As the Executive Director of BEAM, I constantly hear people say that “optimism” and “positive thinking” are the answers to addressing Black emotional health. I often hear that if we simply changed our outlook on racism, or focused more on the good in our communities, mental health challenges and systemic inequity would inevitably (and some even say automatically) disappear. I disagree with this perspective. I disagree because transphobia, racism, sexism, ableism and you know—all the historical trauma and ongoing psychological distress that Black people experience in this country, need more elaborate solutions than just “think positive’ and “look on the bright side.” We actually need much more than optimism: we need access to mental health care, economic justice, training, social justice informed mental health literacy and most importantly—each other. But before we even get there we need a new, honest re-framing of what emotional health is and how emotions work. We need this because a lot of the common knowledge shared in our communities and in the United States in general, does a great dis-service to our general well being.
So in the spirit of addressing that, here are 8 tips on emotional health that I use to guide my life and the work BEAM does. I hope that you find them helpful. And if you are looking for more resources or support, head over to our website and we will help you take it from there.
Here are my tips and guidelines:
In the spirit of love and healing,