Three things I’m tired of hearing this BIPOC Mental Health Month

MHA Admin

Mon, 07/24/2023 – 09:39

by Crystal Widado, MHA Young Leaders Council member

Growing up as a first-generation Asian American, I’ve often been left questioning the empty praises of resilience and the occasional race-blind comments around my mental health struggles. Between the well-meant, “You’re so strong, sweetie,” and the dubious, “I don’t care if you are white, Black, or purple,” there has always been a toxic aftertaste behind the responses to my mental health experience as a person of color.

And I’m not alone. While advancements in mental health services for historically marginalized communities have improved vastly in previous years, there is a needed shift in how we talk about Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) mental health. This BIPOC Mental Health Month, think and replace your words before uttering these three common sayings about your BIPOC friend’s mental health.

1. “Oh, you’re so strong for going through this”

The genuine and goodhearted applause for the suffering of BIPOC folks isn’t as helpful as you might think it is. In the mental health world, the word “resilience” gets thrown around to reference the ability to withstand or cope emotionally in times of difficulty. However, BIPOC folks shouldn’t have to put up with these difficulties in the first place.

Especially when considering the combination of systemic and social violence that these communities face every day of their lives, it is important to realize that BIPOC folks aren’t innately stronger – they are forced to be resilient. This is why there is something particularly cruel – even when it’s intended to do the opposite – about continuing to encourage strength while the true culprit continues to run rampant.

2. “I don’t see you as (race); I see you as a human being”

You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. “There is only one race: human.”

The problem with this statement is that it is based on the assumption that we live in a post-racial society. This is simply not true. In a world where white Americans’ wealth per capita is 6 times the wealth of Black Americans and students of color have less access to advanced classes, post-racial America is a myth.

In a mental health context, this statement ignores the large racial disparities that often lead to inequities in access to care. Research shows that BIPOC folks are less likely to have access to mental health services and less likely to seek out services. Additionally, denying that a person’s race had to do with their traumatizing experience or trying to de-emphasize race invalidates and perpetuates further harm.

> 3. “You seem really upset, maybe you should try some self-care or calming exercises”

Whether it’s done explicitly or implicitly, telling BIPOC folks to calm down often minimizes the suffering and pain they endure. Additionally, these types of statements place individual responsibility of wellness and happiness on these communities to “take care of themselves” and take away from systems causing harm.

Individual self-care and emotional regulation can be beneficial, but these can also limit solutions to systemic violence. This July, Mental Health America’s 2023 BIPOC Mental Health campaign is Culture, Community, and Connection. Community care has existed within BIPOC and other spaces of marginalized folks for decades.

Learn more about how you can create better community spaces.

Crystal Widado is a member of the 2022-2023 Mental Health America Young Leaders Council. Learn more about the Young Leaders Council.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
 
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Emergency

Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Epilepsy/Seizures
Cardiovascular
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…

trauma

Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.

Rehabilitative

Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at:
info@healthydcandme.org