Mental Health Monday #64: Black Mental Health on TV + strategies for coping and healing, etc.

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Welcome to another round of Mental Health Monday, your weekly dose of stories, resources, and motivation for your everyday life. On last week's installment, actor Orlando Brown checks into rehab to address substance abuse and mental wellness challengs, Yolo Akili of BEAM talked to Shondaland about overcoming barriers to wellness, a trauma therapist shares tips for helping folks navigate panic attacks, and much more. Come get some.


The Rise of Black Male Mental Health Awareness In Primetime TV” by Jonathan P. Higgins [Shadow and Act]

In one powerful scene in season 2, we see Randall attempt to get through a really bad panic attack where he’s lost his eyesight and has difficulty breathing. He calls his brother on the phone for help. Though panic attacks manifest in different ways for different people, many people praised the episode and Brown’s performance for showing how crippling anxiety can be. It was also important to show Randall calling his brother for help and having his brother take anxiety seriously enough to leave a huge opportunity of his own in order to go and sit with Randall through the attack. 

As part of their Black Women’s Mental Health Initiative, the California Black Women’s Health Project published their commandments for optimizing your mental and emotional wellness.

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The California Black Women’s Health Project also has amassed resources for mental wellness, suicide prevention, domestic abuse, etc. Check out the rest of their goodness.

After Losing A Friend To Suicide, Englewood Woman Starts Company To Get Black Chicagoans Talking About Mental Health” by Lee Edwards [Block Club Chicago]

“He was one of those people who lit up a room no matter where he was and he was one of those people you could lean on and dump all of your stuff on,” Moss said of her friend. “He would give you great advice, wonderful advice, and we just thought he had really thick skin and didn’t know he was going through so much with PTSD and other traumas that may have happened both in the military and before because he grew up in Chicago.”

The stigma surrounding mental health runs deep in her neighborhood, Moss said, and she knew there needed to be a new approach to speaking with communities of color about these issues. Her idea? Use music and poetry to get people talking. 

Mental Health Break:

Men, Melanin & Mental Health” by Darnell Chika [Behind the Schmile]

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The concept of gender roles has had an adverse effect on how I see mental health. As a male I wonder how many terms I’ve heard:

“man up”

“men don’t cry”,

“you have to be strong”,

“crying is for girls” etc.

Unbeknown to people, such statements spoken upon the life of a young boy can have severe and long-lasting consequences. As a black male, it has been instilled in me that I should overlook how I feel and simply “move on”, which quite frankly is one of the worst things to do when your mental health is in question.

Black Mental Wellness has compiled a database of strategies for coping and healing that can help for initiating healthier self-care practices:

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  • Relaxation Strategies

    • Did you know that when you’re experiencing significant emotional/physical stress or tension that it can also have an impact on your breathing? During times of stress, individuals are more likely to take short and quicker shallow breaths, compared to slow and longer deeper breaths when in a more relaxed state.

  • Reading Strategies

    • Identifying even a brief specified time each day to read a book, can help shift your focus and improve your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. 

  • Activity Scheduling

    • Sometimes, we get so overwhelmed and distracted with work and family responsibilities that we forget to do the little (or big) things that bring us joy and give us a sense of purpose. Or, you might feel so depressed that it is almost unbearable to get out of bed in the morning. When that happens, it can be helpful to be purposeful about scheduling positive activities into your day.

  • Pleasant Activities

    • When you are feeling depressed, stressed, or just had a bad day at work, instead of engaging in an activity or behavior that does not nurture your mind, body, or spirit, try one of these positive activities to help you shift your mood to a more pleasant state.

Missed some mental health content? Here’s what you’ve missed.

If you have a mental health resource, event, or piece of content we should know about, step into our office. You da bess.