Mental Health Monday #44: Serena's postpartum challenges, getting a new therapist, hip-hop coloring books, etc.


On last week's Mental Health Monday, Tracee Ellis Ross shared how conquers the world even when feeling like crap, Steven Thrasher shared why seeing a queer therapist is vital for him, Janelle Harris' "For Colored Girls in Their 30s and 40s Who Feel Like Life May Have Passed Them By," and much more. Come get your blessing.


"Serena Williams Opens Up About Postpartum Complications: “Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby?” by Jessica Bennett [EBONY]

She went on, “I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.”

"Mental Health Needs Of Black Children Often Fly Under The Radar" by Britni de la Cretaz [The Fix]

A 2016 study found that black and Latino children made 47-58% fewer visits to a mental health professional than their white counterparts, despite similar rates of mental health struggles. This sets black children up for what Dr. Marva Robinson, a licensed clinical psychologist in St. Louis, calls a “permanent domino effect.”

“They usually end up in punitive systems—suspensions, detentions, kicked out of school, expelled or placed in alternative schools,” Robinson told St. Louis Public Radio. “And so, that leads to a very negative trajectory from that point forward. So, higher dropout rates, lower paying jobs, more likely to end up in the criminal system and it just goes on from there.”

5 Tips For Black Girl Bosses To Manage Their Mental Health  by T-Kea Blackman [21 Ninety]


When building a business, our team usually consists of a lawyer, accountant, marketing or business coach, graphic designer and maybe a publicist. Yet, we fail to think of a therapist as a vital part of the team. If your mental health fails, you will put your business at risk. Commit to therapy. It does not mean you are weak. And no, you don't have to have a mental illness to see a therapist.

"As a Young Black Man, Rap Helped Me Deal with Depression When I Was Afraid to Seek Help" by Jesse Bernard [Noisey]

The combination of lines like “I don’t want to think of suicide” on “Heavenly Father” and “Hope they don't kill you cause you black today / They only feel you when you pass away / The eulogy be so moving, we live the scenes of those movies” on “Ronnie Drake” communicated what I was unable to say when I felt my voice was insignificant. Whether it was the brooding nature of "West Savannah" and "Tranquility," where Rashad revealed his suicide attempts and substance abuse, or the lines that helped me deal with the odd "You don't talk how I imagined you would" comment from my colleagues at work, it was the first time an artist had spoken to the entirety of my experience.

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The latest episode of Therapy For Black Girls explores an important question: "Session 40: Do I Need A New Therapist?"

And because you need a break sometimes, check out Bun B's Rap Coloring & Activity Book:

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

Mental Health Monday #6: Virtual Therapy, Curbing Self-Doubt, and Motherhood with Mental Illness

Happy Monday! Another chance to be less terrible and do the right thing. Or not. Either way, a The bad news is it's not 2020 yet. The good news is Viola Davis's reign of greatness continueth. She gave another mixtape-worthy speech while accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Fences last night. And Sir Mahershala Ali went home with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work on Moonlight. And after a wacky mix-up, Moonlight won Best Picture, just like the ancestors intended. Anyhow, on to the good shit.


A while back, Marc Lamont Hill facilitated a discussion on depression among African-Americans with Bassey Ikpi, director of the Siwe Project; Dr. Jeff Gardere, psychologist and author; and Terrie Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting.

"What virtual therapy means for mental health in the black community" by Kady Phillips [Blavity]

"It's easier to talk to your therapist when you're not in front of them

Similar to having hard conversations via text (because you can't see the person), this experience feels less personal and has been proven to encourage patients to reveal more. In fact, because of this, virtual therapy might just make more of a difference than actual in-person therapy."

"How To Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed By Your Newsfeed" [Ann Douglas]

"Allow yourself to feel all the feelings

Allow painful emotions to flow through you as opposed to avoiding them (which suppresses positive as well as negative emotions, leaving you feeling emotionally "flat") or dwelling on them (which ties up cognitive resources, leaving you less equipped to solve problems or connect with other people). Remind yourself that feelings come and feelings go -- and you are not your feelings."

