Mental Wellness in the Black Community

We’re in a moment of reckoning now that feels long overdo. Pearl Street Caviar stands with the Black community against the long-established, systemic racism of this country and denounces the ongoing unjust treatment of Black Americans. We welcome this period of accountability and self-reflection to help us recognize our role in dismantling toxic white supremacist ideology within our institutions, communities and ourselves.

We understand, as well, that this is a time to listen, to learn, and to amplify and provide space for voices that need to be heard.

For this edition of our Wellness Letter, we’ve invited Black members of the Pearl Street community to share their personal narratives and to tell us how, in the midst of everything else, they're addressing their mental and physical health needs and navigating this turbulent time.

We want to thank Christine, Andrea, and Kyjah for sharing their perspectives. And thank you for reading.

Craig Page (PSC Founder) & Chinara Tate, PhD RD (PSC Wellness Director)

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For this week’s Wellness Letter PSC resident dietitian and scientific advisor, Dr. Chinara Tate, asked fellow PSC team members Kyjah, Andrea, and Christine:“What wellness practices and resources have you found most helpful in addressing your own self-care, mental and physical health needs during the present [acute] crisis within a [long-standing historic] crisis?”

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Kyjah

Kyjah Coryat, @leaveavoicemail

Racial trauma has a direct impact on your mental health. To protect my sanity, I go into survival mode. This means:

  • I set boundaries so that I can cope in a healthy way; ensuring that I don’t put more pressure on myself. The timer app on my phone helps me organize and prioritize myself before my work.

  •  I give myself time to process and reach out to my emotionally safe support network- my parents, my best friends, and my life coach help keep me grounded and provide comfort. 

Although social media can be an unabated way to keep track of what is going on, it is a great tool for finding communities that understand your feelings (shoutout to @theccnyc @spicy.zine @theconsciouskid @thelovelandfoundation). As always, resting helps infinitely. For help on guided naps, please visit, The Nap Ministry.

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Andrea

Andrea Angarica, @andreaangarica

The stability of my mental health has always been of extreme importance especially in my specific industry. Due to the social issue surrounding Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, I found 

myself in a hard position as I battled with maintaining my sanity while working to help implement change through all of their stories. Breonna's story in particular hit home since we're around the same age. I have black friends that were terrorized at the possibility that it could happen to any of us. Although my sadness and pain are completely valid, I believe that it's essential for me to keep my mental health in check. Here are a few practices that helped me through this time: 

1. Meditate as soon as I wake up. I try my best to not answer any text messages, emails, calls or go on social media before I have done my daily meditation. If I do any of those before, I find myself being restless and not able to focus on remaining calm and present.

Apps that I use: Simple Habit, BetterMe, Sanity & Self

2. Follow my meditation with stretching and working out. It's important to get my energy flowing through moving my body. It does not have to be a full intense workout, sometimes I just do 2-3 sets of my favorite workouts to release endorphins before I get into my day. 

Workout sources that I use: Nike app, Francheska Martinez's Bodyweight Program

3. Have conversations with my close friends and colleagues on how we plan to implement change. Talking about the pain is one thing, but focusing on solutions is the only way that we're going to get through this. I find joy in seeing all of my friends being super passionate about this cause and love to hear and share how we plan on shifting the culture for the long haul, rather than talking about it for a week on social media. A lot of them have ideas that I believe are super creative and out of this world so it's important to keep yourself in conversation that keeps you excited about the future. 

4. Find time to do things that genuinely make me happy. I love taking 30 minutes to an hour listening to my favorite music and just dancing freely (no matter how crazy I may look lol). It reminds me that my energy is naturally happy, liberating, and confident. Those are the things that I have to keep in mind during this time; I will not allow my black joy and freedom to be censored by anyone no matter how much the system tells me to do the opposite.

Christine

Christine Shepard, @chrisnshep 

In these trying times there are a few activities that have helped me maintain my physical and mental health. I enjoy recreational exercise like riding my bike and yoga. To express my emotions I write poetry and short stories. I am fortunate to be close with my family, so talking with them helps ease my mind and spirit.

RESOURCES

BIPOC Mental Health Resources

13 Black-Owned Therapy & Wellness Resources | Melanin & Mental Health | Inclusive Therapists | Black Mental Wellness Corp IG | Maryam Ajayi IG

BIPOC & LGBTQ Mental Health organizations to check out & support

The Loveland Foundation | BEAM (The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective) |

National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network | Ethel’s Club | You Good, Sis? |

The Okra Project’s Nina Pop Mental Health Recovery Fund

Donate in support of BLM

By visiting this link you can split your donation to all of the following groups, or allocate specific amounts to individual groups.

Black Lives Matter Global Network · National Bail Out · Know Your Rights Camp · Black Voters Matter Fund · BYP100 · NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund · The National Police Accountability Project · Color of Change Education Fund · Unicorn Riot · Campaign Zero · Advancement Project · Higher Heights for America · Fair Fight Action

Other organizations: 

LifeCamp Inc. - focused on the NYC community | The Bail Project 

Get Involved

Campaign Zero - actions and solutions to end police violence in America

Educational Resources for Allies

Videos:

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Divide | Neil Degrasse Tyson on Being Black and Women in Science |
Reconstruction: A Revolution that Went Backwards

Books

The New Jim Crow | I’m still here: Black Dignity in A World Made for Whiteness | White Fragility | How to be an antiracist | Me & White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor | Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution

Additional compilation of resources linked here