At this time, Nerdist continues to focus on supporting and amplifying voices in the Black community.
The murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers and Ahmaud Arbery’s murder by white civilians is only the tip of a massive iceberg of senseless Black deaths that have caused generational trauma.
The Black community has continually faced systemic racism, unconscious bias from non-Black people, police harassment/brutality/murder, socioeconomic inequality, and conflict with people who are fueled by racist ideologies and backed by legal systems that often fail Black people. These issues are exacerbated for Black people who fall into multiple marginalized groups, including those who are trans, gender nonconforming, or do not fit into a neat cisheteronormative box.
The pressure of navigating a society that is inherently anti-Black and the constant cycle of violence against Black people often leads to psychological distress. According to the US Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Black Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than their adult counterparts. Black people are also more likely to be victims of serious violent crime, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). American Psychological Organization President Sandra L. Shullman’s recent statement about the mental health consequences of racial incidents states the serious health implications for Black people.
“We are living in a racism pandemic, which is taking a heavy psychological toll on our African-American citizens. The health consequences are dire. Racism is associated with a host of psychological consequences, including depression, anxiety and other serious, sometimes debilitating conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. Moreover, the stress caused by racism can contribute to the development of cardiovascular and other physical diseases.”
The organizations who mobilize around combating social and political injustice towards Black people are currently getting a flood of support. This is a vital step to dismantling harmful social structures; however, it is equally imperative for people to ensure that organizations focusing on Black mental health are also receiving the vocal and financial support necessary to advocate for the health and wellness of Black people.
Here is a list of organizations and grassroots collectives to donate to and/or amplify that support for Black people’s mental and emotional well-being. Any further suggestions are welcome.
Based in: Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA
The Black Women’s Health Imperative is dedicated to improving the overall health and wellness of Black women and girls. Initiatives include fighting for affordable health care rates, mental health awareness, pre-diabetes education, advocacy and leadership programs for current HBCU women attendees, HIV prevention and treatment, and ending period shame.
Based in: Los Angeles, CA
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective is a group of therapists, lawyers, religious leaders, teachers, psychologists, advocates, and activists working together for mental/emotional health and healing in the Black community. The collective provides a Black Virtual Therapist Directory for mental health services – a valuable resource for those who are in areas without support or who cannot see someone in person due to COVID-19.
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective also provides professional development and training for activists, grassroots movements, and others on topics including mental health issues, emotional intelligence in leadership, unconscious bias, toxic elements of Black masculinity, mental health literacy, wellness for Black trans and GNC people, and healing and restorative justice.
Based in: Various Locations
Harriet’s Apothecary is a collective of Black womxn healers, health professionals, magicians, artists, activists, and ancestors from various generations who are creating accessible, affordable, inclusive, and loving community spaces for Black and other people of color to heal. The organization offers online and in-person events about spiritual strategies, healing, and holistic health as well as services like art therapy, essential oil therapy, thai yoga massage, spiritual divinations, and peer counseling sessions among many other offering.
Based In: Brooklyn, NY/Digital
This online community offers Black and other people of color, regardless of gender expression and identity, a private membership club to have conversations about wellness and creativity. Club individuals are offered a space to celebrate, heal, and encourage each other to create. The organization also brings in mediation, yoga, and mental health professionals for special sessions.
Ethel’s Club is offering two free virtual group healing and grieving sessions led by licensed Black therapists for Black people on June 9 and June 23. Supporters can sponsor a membership for a Black person via their About page.
Based in: Atlanta, GA
Therapy for Black Girls is an online community and podcast run by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a psychologist, that encourages mental wellness for Black women and girls by breaking down stigmas around mental health diagnosis and therapy. Community members can use its director to find a therapist, guided affirmations, support, and conversations about issues that affect Black women and girl’s lives.
Based in: New York, NY
Therapy for Black Men offers therapy resources, coaching, and articles for Black men to work through trauma, stereotypes, and other vital issues that affect their self-image, self-worth, and mental stability. The space serves as a place where Black men can connect with and encourage each other.
Based in: Los Angeles, CA
Founded by actress Taraji P. Henson in honor of her father, The Boris L. Henson Foundation‘s goal is to change the way mental health is perceived in the Black community. The organization seeks to encourage mental health support in urban schools, increase Black therapists, and reduce the number of people who return to prison after release by offering mental health support to formerly incarcerated people. Current programs include COVID-19 free virtual therapy support as well as their ongoing rounds of free online therapy.
Founded: c. 2019
Based in: New York, NY
The Okra Project‘s primary focus is preventing food insecurity for Black trans and gender nonconforming people by providing free meals. However, the collective has launched two new mental health funds to offer free mental health services to Black trans people in the wake of the recent murders of Tony McDade and Nina Pop, a Black trans woman who was murdered in Missouri. The Nina Pop Health Recovery Fund will raise money for Black trans women and the Tony McDade Mental Health recovery fund is for Black trans men. The Okra Project has donated $15K to each fund and are asking donors to match their donations.
Based in: Oakland, CA
The National Queer and Trans Therapists of America strives to provide quality mental health care to queer and trans people of color. The network offers a directory of mental health resources and the Mental Health Fund, which provides financial help to those who need it.
Based in: Houston, TX
Melanin & Mental Health is a mental health resource hub with a listing of Black therapy professionals for Black and Latinx communities. The collective provides free resources and events to connect those in need with the right person in their location. Supporters can listen to the collective’s Between Sessions Podcast or purchase items from its online store.
Based in: Georgia
The Loveland Therapy Fund provides national assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy services. The organization has partnered with National Queer & Trans Therapist of Color, Talkspace, Open Path Collective, and Therapy for Black Girls to provide a list of mental health professionals. Loveland Therapy Fund is apart of The Loveland Foundation, which offers fellowships, residency programs, and more to Black women and girls. Supporter can donate, start a giving circle with friends, or advocate for company on social media.
Based in: Ardmore, PA
Black Men Heal‘s mission is to offer free therapy and counseling resources to Black men and remove the stigmas around mental health. The nonprofit works with counselors who are willing to donate their time towards helping men in need. Black Men Heal accepts donations via Cash App and Paypal.
Founded: c. 2001
Based in: Oakland, CA
Generative Somantics supports social, accessibility, and climate justice movements by encouraging movement leaders, organizations, and alliances to engage the body to align actions with values and vision as well as healing the impact of trauma and oppression. The movement believes in following a transformative path with self-help and self-care to achieve goals. Generative Somantics lists several strategic priorities including freedom from political repression and state violence and building leadership among poor and working class communities of color. There are many ways to get involved, including donating and volunteering.
Featured Image: Eye for Ebony