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Week of Actions: POC Mental Health Awareness Month

Formally recognized in June 2008, POC Mental Health Awareness Month was created to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented and marginalized communities face regarding mental illness in the United States. We take this opportunity to lift up learning and resources, especially for POC leaders in the equity movement.

Join us in a Week of Actions to examine the mental health space and consider how it intersects kids and communities.


 

Day 1: Learn about the unique mental health struggles of POC kids & communities

One major area of concern getting more attention over the past few years is the scarcity of mental health resources in schools.

  • According to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, millions of children across the U.S. are experiencing depression, anxiety and/or behavioral disorders.
  • In the same study, it was found that children from low income, Latinx and Black families are less likely to be diagnosed and treated based on limited access to care. In addition, biases related to diagnosis of behavioral conduct problems are most prevalent with Black students. 
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive, of the 6.1% of the U.S. population that identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander, nearly 15% reported having a mental illness in the past year.
  • A study conducted by The Trevor Project in 2019 found that 39% of LGBTQ youth “seriously considered attempting suicide [...] with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered”.
  • In 2017, the American Psychiatric Association’s report “Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations”, found that Native and Indigenous Americans report higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder and alcohol dependence than any other ethic/racial group.

What do these numbers make you think? How do you feel? Consider how you can ensure that POC in your own communities can be best supported.

 

Day 2: Check out these POC-led meditations

Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness – to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. The goal of meditation is to tune our minds away from the clutter of thought that frequently occupies our mind and develop a deeper awareness of ourselves as well as everyone around us.

  • Liberate Meditation is a Black-founded meditation app that supports the BIPOC community on their path to finding inner peace. Created by Afro-Latino Julio Rivera the app features talks & meditations on topics such as mindfulness, microaggressions, self-worth, and more.
  • Black Zen is designed to “remove any and all social and financial barriers that restrict Black and Brown communities from discovering the benefits of meditation, and to make all communities feel included and seen in the wellness space.” 

 

Day 3: Follow these POC-friendly mental health social media accounts

There are countless social media accounts led by POC that inspire, support, educate, and empower POC communities in their mental health journeys. Below are a few - organized by identities - that you can start following today!

For everyone:

@thenapministry

@inclusivetherapists

@ethelsclub

@morganharpernichols

@alex_elle

 

For Black communities:

@TherapyforBlackGirls

@therapyismyjam

@therapyforblkmen

@blackgirlsbreathing

@blackmentalwellness

@browngirlselfcare

 

For Latinx communities:

@latinxtherapy

@therapyforlatinx

 

For Indigenous communities:

@wellforculture

 

For Asian American & Pacific Islander communities:

@asiansformentalhealth

@southasiantherapists

@browngirltherapy

 

For LGBTQIA+ communities:

TrevorSpace

@TrevorProject

 

Day 4: Check out these resources on racism, mental health, and racial trauma

Mental Health America has developed and gathered content for their BIPOC Mental Health Month Toolkit, including lists of resources specifically for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, useful handouts on racism and mental health and racial trauma, data on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ mental health, and much more!

Download it here!

 

Day 5: Research your community’s mental health supports

What are the programs or mental health initiatives that are currently present in your school, workplace, organization, and communities? How are people and kids who identify as POC in your community supported in their mental health struggles?

It can seem daunting trying to figure out the answers to these questions, but it’s important to start the conversation right where you are so that you are better equipped to understand the needs of your community. Your LEE contact can also guide you in this work, connecting you to resources such as the Root Cause Analysis.

 

Day 6: Read through these Affirmations for Equity Leaders

The work of equity leadership is not easy, and some days, you may need a little extra motivation to continue making waves in your community. LEE staff has put together a list of “mantras,” or inspirational phrases, for equity leaders like you.

Read through them, download them as your *new* desktop or phone wallpaper, and let them add fuel to your fire. 

See them here!

 

Day 7: Check out these POC mental health resources & tools

It can be overwhelming trying to find where to turn to for additional and more comprehensive resources, tools, and supports. Below you will find a few places that can help equip you to support those in your community. 

Latinx Therapy

The Focus on You

Therapy for Latinx

 

Black Therapists Rock

Therapy for Black Girls

Black Emotional and Mental Health (BEAM)

Therapy for Black Men

 

Indigenous Story Studio

WeRNative

One Sky Center - The American Indian/Alaska Native National Resource Center for Health, Education, and Research

 

Asian American Psychological Association

Asian American Health Initiative

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

 

The Trevor Project

National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

 

Mental health matters. The more we know and understand about how it affects the different people in our lives, the better we will be at creating a positive and supportive environment for those around us.

Do you have other resources to share? Tweet @LEE_National to share ideas. 


Leaders like you are needed to make a lasting, positive change in communities.

Leadership for Educational Equity staff is devoted to supporting members as they grow and implement their visions for equity. No question is too large or too small. You can always reach out to your LEE contact to get started.