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Social Justice and Wellness

Audre Lorde quote
Injustice and trauma take a clear toll on our mental and emotional health.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as our country reckons with the murders of unarmed Black men and women, and as we continue to work toward permanent protections for our undocumented community.
  • Be aware of your mental and emotional health.Exposure to graphic images and hateful speech deeply impacts all of us, especially communities of color who live with these aggressions every day.  Make time to reflect, breathe, journal, or other ways to check in with how you are really doing.  
  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings.  It is normal to experience a range of emotions right now, most of which are very uncomfortable.  Resist the urge to rush through or numb your feelings, without understanding what they may be saying to you. For minoritized communities, engaging these emotions should be paired with self-nurturing to remind yourself that you have worth and dignity.  For allies of these communities, the challenge is often to stick with difficult feelings despite discomfort.   Use these emotions to motivate yourself toward sustained solidarity, learning, and action.
  • Practice self-care in the midst of whatever engagement, activism or caretaking you take on.   Honor your needs, and prioritize your own well-being.  This can be as basic as making sure you are drinking water, eating regular meals, and getting enough sleep.  It may also mean cultivating ongoing practices of creative expression, mindfulness, or spiritual reflection - whatever keeps you grounded and accessing hope.
  • Moderate your intake of news and social media.  It can be damaging to constantly expose ourselves to violent images, or people whose views threaten our welfare.  Think about how your media intake is affecting you.  Determine what information you need to know because it is actionable, and be aware that taking in too much may deepen trauma and exhaustion.  Make sure that your media diet includes positive individuals and organizations, and sources of reputable information.  Check out this video by SHCS counselor Chetina Hunter, LMFT for guidance on doing a Social Media Cleanse.
  • Find your supportive community.  Connect with people who understand how you are feeling because they are going through it, too.  Seek support from elders or mentors who can remind you of the ongoing history of struggle and resistance in which you are taking part.  For allies, process what you are discovering with other allies, to avoid further burdening people of color.
  • Set boundaries.  It can be exhausting to educate others about racism and how it impacts your community.  Allow yourself to choose what conversations you take on, and where you draw limits.  For allies, seek out ways to educate yourself that do not require this emotional labor from people of color.  The Office of Diversity's Anti-Racism Resources is a great place to start.
  • Take action.  Think about how you can affect positive change, however small it might feel. This might mean participating in a protest, writing a letter, donating to a cause you believe in, educating yourself, or having an honest conversation in your circle of influence.
  • Give yourself breaks.  The work of engagement and activism is exhausting.  Allow yourself to choose the times you step in, and to also give yourself permission to say no when you need to.  The burden of challenging injustice does not rest on your shoulders alone.  It is especially important for people of color to remember that their identities encompass more than trauma - connect with your joy, strengths, hope, and passions.

Appreciation for Rachel Miller, Jenna Wortham, Wesley Morris, Dr. Matthew Steinfeld, and Kim Tran for inspiring many of the tips here, as well as the wide community of mental health practitioners who are caring for our communities during this time.

Please note that these resources are not associated with Cal State East Bay Counseling Services. Descriptions are taken from the resources themselves.

Real to the People is offering free group therapy in light of Covid-19 and racial trauma.

Therapy for Black Girls is offering free group therapy through this website.

Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is offering up to 5 free therapy sessions with licensed, culturally competent clinicians through a Covid-19 free virtual therapy support campaign, while funding lasts.

Mental Health Funds for Black Folks seeking therapy - Loveland Therapy Fund and Trauma Healing Fund for Black Folks 

Liberate App - Free meditation app targeted toward Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

BetterHelp - Offering one month of free remote therapy.

Conversations on Black healing - the Black Emotional and Mental Health collective (BEAM) offers a video series on Black healing. They also list a network of Black therapists offering services remotely

Between Sessions Podcast - the organization Melanin and Mental Health offers a free podcast about mental health and communities of color.  They also have a list of therapists specializing in work with minoritized communities.

Sista Afya - Community Mental Wellness organization focusing on sustaining Black women.  Includes extensive section on Mental Wellness Information and Resources, including ways to start a healing journey, build social support, find services and ways to pay for them, and apps and hotlines that could be helpful.

Tapping Meditation - Dr. Damon Silas leads a trauma intervention focused on Black, Indigenous, and people of color in this short video

Mending Racialized Trauma: a Body Centered Approach with Resmaa Menakem (episode of Connectfulness podcast)  

Therapy for Black Men - therapist directory and resources

Ethel’s Club - “Digital Membership club” for and by people of color allows access to cultural and wellness events online.

Inclusive Therapists - list of therapists who celebrate minoritized identities.  Includes options for free or reduced cost services.

Black Mental Health Alliance - Offers referrals to culturally-competent and patient-centered licensed therapists.

DACA Thriving Tuesdays - In collaboration with Fuller Theological Seminary, the Thrive Center for Human Development has been hosting DACA Thriving Tuesdays, a weekly webinar that will further expand on self-care tips and resources for undocumented individuals with or without DACA. Join them on Facebook Live every Tuesday at 10:00 AM through June 23, 2020. Past sessions are available online.

DACA Mental Health Coping Guide - compiled by Sofia Mendoza, LCSW using Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Trauma informed interventions.

Coping with DACA and Immigration Related Stress - specific coping strategies from German Cadenas, PhD.

Mental Health in the Post-DACA Era: Building Strength in Undocumented Latinx’s, DACA Recipients, and Those Who Love Them - a resource from the National Latino/a Psychological Association

Embracing Strengths and Vulnerabilities for Thriving and Resilience - from the Thrive Center for Human Development.

Resources for Wellness During Covid-19 - from the Emerson Collective.  Includes crisis support, anxiety management, mindfulness and movement, resources for children and teenagers, and resources in Spanish

Check the Undocumented Resources and Pioneers for HOPE pages on the Cal State East Bay website for a more extensive list.

My Undocumented Life - up-to-date information and resources for undocumented immigrants 

Resources for Undocumented Immigrants and their Families During Covid-19

Tangible Support for Undocumented Communities During Covid-19 - from Immigrants Rising

Resource Bank for DREAMers - legal, educational, media, and other resources from TheDream.Us

A Guide to Providing Mental Health Support to Immigrants Affected by Changes to DACA and the Covid-19 Pandemic - From Informed Immigrant.  Considerations for staff and faculty working with students affected by the DACA decision

Preparing for the Upcoming Decision and its Aftermath - Recommendations for administrators, educators, counselors, and students.

Check out the UndocuAlly page on the Cal State East Bay website or email UndocuAlly@csueastbay.edu to get involved

California Immigrant Resilience Fund - Raising money to support undocumented Californians who are not able to receive federal relief money for Covid-19

Immigration Organizations to Donate to in Support of DACA Recipients

George Floyd Memorial Fund

Justice for Breonna

Minnesota Freedom Fund - support bail for people arrested during protests in Minnesota

Reclaim the Block - organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.

Voices for Black mental health:

  • @melaninandmentalhealth
  • @_beamorg
  • @therapyforblackgirls
  • @blackmentalwellness
  • @browngirlselfcare
  • @blackfemaletherapists

Voices for change:

  • @blklivesmatter
  • @colorofchange
  • @naacp
  • @showingupforracialjustice
  • @civilrightsorg
  • @reclaimtheblock
  • @unitedwedream
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