Studies have long shown Black women are more prone to struggling with mental health. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of American, "Data shows that, for Black women, anxiety is more chronic and the symptoms more intense than their White counterparts." With the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others at top of mind, more than ever emotional wellness is crucial, and mental health resources and therapy for Black women can help in offering support.
Fortunately, methods like therapy are a bit easier to access at the moment, says Dr. LaToya Gaines, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist. "Given the pandemic that is occurring, some insurance companies are waiving copays for mental health services meaning that you can see a therapist at no cost," Dr. Gaines explains. "It is important to check with your individual insurance company to verify your individual benefits." There are also directories to professionals who offer sliding scale sessions — Dr. Gaines recommends are Open Path and Better Help — and even a slew of apps offering free subscriptions due to COVID-19.
If you're looking for alternative resources that don't need appointments, podcasts can offer immediate help. "For resources at home, I recommend the podcast Therapy for Black Girls by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford," Dr. Gaines notes. "She covers a number of mental health topics including anxiety, depression, relationship issues, trauma and much more!" Also, Dr. Gaines adds that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a page dedicated to resources specifically for the Black community. "There are websites, treatment directories, and videos on different topics such as stress, trauma, and grief."
If you seek a more collaborative experience, many wellness clubs and communities are offering virtual gatherings. Chicago-based wellness hub Sista Afya holds free virtual group sessions, that cover relevant topics like overcoming difficult news and mental health during times of uncertainty. Some free support options include the Black Emotional And Mental Health Collective, which hosts virtual events like meditation and reiki healing sessions.
No matter what the specific need may be, there's an emotional support resource out there to help. Ahead, 10 great options to check out ASAP.
Mental Health For Black Women: Ethel's Club
Founded by Naj Austin and located in Brooklyn, Ethel's Club is a social and wellness destination that creates healing spaces specifically for people of color. Currently the organization is hosting free virtual gatherings and healing sessions for the Black community. To attend, simply sign up on the waiting list provided on the Ethel's Club website.
Mental Health For Black Women: Dive In Well
"At Dive in Well we create space, community, conversation, and change for a more diverse and equitable wellness industry though online and offline experiences," Maryam Ajayi, founder of Dive in Well (DIW), tells TZR. DIW offers a couple of different services for its community, including The Deep Dive workshop series, which promotes thought-provoking conversation around topics like diversity in the digital wellness space and decolonizing digital therapy. Tickets range from $10 (for BIPOC) to $30 (for non-POC).
If you can't afford to attend a workshop, there are still options. "For us personally, if there are any people from marginalized communities that are unable to attend because of finances, we offer free complimentary tickets and sliding scale," says Ajayi. "And we just implore that if people have jobs, or if they are white or white-passing and they have jobs, that they donate to help cover the costs of someone [who can't afford to attend]."
Mental Health For Black Women: BEAM
Black Emotional And Mental Health Collective's (BEAM) mission is to create a world where there are no barriers to Black healing. BEAM offers free programs and trainings for students, advocates, activists, and organizations that cover everything from learning necessary leadership skills and mental health diagnosis to reiki healing sessions and community care check-ins. (Due to the pandemic, all of its services are virtual until further notice.)
Mental Health For Black Women: Heal Haus
Located in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Heal Haus is a joint wellness space and cafe. Switching its services to digital for the time being, it offers daily classes (like meditation and yoga), various healing workshops like breath work for trauma and fighting fibroids, one-on-one sessions (including coaching and tele-therapy), and corporate wellness programs. Rates are $30 for monthly access to unlimited live yoga and meditation classes and $10 for a single class. Fees vary for workshops and range from free to $40.
Mental Health For Black Women: The National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network
Erica Woodland founded The National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network in 2016 in an effort to transform the mental health space for queer and trans people of color (QTPoC). Its directory provides a comprehensive list that helps locate mental health practitioners across the country. There's also a mental health fund which provides financial support. "The fund covers six sessions, and the max per session is $100," Erica Woodland, LCSW and Founding Director of National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network, tells TZR.
Mental Health For Black Women: Therapy For Black Girls
Created by psychologist Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, Therapy For Black Girls works to present mental health topics in an accessible way for Black women. This is done through helping women seek therapists, its weekly podcast, and its Yellow Couch Collection, which is a $9.99 monthly (or $99.99 yearly) subscription to help women develop the skills they need to thrive in life and in relationships and touches on topics like dating, friendships, family, and marriage.
Mental Health For Black Women: Sista Afya
"Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness provides young Black women with community support through workshops, therapy, support groups, and social wellness events," Camesha L. Jones, LCSW and Founder of Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness, tells TZR. "We also have a resource page with 30+ topics that are focused on different issues in the mental wellness field. Lastly, we have a YouTube channel that has videos about how to make it through common issues that young Black women experience."
Sista Afya offers in-house therapists via tele-therapy sessions for those in the Chicago area, ranging from $75 - $150. However if you cannot afford that rate, you can opt for a sliding scale rate which is based off your monthly income.In addition to tele-therapy sessions, the organization also offers monthly Sister Support Group workshops, which are priced at $35 and under.
Mental Health For Black Women: The Loveland Foundation
Writer and lecturer Rachel Cargle established The Loveland Foundation in 2018 after a successful birthday wish fundraiser, which raised $250,000 to make it possible for Black women and girls to get therapy and support. The Loveland Foundation brings opportunity and healing for Black women through programs like fellowships, residency programs, listening tours, and more. Its Therapy Fund provides recipients with a list of mental health professionals across the country.
Mental Health For Black Women: Inclusive Therapists
"Our licensed therapist members offer culturally responsive tele-therapy for Black women, their families, and their relationships," Melody Li, LMFT and Founder of Inclusive Therapists," tells TZR. "We center the needs of marginalized intersectional identities, including Black women that also identify as the LGBTQ+, neuro-divergent, and people with disabilities." (Li says that many of the company's therapists offer a sliding scale.)
Mental Health For Black Women: Black Girl In Om
Black Girl In Om was founded by Lauren Ash with its mission centered on "creating space for Black women to breathe easy." The founder provides complimentary meditation sessions and playlists that you can stream from home.
While currently waitlisted, the organization's "digital sister circle," known as The Circle, is comprised of 250 Black women and women of color. The five-week program touches on a different theme each week and includes daily journaling prompts, weekly thought exercises, guided meditations led by BGIO practitioners, enriching conversations special guest teachers, newsletter recaps, and bonus content. According to the BGIO site, doors open again for The Circle Summer 2020, so be on the look out for open enrollment.