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#BlackMentalHealth. Issues at Intersection of ethnicity, culture, and faith. Motherhood/parenting. 

More Focus Needed on Black Mental Health at HBCUs

As researchers and mental health professionals in higher education grapple with how to best help black students identify, acknowledge, and manage stress and mental health conditions, more needs to be known about how the social and academic environments at HBCUs might contribute both protective and risk factors to the mental and emotional health of students there. In December 2016 Historically Black Colleges and Universities—Law Enforcement Executives and Administrators, and the National Center f

Ourselves Black Spotlight Profile: Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform

In 2014, Dr. Nzinga Harrison, Chief Medical Officer for Anka Behavioral Health and co-founder of PfCJR, became deeply disturbed about the senseless killings of black men by police officers. A mother of two sons, she felt the inner tension and emotion intensify and reach a boiling point when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot that November by Cleveland police. She needed an outlet by which to express her sadness and anger so she started writing social media posts and was surprised by the res

Colorism: Let's Start Talking

This is the second article in our Colorism series as part of the #BlackMentalHealthConversations Project. The Introduction is here. Colorism is hard to talk about. It’s shameful to admit that people who have been systematically, historically, systemically, strategically, and forcefully oppressed based on having black skin would discriminate and hold prejudice against their own with blacker skin. But colorism is alive and not treating us so well. Research on colorism within the African-American

#BlackMentalHealth Conversations: Colorism

What is colorism? Is it just about preference? Is it about Black women being hypersensitive about appearance? Do we really think Gabby Sidibe, Viola Davis, Serena Williams, and Lupita Nyong’o are beautiful or do we just feel pressured to say we do? Are men subject to colorism and its effects? Is there a solution to colorism or do we just have to accept it and deal with it? Is colorism about black people’s self-hatred or white people’s racism? Why did Black women breathe a collective sigh of

Our Conversation with Liza Jessie Peterson, Author of All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island

I recently spoke with Liza Jessie Peterson about her new book, All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island. Ms. Peterson is a poet, playwright, actress, and educator who loves our children and whose experiences have so much to teach all of us about what's broken in their lives, and how to bring healing and recovery to their lives, and to our community and institutions. This published interview is edited for clarity, length, and readability. OB

Our Conversation with Liza Jessie Peterson, Author of All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island

Ourselves Black recently spoke with Liza Jessie Peterson about her new book, All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island. Ms. Peterson is a poet, playwright, actress, and educator who loves our children and whose experiences have so much to teach all of us about what's broken in their lives, and how to bring healing and recovery to their lives, and to our community and institutions. This published interview is edited for clarity, length, and readability. OB

Yes, Black Teens and Young Adults Die by Suicide, Too

On March 31, Netflix released its series adaptation of Jay Asher’s young adult novel, 13 Reasons Why. Like it or not, the topic of suicide is moving into the mainstream. And it’s about time. The much-talked about show tells the story of high school student Hannah who dies by suicide and answers the question that haunts almost every family member, friend or coworker in the aftermath of real-life suicides: why? Viewers learn as the narrative unfolds that there are 13 people whom Hannah considers

Black Mental Health Means Standing Up for Moms and Babies

Sometimes affecting change in the black community feels like a real-life version of whack-a-mole in which it seems like one issue has been put to rest, only to have another, or the same issue, pop up again and again. For several years the rate of black infant mortality declined. From 2005 to 2012 the black infant mortality rate decreased from 14.3 to 11.6 per 1,000 births. But two years later in 2014, the rate started to inch up, going from 11.4 to 11.7 per 1,000 births in 2015. Additionally, a

What Black Millenials Need to Know Now About Mental Health

Educate yourself on your own experience and gain understanding of how it has affected your current situation. Many black Millennials had childhoods and adolescent periods characterized by intimate and community violence, food and housing insecurity, an incarcerated parent or significant other, and social isolation and loneliness. These are traumatic experiences. Don’t excuse or normalize them. Because something is common doesn’t make it acceptable or ‘normal’. Cousin Larry pressing a girl agains

Ain't I A Mother, Too?

Black womanhood as of late has received a much-needed and long-overdue boost. Increased conversations and initiatives among black and mainstream media alike have moved the needle on the gauge of black women’s images toward change and positivity. Now it’s time to expand the dialogue to include black motherhood. It stands to reason that the public image of black mothers is an extension of the opinions held about black women. The Jezebel stereotype of black women being sexually promiscuous yields

Beyond 'Dear Diary': Journaling is a Proven Way to Improve Mental Health Conditions

Gratitude journaling – listing what one is thankful for as a way to keep a more positive, balanced perspective on life circumstances Dream/vision journaling – identifying goals and desired accomplishments to help foster a focus on the future and avoid feeling trapped and hopeless Communication journaling – a shared journal in which multiple people write their own messages and respond to another’s messages in a conversational back-and-forth way. Couples can use these to open up communicat

4 Key Things Parents Can Do to Change Society's Perception of Minority Males

I remember a time when things started to seem different with my son.  I knew something was wrong. I could see it in his eyes and felt it in my heart. But for all my education and acquired “insight” about male development, the teen brain, and effective parenting, I couldn’t pinpoint the problem. Then I came across this information in an article: “…As he [son] pulls away from Mom and stops talking to her…Soon, everything he does or doesn’t do and every decision he makes becomes a problem. ‘That m

How to Build Resilient Sons By Dealing with Our Own Emotions and Thoughts

With our boys facing declining academic achievement, increased and more dangerous bullying, and assaults on masculinity and manhood, researchers, educators, and community leaders are highlighting resilience as a critical asset our sons need to survive and thrive in today’s society. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress…It means ‘bouncing back’ from diffic

How Your Toxic Thoughts May Affect Parenting Your Son

Picture this: you’re running late to catch a flight for an overnight business trip and you argue with your son about whether he is mature enough to be left alone while you’re gone. By the time you arrive at the terminal, you feel the early throb of a(nother) tension headache. “Darn that kid”, you think to yourself. “Why can’t he take instruction without a bunch of backtalk? He never listens. If I find out he’s had people in my house while I’m gone…” You get to your gate and decide to watch the C

Revolution, Among Other Things: A Conversation About Anger, White Privilege, and Cultural Honesty

Revolution, Among Other Things: A Conversation About Anger, White Privilege, and Cultural Honesty In Part 1 of this series, I shared my thoughts and review of Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Epic Challenge to the Church, Edward Gilbreath’s newly-released book, described by him as an “extended reflection on Martin Luther King, Jr., Birmingham, and the church.”[1] After reading Birmingham Revolution, I was eager to know more from Ed. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to talk wit

Revolution Revisited: A Review of Ed Gilbreath's "Birmingham Revolution"

2013 was brimming with special-year anniversary commemorations. We celebrated events and people that have immeasurably shaped and defined our country and society. Perhaps most notably, the 50-year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream Speech’ dominated national consciousness by calling to our collective memory an electrifying moment of unity and promise. It’s certainly unquestionable that the Dream speech is worthy of remembrance and celebration. But even before the crowds jamm

Sisters and Citizens, Part 1: An Interview with Melissa Harris-Perry

Sisters and Citizens, Part 1: An Interview with Melissa Harris-Perry For several years, I’ve been particularly interested in what’s happening with women, specifically Black women, especially Black Christian women. And so I have been exploring what it means to occupy each of those spaces, a unified identity that I call BCW (Black Christian women). Questions of identity, markedly so for women of color, are critical because they fundamentally answer many of the determinative inquiries of our live