12 Black Wellness and Mental-Health Resources on Instagram

From the coronavirus pandemic continuing to have a disproportionate impact on people of color to the past week’s events—which saw the senseless killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, propel protests against police brutality across the country—it is a devastating and vulnerable time for the Black community. Even before the virus and these latest brutal acts of racial injustice, the fact was, and remains, that Black Americans are 10% more likely to experience serious psychological distress and are more likely to experience socioeconomic disparities that contribute to worse mental-health outcomes. Addressing this critical issue, many Black individuals and platforms continue to foster community and provide resources to those suffering mentally.
“Our bodies are really the arbiters of safety, and when we’re not safe in the world, being honored in our humanity, or if our basic human needs aren’t being met, then we start to break down—spiritually, emotionally, physically,” explains Latham Thomas, doula and founder of wellness platform Mama Glow. “The only pathway to move forward and stay strong is to be gentle with yourself and become acquainted with your vulnerabilities. For us to be able to do this work constantly and show up, we have to take care of ourselves, and how we do that is so hinged on us being able to have access and tools for self-care.”

In addition to educating and empowering the Black community on maternal health and birth equity, Thomas shares tools of consciousness, such as yoga and mediation, to help individuals cope with pain and stress. In the same spirit, meditation expert Light Watkins demonstrates how harnessing the power of mindfulness can be beneficial in fighting against and dealing with the emotional trauma of racial discrimination. Whether it leads to participating in a guided meditation session or a cathartic forum, Watkins believes social media is a robust resource every day, but particularly in this moment when social distancing hinders gathering in person.
“The overarching, overall objective is to connect, to be heard and be seen,” says Watkins of utilizing social media as a resource and tool for connection. “The great thing about all of the different platforms that we have today is that there’s a tool that usually fits everyone who wants to be able to access their full potential in whatever way. We need our full mental faculties so that we can continue speaking, fighting, and protesting authentically.” From Sista Afya to the Black Mental Health Alliance, here are 12 Instagram accounts that are working to provide mental-health and self-care support for the Black community during this time of collective heartache and devastation.

 

Black Girl In Om/ @blackgirlinom

 

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We hope that #BGIOPodcast episode 57, released as part of our special Black Girl In Om Expansion Tour series, encourages you to step into 2020 knowing you are unconditionally Loved and supported. And — *because* of the transformation power of love, you have the capacity to expand to abundant fruition in each area of your life. ⁣ ⁣ Within your family.⁣ Within your friendships.⁣ Within your workplace. ⁣ ⁣ Tag someone ?￰゚マᄒ‍♀️ who is actively writing a new story in her life this decade. ⁣ ⁣ Karlene (@karlenegperry) and Lauren (@hellolaurenash) deepen into a conversation about manifestation, pruning and planting the gardens of our lives, and creating plans for greater freedom. Click our bio link to tune in tonight. This one’s a goodie.⁣

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Founded by Lauren Ash, Black Girl In Om is a global platform that provides a “space for women of color to breathe easy,” offering holistic wellness workshops largely based in journaling, mind-clearing meditation, and body-restoring yoga. Recently, Ash launched The Circle, a new digital initiative that provides members with journaling prompts, thought exercises, and guided meditations to further support the global community of Black women and women of color.

 

Dive In Well / @diveinwell

 

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CALL TO ACTION:⁣ ⁣ This past week, Ahmaud Arbery’s killers were arrested, but that does not mean justice has been served or that the work is over. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣Although we are moved by the power that can be yielded when people come together and the runs posted near and far to honor this young person, as an organization we are calling upon our White and White Passing peers who consider themselves allys or accomplices. ⁣ ⁣ Ahmaud’s death comes at a pivitol point in our industry—the “wellness” industry as he was simply invoking his right to be well and was murdered for it. ⁣ ⁣ If you are a White or White Passing person who considers yourself an ally or accomplice, we need to know: how are you going to contribute to honor Ahmaud and all that he represents? How are you going to plan to fight for justice, not just for him, but for Black and Brown bodies? What is your plan on how you’re actively going to be anti-racist to contribute to the end of violence against Black bodies?⁣ ⁣ White silence = violence, so sound off below, we want to hear your plans….

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Addressing the deep need for more diversity in the wellness industry, platform Dive In Well was recently relaunched and expanded by founder Maryam Ajayi, an entrepreneur and energy healer, to offer more digital workshops, workbooks, and consulting in an effort to bolster both individuals and businesses to support inclusivity.

