Mental health awareness in the Black community has been on the rise over the last couple of years. Thanks to an influx of Black therapists, increased avenues of treatment, and an overall normalizing of therapy, prioritizing one’s psychological well-being is becoming more acceptable.
The newfound acceptance has been coupled with complicated conversations, reopened wounds and a lot of parents trying to navigate resources while acknowledging that their child struggles with their mental health.
Depending on your child’s age, the ice breaker to the conversation can be as simple as “how are you today?” followed by a deeper dive into their feelings. A few notes for fostering a healthy safe place for your child are:
Listen attentively. If your child is vulnerable enough to share their feelings, give them your undivided attention.
Validate their feelings. What seems like a small problem to an adult can be Earth shattering for a child. Providing a safe place for them to air their grievances is a great way to bond.
Know when to invite a professional in. One of the best parts of normalized therapy is that the stigma has been lifted. Sometimes an unbiased professional can help shed light and guide through tough situations.
Black girls report higher rates of sexual harassment, both in school and out of school, than any other group. For girls, sexual harassment can lead to elevated risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, feeling unsafe at school, and more, according to nbwji.org. Another factor is poverty, which is not only a contributor but a liability as many Black families cannot afford adequate mental health services. According to jamanetwork.com, racial and ethnic minorities have less access to mental health services than whites, and when they receive care, it is more likely to be of poorer quality. For youth, nearly 50% of those with a mental health disorder do not receive needed treatment or counseling from a mental health professional.
In addition to mentorship, Ladies of Virtue provides all LOV sisters the freedom to be themselves. One of the ways Ladies of Virtue seeks to combat the mental health disparities is to provide a safe place for the LOV sisters to speak up about issues concerning them.
Here are a few examples of how Ladies of Virtue helps with mental health:
One of our ritual exercises is to share highs and lows, a restorative practice. This vulnerable yet fun activity includes both our LOV sisters and mentors. It also doubles as a forum to showcase solidarity. No one struggles alone. LOV sisters are able to see that everyone has highs and lows, but regardless of what is happening, they also have a forever community in Ladies of Virtue.
We incorporate mental health workshops in all of our programming. Topics include: how to manage social anxiety, how to practice self care, how to manage emotions in the workplace and more!
We provide free small group counseling sessions of 3 - 5 girls for 8 weeks for participants.
We provide free one on one counseling sessions for 8 to 12 weeks for our participants and alumni.
We offer bi-monthly mental health workshops for parents with a licensed clinical counselor. Topics include: Improving communication with my daughter, How to cope with Trauma and more!
Here is another great resource if your child is in need of mental health services - https://therapyforblackgirls.com/