Mental health resources for Black Americans

National

A couple dances at Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Washington, after the verdict in Minneapolis, in the murder trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was announced. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The deaths of Geroge Floyd and other Black people, at the hands of police, have caused a number of emotions for Black Americans.

“It just really gets into my heart and vex my spirit,” Frank Williams said.   

Floyd’s death had a big impact, but it isn’t even the latest. 

Almost two weeks ago, a police officer shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright to death in a Minneapolis suburb.

Last March, an officer shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment during a raid that had nothing to do with Taylor.  

Lately, therapists like Nadirah Habeebullah are seeing the negative impact many police interactions have on Black people’s mental health.

“I have Black male clients who are seeing increase in anxiety,” Habeebullah said. “So just like constantly being on guard or being aware that like anything I do could be interpreted as aggressive and could result in me losing my life.”

Studies show from 2019 to 2020 the number of suicides among Black Americans increased by 17 percent. Researchers haven’t pinpointed one reason for the increase, but Abeebullah says concerns about police brutality and secondary trauma could be factors.  

“You can probably think of movies where you’ve sat and cried or you’ve felt really happy,” Habeebullah said. “So if we can be that emotionally effected by something we know is fake, then for sure we are going to be emotionally effected by things that are real and relevant to us.”

She says a sign your mental health is not O.K. could be an increase in anxiety, anger or not wanting to get out of bed. 

Even though there is still a push for significant police reform, Habeebullah says there are ways for Black people to process their emotions.

If you, or someone else you know is suffering, there are resources available.

There’s also mental health services specific to Black wellness you can visit — Therapy for Black Men and Therapy for Black Girls.

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