due to racism. And, with more than 100,000 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic - disproportionately from minority communities - these recent deaths add gasoline to the fire of injustice.
“While there is much we need to do to address racism in our country, we must not forget the importance of mental health as we do so. Racism is a public health crisis.
“As the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, it is our responsibility to serve all. While as an organization we are still early in our intentional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey and have much to do, we have renewed our commitment to our values. We continue to strive to deliver help and hope to all who need it.
“NAMI stands in solidarity with everyone impacted across the country. You are not alone.”
There are a variety of mental health resources available for people of color, but we have provided a few examples below.
Please note: The resources included here are not endorsed by NAMI, and NAMI is not responsible for the content of or service provided by any of these resources.
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM)
Group aimed at removing the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing. They do this through education, training, advocacy and the creative arts.
Black Men Heal
Limited and selective free mental health service opportunities for Black men.
Black Mental Health Alliance - (410) 338-2642
Provides information and resources and a “Find a Therapist” locator to connect with a culturally competent mental health professional.
Black Mental Wellness
Provides access to evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective, as well as training opportunities for students and professionals.
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Organization advancing health equity and social justice for Black women through policy, advocacy, education, research and leadership development.
Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation
BLHF has launched the COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Support Campaign to raise money for mental health services provided by licensed clinicians in our network. Individuals with life-changing stressors and anxiety related to the coronavirus will have the cost for up to five (5) individual sessions defrayed on a first come, first serve basis until all funds are committed or exhausted.
Brother You’re on My Mind
An initiative launched by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and NIMHD to raise awareness of the mental health challenges associated with depression and stress that affect Black men and families. Website offers an online toolkit that provides Omega Psi Phi Fraternity chapters with the materials needed to educate fellow fraternity brothers and community members on depression and stress in Black men.
Ebony's Mental Health Resources by State
List of Black-owned and focused mental health resources by state as compiled by Ebony magazine.
Provides culturally sensitive self-care support and teletherapy for Black men and their families. Currently in pilot program available only to residents of MD, VA and DC. Residents of other states can join their waiting list and will be notified when Henry Health is available in their state.
Melanin and Mental Health
Connects individuals with culturally competent clinicians committed to serving the mental health needs of Black & Latinx/Hispanic communities. Promotes the growth and healing of diverse communities through its website, online directory and events.
Provides information on promoting mental health and developing positive coping mechanisms through a podcast, online magazine and online discussion groups.
POC Online Classroom
Contains readings on the importance of self care, mental health care, and healing for people of color and within activist movements.
Organization that provides mental wellness education, resource connection and community support for Black women.
Therapy for Black Girls
Online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. Offers listing of mental health professionals across the country who provide high quality, culturally competent services to Black women and girls, an informational podcast and an online support community.
The SIWE Project
Non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the global Black community.
The Steve Fund
Organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color.
Online community for Black women to seek support.
We recognize that many mental health conditions are being triggered as a result of the coronavirus, the economic crisis and repeated racist incidents and death.
Learn more about mental health conditions including anxiety disorders, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Article on coping with anticipatory grief
Article on coping with traumatic stress
Article on Racial Battle Fatigue
Association of Black Psychologists Directory
LGBTQ Psychotherapists of Color Directory
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
Psychology Today Directory of African American Therapists
Therapy for Black Men
Understanding The Context Of Racism And Recent Events
Video on understanding racism and the reactions to the death of George Floyd and many others
Video on understanding the perspectives of your colleagues of color
Article on “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”
List of Anti-Racism resources
Understanding The Context Of Racial Inequality That Impacts Mental Health
APA Best Practices on working with Black patients
APA Mental Health Facts for Black Americans (2017)
Understanding And Addressing The Social Determinants Of Health That Impact Mental Health
Article on improving the health of Black Americans and the overdue opportunity for social justice
Video on understanding the social determinants of health and toxic stress
Video on the social determinants of toxic stress, specifically race and ethnic toxic stress
APA Stress & Trauma Toolkit for treating Black Americans in a changing political and social environment
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Page on Achieving Health Equity – Information about why health equity matters and what you can do to help give everyone a fair shot at being as healthy as they can be.
Ways To Take Action As An Ally Or Champion For People Of Color
Article on being a white ally through word, actions and power
Article on being a white ally for racial justice
Community based organizations to partner with: Color of Change, Black Lives Matter, Change Zero, The Innocent Project
Books To Read
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
by Grace Lee Boggs
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Join the conversation at nami.org | facebook.com/nami | instagram.com/namicommunicate | twitter.com/namicommunicate | #NotAlone
In a crisis? Call or text 988.