"My Worries About Having a Baby as a Woman With Bipolar Disorder" by Crystal Lancaster [The Mighty]

"But I’m so scared. I have been on these pills since I was a teenager. I’m scared to death to simply stop taking them. Will I be able to handle it? Could I cope? I mean, I’ve had a major relapse even when I was on the pills! What happens when I’m off them entirely? It…I don’t know. It seems so unfair. I feel like bipolar disorder makes my life abnormal enough as it is. Is it so wrong to have one thing in my life that is “normal?” So I can at least pretend to be “normal” again? Why should I have to deny myself of one of the things I want most in this world because I developed a mental illness?"

"On Black Masculinity, The Mental Well-Being Of Black Men And 'Fences'" by L. Malik Anderson [Blavity]

"My father often told me as a teenager sometimes I held myself back, like I was in a war with myself. Like Washington’s character I would stare into the void of darkness and got nowhere, never openly facing my anxiety and depression. 

I never asked for therapy because of the stigma around mental health. Instead, I spent all my time in church wrestling away my personal demons. I sat with the complacency of dealing with emotions internally. "

"Steps to Turn Off the Nagging Self-Doubt in Your Head" by Elizabeth Bernstein [Wall Street Journal]

"Create an Imaginary Friend

We’re often nicer to our friends than we are to ourselves. If a friend told you he was telling himself the same irrational things you tell yourself, you’d have no trouble telling him he is wrong.

Imagine that you have a friend who is exactly like you in every respect. Give him a name. Then pretend he is telling himself the same destructive thoughts you tell yourself. How would you refute him? What evidence would you give that his thinking is wrong? Listen carefully to what you are telling your friend. Write it down. Take this to heart."

"Thank You to 'This Is Us' for Portraying a Character With Anxiety" by Monica Drake [The Mighty]

"In Tuesday’s episode, Randall talked about how his adoptive father, Jack, kept his anxiety in check. “Whenever I’d get too in my head, he’d take his hands and put them on both sides of my head and he’d just say, ‘There you go, breathe with me.’ And we’d just sit there, breathing together until it passed.”

He said, “It’s always been like that. Putting the pressure on myself ever since I was a little boy.”"

Do you have a mental health-related story, article, event, or resource we should know about? Send it our way!

Previous Mental Health Mondays:

Mental Health Monday: Mindfulness, Soldiers with Autism, and Treating Schizophrenia with Weed

Mental Health Monday: Meditating Kids, Trap Yoga, and Boxers with Bipolar Disorder

Mental Health Monday: Hey, Go Check In On Someone

Mental Health Monday: Stock up on self-care. Winter is here.

Mental Health Monday: Here's to a hateration-free 2017.

Mental Health Reading Lists 1 | 2 | 3

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A Mother's Conundrum

I want to raise her for

a world where...

please and thank you



skin color doesn't.

A world where

nice is rewarded


people take turns.

I want her to be


and kind.

I want her to be


and giving.

I want her to share.

I want her to care.


I want to raise her

for the world I dream about

I want her to be

part of the solution

not the problem.

I want...

so much...

for her.


But we live

in THIS world.


skin color does matter.

It can get you


and your murderer

walks free.

Nice is seen as weak.

People don't speak.

And if you don't push your way in

you may never get a turn.



I want her to be open.

I want her to be sweet.

I want her to give an equal chance

to each person she meets.

I want her to love peace.


I want to raise her

for the world I dream about

I want her to be

part of the solution

not the problem.

I want...

so much...

for her.


But we live

in THIS world.

So far from the one I dream about.

And although I love

my rose-colored glasses

I cannot,

for her,




This is a Mother's conundrum.


Dana Russell was born and raised in the Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop. Rhythm and rhyme were her first foods. Dana lives poetry. When she isn't doing all of the things associated with being Mother to a future boss she can be found performing at Ashford and Simpson's Sugar Bar. Dana wears her invisible tiara everywhere she goes and is known in the poetry world as HRH Dana. Don Quixote is one of her heroes and Dana spends an inordinate amount of time tilting at windmills and attempting to love the ugly, messy, beautiful world that we live in. More Dana: Web | Instagram | Facebook