Mental health resources specifically geared towards women of color are excruciatingly hard to find. Across the country, women of color are dealing with mental illness and stresses in silence. It is long past time for that to end. Women of color have some of the lowest treatment rates for mental illnesses in the country- yet our rates of illness are the same, or higher than, white women in the US.
The stigma surrounding mental illnesses in our communities runs strong and deep. It is tied into many things: the fight against racism, assimilation, for some of us it’s the ‘model-minority’ myth, for some of us it’s the ‘strong black woman’ trope. The reasons for the stigma are as complex as our communities themselves. But the answer to the question of how do we break the stigma is the same across the board. We talk about it.
Here are some of my favorite mental health resources for women of color. You don’t have to be any specific race to appreciate them, but I love that these women and organizations are raising their voices and standing firmly in the intersection of race, sex, and mental health.
Mimi Khúc has created something that I am just in love with! It’s called Open In Emergency and it is a mix of art, information, spirituality, and support.
For some time we’ve agreed there’s a crisis of Asian American mental health—we keep pointing to the alarming CDC reports on Asian American suicide and suicidal ideation rates. But nobody agrees on the breadth of the crisis, what contributes to it, or how to deal with it. We’re grasping only some small fraction of Asian American unwellness.
Rather than trying to recalibrate our existing mental health resources to better engage race and Asian American experience, what if we started on the opposite end, with what wellness, unwellness, and care actually look like in Asian American life?
There is a beautiful tarot deck, a ‘hacked’ copy of the DSM, a tapestry, letters, and a pamphlet on PPD all included in this collection. This project was started via Kickstarter and it has been overdelivering since day one!
Do you know Dior Vargas? Well, you should. Dior started the People of Color Mental Illness Photo Project in response to the stigma surrounding mental health. She is helping to bring us all out of the shadows and it is a beautiful thing! You can see the project here. Dior is also an advocate on mental health issues and she speaks at college, conferences, and events across the country.
On Facebook, you can find No More Martyrs, a page dedicated to mental health in black women. There are articles, videos, community, and support. You can find information on events and news from across the country, or you can simply end your weekend following #SoundtrackSunday and get yourself in the perfect mood to start the week.
If Podcasts are your thing, or if you grew up loving Gullah Gullah Island, there is a wonderful new one from Sarah Makeba Daise. Sarah is committed to the healing of African American women and the community at large. We FLY Podcast is dedicated to all types of healing, but she kicked off with mental health and will continue to feature it regularly.
All Women of Color
The Tessera Collective is dedicated to mental health empowerment and community for women of color. A’Driane Nieves, Maritza Valle, and Rozella White started the site and they have an online support group as well as a directory of therapists of color from across the country. The support group is peer to peer and is private. They maintain a truly safe space for women to be open about their mental health challenges and receive support. You can also follow Tessera on Facebook or Twitter.
Postpartum Progress has a wonderful resource called The New Mom Mental Health Checklist. It can help expectant and new parents and their families start conversations amongst themselves or with medical providers about maternal mental illness. The checklist is now available in specialized versions for black women and those from the African diaspora, Spanish speakers, in a simplified Chinese version, and a simplified Tagalog version. Jasmine Banks is the Civic Partnership Program manager, helping to connect Postpartum Progress with underserved communities across the country.
What (and Who) is Missing?
I know that there are huge holes in this list. It is dramatically incomplete. That is because we need more resources, both online and brick and mortar. It is also because I am only featuring websites and women that I know and can vouch for here. Please, PLEASE leave information in the comments about other resources. I would like to make this list a regular feature and would love for it to grow constantly. I am especially interested in resources for our Native and First Peoples sisters and our Middle Eastern sisters as I know there is a great need in those communities right now. So tell me – who am I missing? Where are the stigma fighters and the life savers?
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