Mental Health Resources for BIPOC Community Members

Mental Health Resources for BIPOC Community Members

| Vanesha McGee

Mental Health Resources for BIPOC Community Members

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For some, therapy and other mental health supports may feel like a luxury. Mental health resources that center and affirm BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) can prove hard to come by.

The offerings provided below include a variety of resources for BIPOC community members seeking mental health support.

Effects of Disparities in Counseling for BIPOC

Working with professionals who affirm and support your mental health journey is essential. BIPOC community members can run up against barriers in this process, including difficulty finding a provider who shares identifying characteristics, such as race or ethnicity.

Disparities for BIPOC exist within all healthcare sectors, including mental health. Challenges that BIPOC face affect access to supportive care and treatment.

According to the American Psychological Association, 83% of psychologists identify as white. White therapists can certainly provide mental healthcare for BIPOC. However, bias and misunderstandings can limit the act of care.

Barriers to Mental Healthcare

The stigma of mental health support within many BIPOC communities can pose a unique challenge. Seeking counseling, for example, may not feel as accessible as other mental healthcare strategies.

The cost of mental healthcare lives as a barrier to therapeutic care within BIPOC communities.

Talking about and sharing mental health resources can bring worry about negative perceptions within some BIPOC communities. These stigmas can push some BIPOC community members to hide their needs or not seek help.

The cost of mental healthcare lives as a barrier to therapeutic care within BIPOC communities. Limited insurance coverage options and low incomes result in limited access to mental health resources, disproportionately affecting BIPOC.

While not all challenges singularly affect BIPOC communities, many lay on top of racial inequities and feelings of invalidation. Finding the right fit for mental health support and counseling for BIPOC individuals can thus require some additional work.

Paying for Mental Healthcare

Cost can determine access to mental health resources. For BIPOC, cost can prove a significant barrier to therapeutic care.

Mental health service affordability prevents some BIPOC from accessing available resources. While employers may provide health insurance to full-time employees, not all insurance plans include coverage for mental health services.

Paying out of pocket can cost an individual $50 or more for each mental health counseling session, a cost BIPOC disproportionately cannot afford.

Some counselors and mental health organizations offer payment plans or discounted rates for those in need of financial support. These options, when available, can offset high costs associated with therapy.

Discover the different types of counseling:



Finding the Right POC Mental Health Support

The right support for your mental health needs may vary in different situations or at different points in your life. Take a comprehensive approach to supporting your mental health by gathering multiple resources that suit your needs.

Researching mental health support options can take many forms. If comfortable, ask close friends or family members if they have mental health professionals, organizations, or books they might recommend to you. People with similar identities may connect you to specific resources that serve your needs.

Online searches can yield a wide variety of resources as well. Start by searching within your geographic area for mental health supports specific to your needs. Learn more about the resources you find by researching background information on therapists, clinics, and organizations.

How to Select a Therapist

Selecting a therapist that’s right for you can take time. Determine what kind of support you need before beginning your search. You may hold non-negotiables such as a therapist who is Black, identifies as queer, or has experience supporting domestic violence survivors.

No matter your criteria, the right therapist should affirm your needs. It may feel important for them to understand your life circumstances and challenges on a personal level, offering a firsthand level of support.

Understanding your intersectionality means appreciating and affirming your identity, life experiences, and worldviews. The ability to personally relate to your race, gender, or sexuality can prove even more valuable within a therapeutic relationship.

No matter your criteria, the right therapist should affirm your needs.

Ask a potential therapist specific questions, such as how much experience they have counseling certain groups of people. A therapist’s level of connection to an issue or identity can indicate how much you may need to educate them about your lived experiences.

Keep track of characteristics that help you feel more at ease when sharing elements of your life. Some things to consider might include empathetic listening skills, shared language expressions, or energy level.

You may need to meet with a few therapists before finding the right fit. Try not to get discouraged. The right person can support you precisely as you need.

Therapy Resources For BIPOC

Crisis helplines exist to support emergency mental health situations. BlackLine, a phone and text emergency support, prioritizes its services for BIPOC individuals. The Steve Fund‘s crisis text line supports young people of color in emergency mental health situations. Reach out to crisis support organizations if you feel you need emergency support.

Online Mental Health Resources for BIPOC

Podcasts and websites can enrich mental health counseling with a professional therapist. Books, while not necessarily online, can add to your mental health support as well. Additionally, affordable counseling programs, online and in person, may guide you in supporting the mental health needs of others.

Podcasts

Websites

Books

  • “Black Families in Therapy: Understanding the African American Experience,” by Nancy Boyd-Franklin
  • “The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming our Communities Through Mindfulness,” by Rhonda V. Magee
  • “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies,” by Resmaa Menakem
  • All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, by Tanya Talaga
  • “Healing the Soul Wound: Trauma-Informed Counseling for Indigenous Communities,” by Eduardo Duran (Tiospaye Ta Woapiye Wicasa)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are good online mental health resources?

    Good online mental health resources include podcasts and websites that provide personal stories and practical advice. Virtual therapy options continue to grow as well.

  • How do I find a Black therapist?

    You can find a Black therapist through recommendations within your community or geographic searches near you. Inquire with mental health organizations about their networks of Black therapists.

  • What are some Black mental health organizations?

    Some Black mental health organizations include the Black Mental Health Alliance, the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective, and Black Mental Wellness. Many other organizations exist to support Black mental health.

  • Are there support groups for Black women?

    Some support groups for Black women include Therapy For Black Girls, Ethel’s Club, and Sista Afya. Additional support groups may occur in local therapy organizations. You may also consider hosting a supportive session for Black women in your area.


Featured Image: Prostock-Studio / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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