Mental Health Resources
- BlackLine– a 24/7 national crisis support hotline (with a text option as well) provides a space for peer support and counseling, reporting of mistreatment, and affirming the lived experiences to those who are most impacted by systematic oppression. Operated with an LGBTQ+ Black Femme affirming lens.
- The Safe Place App – “The Safe Place” Is a Minority Mental Health App geared towards the Black Community. African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the rest of the general population. However, many black people still do not wish to seek professional help for their mental illnesses.
- The Nap Ministry—A blog that explores the science of sleep and black liberation theology. Explores the ideas around “Rest as Resistance” and the liberating power of naps. Activities are listed in blogs.
- Trauma Response and Crisis Care for Movements– An organization mobilizing community across three dimensions for this COVID-19 moment: 1-1 virtual care, interactive webinars (for the general community & healing provider specific content), and practice groups offering community gathering space focused around meditation, stress-reduction practices, and rituals as well as specific practices such as EMDR (a common treatment for PTSD symptoms). Additionally, they have a growing #distressinplace Resource Manual for support and information around healing and care services.
• The Restorative Justice Team Virtual Support Circle
- Bear Witness – Powerful! A range of educators, leaders, and activists as we have a frank and honest dialogue on race was live on Youtube 6/13/20 at 6pm. Watch the recording.
- Hair Love – Hair Love, an Oscar®-winning animated short film from Matthew A. Cherry, tells the heartfelt story of an African American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.
Self-Care and Healing Tips
*These have been collected from Counseling and Psychological Service Center Resource Pages across the country. They span publish dates from 2014-2020. While the names and story specifics may change, the narrative, struggle—and thus coping mechanisms—remain the same.
- Article: Tips for Self-Care: When Police Brutality Has You Questioning Humanity and Social Media Is Enough
- Article: Digital Self-care for Black individuals coping with trauma
- Audio Activity (17-min) and Article: Black Lives Matter Meditation for Healing Racial Trauma
- Article: The Road to Resilience – American Psychological Association
- Video: Emotionally Restorative Self Care for People of Color – Black People – African Americans
- Tip: Community Building – “In times of distress, it is important to be mindful of the community you create around yourself. It can be useful to connect yourself to others, paying particular attention to your social identity groups (i.e., sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and gender) and consider talking over your concerns with others in the safe, comfortable environment. It can also be helpful to spend time with friends, family, colleagues, or social groups who may be able to listen to you, and/or incorporate your spiritual and religious faiths.” – University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services
- Tip: Self-Care Tips for Black People Feeling Overwhelmed by the Media -@reignxshine
- Set firm boundaries: You are under no obligation to explain your feelings or educate people on what we are dealing with.
- Indulge in black creativity: We are THE creators, after all…Switching your focus for a while does not mean you don’t care. Seeking out black art and celebrating black joy can provide some respite from traumatizing media coverage.
- Be tactful about your daily scrolls: Not every post, tweet, article or message requires your attention and response. A constant intake of appalling footage and information can be overwhelming, to say the least.
- Feel: Remember that your feelings are valid and take time to acknowledge them. Anger, sadness, fear…? All justified.
- Connect with other black people: It is important to seek support and comfort from others that you can trust.
Affirmation and Reflection Quotes
“When your heart is bent toward justice and you feel the weight of what has not changed, and you are SO tired of fighting a fight that keeps taking on new shapes, it does not make you weak when your tired heart is broken. Do not let them shame you because your wounds are still open” -Morgan Harper Nichols
“Rest because the exhaustion that percolates after countless deaths of Black bodies can be debilitating. When it comes to processing racial trauma, validate the feelings of helplessness, exhaustion, sadness, and of course anger. Giving space to share these feelings decreases the likelihood of Black people internalizing the messages spewed by white supremacy.” -Kenya Crawford @ilymag
Understanding the Trauma Response
- Article: Racism’s Psychological Toll
- Audio (4-min): Coping While Black: A Season of Traumatic News Takes a Psychological Toll
- Article: PBS: When black death goes virtual, it can trigger PTSD-like trauma. This article examines the negative mental health effects of exposure to violent and racist images and messages. The author interviewed Monica Williams, a clinical psychologist, and director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville, and concluded that “graphic videos” combined with lived experiences of racism can create severe psychological problems reminiscent of post-traumatic stress syndrome.” -University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services.
Racial Trauma and Lowering Cortisol Levels to Cope with Racial Stressors
“Cortisol: |noun| a stress hormone made in and released by the adrenal glands. It is the alarm system in your body that fuels your instinctual fight and flight responses in times of danger, threat, and crisis. When you are on high alert all the time due to race-based stressors, heightened levels of cortisol may lead to health issues, such as:
- Heart Disease
- Sleep Problems
- Increased Hypervigilance, depression + anxiety
- Among other somatic manifestations of stress – often matches the symptoms of PTSD.
Lowering Cortisol Levels:
- Take a nap
- Take a break from social media or your phone
- 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
- 5 Senses Grounding Exercise
- Drink ginger tea + eat dark chocolate
- Liberate Meditation App: Meditation. For Us, By Us. An app for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community. iOS and Android.
- Diffuse Clove oil
- Hydrotherapy (Tub: peppermint and eucalyptus bath salts or Shower: adjust to the hottest water temperature you can handle, and then the coldest you can handle)
- Watch your caffeine or alcohol intake
- Drink capsules of Vitamin D
- Sing + Dance your heart out to your people’s music
- Mindful cooking (make a family recipe!)
- Find safe ways to express rage & grief
- Find your kin: process, cry, laugh, simply be together
Music to Heal
A Grief and Honor Playlist has been curated by a group of University of Michigan Black Alumni and started by 2012 Alumni, Christian Ziraldo. *If you would like to add to the playlist it may be collaborative/editable depending on your Spotify account features but try to stay on theme 😉.
- Legendaryrootz– A lifestyle brand for Black Women to authentically express themselves through powerful, statement-driven apparel.
- Relievethebar– University of Michigan Black Alumni Apparel #BlackWolverines
Resources for When You Don’t Have the Energy (or Desire) to Dialogue but Want to Give Something
- Article: Anti-Racism Resources For White People (if you want to share something with those in your life)
- Article: Black Trauma and Showing Up At Work
- Article: Advice for White Folks in the Wake of the Police Murder of a Black Person
- Article: 12 Ways to Be a White Ally to Black People
- Article: How to respond to “Riots Never Solve Anything”–an Opinion Piece