 

Black Mental Health Alliance / @black_minds_matter_


The Black Mental Health Alliance is a community-based membership organization designed to develop and sponsor education programs and services to support optimal mental health and well-being within the Black community. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, BMHA has been offering engaging online discussions, from discussing the strengths and vulnerabilities of the Black community to help navigating the economic crisis.

 

Therapy for Black Girls / @therapyforblackgirls


Founded by psychologist Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, Therapy for Black Girls works to destigmatize mental-health issues and make resources, such as in-office and virtual therapy, Q&A sessions with experts, and deep dives on relevant topics, more accessible for black women.

 

The Nap Ministry / @thenapministry


Founded in 2016 by poet and performance artist Tricia Hersey, The Nap Ministry examines the liberating power of rest, underlining sleep deprivation as a racial and social issue. On Instagram, Hersey offers strategies for more restorative rest, education around Black liberation, and tools such as her grief and healing Spotify playlist.

 

HealHaus / @healhaus

 

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CIRCLE OF CARE FOR BLACK WOMXN // RSVP required to attend. Link in bio. The onslaught of violence against black bodies is especially traumatizing and dehumanizing for those of us who live the realities of what it means to be a black person day in and day out. We need safe spaces where we can share and lean on one another as we envision, organize and create new realities for ourselves and our children. Circle of Care for Black Womxn is a safe, life-giving support community for black womxn during tumultuous times to witness and bear witness to one another. The gathering will be guided by Thérèse Cator, Leadership Coach, Healer and Founder of Black Girls Breathe and you’ll lean on life-affirming tools such as meditation, breath, connection to lay your burdens down and invite deeper healing. This circle is open to all self-identified Black womxn.

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Bedford–Stuyvesant–based HealHaus was born out of a need for a wellness space that “allows people to come as they are without any judgements or expectations,” explains Elisa Shankle, who cofounded the organization alongside Darian Hall. Pivoting many of their offerings digitally in the time of social distancing, HealHaus has been offering healing workshops, as well as donation-based yoga, meditation, and healing sessions.

 

The Loveland Foundation / @thelovelandfoundation


Founded by activist Rachel Cargle, the Loveland Foundation provides financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy for healing and well-being. In addition to building community through hosting dynamic talks, the platform’s Instagram account has become a favorite for inspiring and informational graphics that promote self-care and mental-health support.

 

Latham Thomas / @glowmaven


Latham Thomas is a doula, author, and founder of Mama Glow who has made it her mission to bridge the gap between wellness, spiritual growth, and radical self-care—and her Instagram is a reflection of just that. In addition to being a source of support and information for expectant Black mothers, who are at higher risk of experiencing poor maternal-health outcomes, Thomas offers aid in restorative ritual practices, such as meditation as well as webinars for doulas and parents.

 

Rest for Resistance / @qtpocmentalhealth


Rest for Resistance is a grassroots, trans-led organization uplifting LGBTQIA+ individuals, namely trans and queer people of color. As a platform, it fosters a safe online space that promotes meditation as an act of resistance, and features art, writing, and a directory of intersectional mental-health resources.

 

Sista Afya / @sistaafya

 

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@sistaafya Founder shares benefits of Therapy and how you can get support! click the link in our bio to get started ❤️

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Bringing together Black women across the African diaspora, Sista Afya is a platform founded by social worker Camesha Jones that focuses on sustaining mental wellness through building community, sharing information, and providing access to quality, low-cost mental wellness services. One of Sista Afya’s most popular series is the Sister Support Group, which promotes friendship and sisterhood as vehicles for life-changing mental-health support.

 

Ethel’s Club / @ethelsclub


While Williamsburg social and wellness hub Ethel’s Club—which offers working, gathering, and performance spaces designed specifically with people of color in mind—had to close its brick-and-mortar location, founder Naj Austin has transitioned their community online. During this challenging time for the Black community, Ethel’s Club has been offering free online gatherings, performances, and healing sessions.

Light Watkins / @lightwatkins

 

In this time of unrest, working through anger, grief, and frustration is that much more emotionally taxing. Answering the collective longing for guidance on how to employ mindfulness as a tool, meditation expert Light Watkins has been sharing videos talking through coping with COVID-19 and confronting racism.

By Lauren Valenti
June 3, 2020 — Vogue

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