If I’ve learned one thing in the past two years, it’s how much more effort needs to be taken toward prioritizing our health. The COVID-19 pandemic has urgently screamed in our ears that we, as a society, need to take more precaution in regard to our health and well-being. Following that extent, why is it that, when
most people think of ‘wealth,’ they think only of financial success and material wealth? The image of luxury cars, extravagant traveling, and material abundance has eclipsed the average individual’s concept of wealth. People are constantly worried about chasing the bag, but there is never any emphasis on chasing good health. Most people seem to forget that without good health many material things often become worthless.
For Black women, it can be very easy for our health to be overlooked, especially with the current healthcare system in the United States failing us tremendously. Quite frankly, many modern aspects of society naturally—or are designed to—work against us. The healthcare system is just one of those aspects, with Black women frequently facing disproportionate rates of chronic disease and inadequate treatment. This is why, for me, achieving optimal health will always transcend financial health any day. Much like the famous chicken or the egg dilemma, in this case, the egg (health) comes first and that egg, with the right nurturing, will eventually result in a chicken (wealth).
Black women in America are consistently plagued with stereotypes that remove depression and anxiety from our personal narratives. Nevertheless, much like anyone else on this globe, mental health issues have severe impacts on our community. Thus, the barriers and obstacles we face when trying to receive adequate mental health services are insurmountable. One of the main barriers that Black women face is finding culturally competent providers.
Culturally competent providers in the mental health sphere are crucial for the betterment of the person seeking help. Imagine going to a therapist who is unable to conceptualize significant ideas that compound your traumas, your struggles, and your overall identity. For Black women pursuing mental health resources, it is necessary that our providers have an understanding of the intersectionality and discrimination—both racial and gender-based, among others—we have to navigate daily. Otherwise, there will be a need to constantly explain the underlying reasons for a lot of the issues you face, which can consequently not only reduce the quality of your treatment and care, but be another burden to bear in the midst of trying to minimize the ones you already have. To have to explain microaggressions made by your coworkers toward your natural hair, or have to dilute your culture in the workplace for white comfort, takes a lot of mental and emotional effort—effort that would not need to exist with a culturally competent provider.
“Imagine going to a therapist who is unable to conceptualize significant ideas that compound your traumas, your struggles, and your overall identity.”
Unfortunately, there is a low pool of Black mental health care providers in the US, which hinders women who primarily want to seek help from Black therapists. However, as society advances, and its relationship with and understanding of racism broaden, this thankfully becomes less and less true despite still currently being a problem.
As more Black professionals have entered the mental health space, there has been an increase in accessibility to finding a Black therapist. Some resources include:
Therapy for Black Girls, an online space dedicated to the mental well-being of Black women and girls. The space was first created by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford through her mental health podcast, Therapy for Black Girls. The mission of this space is to cultivate and sustain a community centered on the mental health needs of Black women and girls. Notably, they can help connect you to a nearby therapist.
Black Female Therapists is an online directory dedicated to assisting Black women find therapists they align with. The site provides a place where Black women can discuss their mental health and wellness journey. Their mission is to destigmatize and support mental health in the Black community in addition to connecting Black women and men with therapists.
BetterHelp is a therapy platform dedicated to being accessible, affordable, and convenient. The website hosts trained and experienced psychologists, counselors, therapists, and social workers from all walks of life. You can access a therapist via BetterHelp any time you happen to need one.
Prioritizing health is investing in yourself. Quite frankly, it is the most important investment you can make in your life, but especially so for Black women navigating the hardships of white supremacy and capitalism. It can prove to be a deciding factor in accomplishing all the goals and aspirations that you have. The recent pandemic has shown us that proactive involvement in your physical and mental health can further increase your lifespan and quality of life. It is important that we do not allow that lesson to go to waste.
Better Help https://www.betterhelp.com/faq/
Ciera Graham, Ph.D https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/black-womens-mental-health/
Black Female Therapists https://www.blackfemaletherapists.com
Juanita J. Chinn, PhD,1 Iman K. Martin, PhD, MPH, MSc,2 and Nicole Redmond, MD, PhD, MPH, FACP3, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8020496/
Power Forward Group https://powerforwardgroup.com/blog/health-is-wealth
Therapy for Black Girls https://therapyforblackgirls.com/about/