How To Take Care of YOU This Black History Month

unplug this black history month

By Leslie Holley


During Black History Month we celebrate African Americans and the role they have played in building this country, as well as recognize their achievements. The culture in the Black community is strong, impactful, and interwoven in American culture. However, the statistics on Black mental wellness are disproportionate to the experiences of others within American culture.  However, in recent years, there have been many signs that indicate that attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment in the black community are changing.  In my private counseling practice, Healing-Circle LLC, located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, 75% of our clients are Black.  People of color are beginning to realize that taking care of mental health is just as important as physical health.  

This Black History Month, let us focus on the wins we continue to make and identify 3 things that can promote wellness in the Black Community:


1. Take A Self Care Day

Taking a day off from work isn’t going to solve all of your problems, but taking a day, or several, can give you time to recharge and take care of yourself. When planning to take a mental health day, think of a few activities that will help you reset and refresh.  Many times client tell me when a racist hate crime is breaking news in the media their jobs don’t acknowledge the collective pain and its business as usual.  Let your workplace know that you need time for yourself.  It’s a great way to assert your healthy boundaries and get back to what's important, your health. 


2. Seek Therapy 

Be empowered to put yourself first and seek therapy. Find someone whom you trust and who fits your values. It’s not easy to find the right fit. It’s even more difficult to find a BIPOC therapist, as more than 80% of the mental health providers in this country are white and only about 4% identify as Black or African-American. For mental health services specific to Black wellness, check out these organizations:

  • Therapy for Black girls 

This online space is dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls.  The site offers a directory of therapists outlining their specialties, experience, detailed information about virtual or office sessions, and insurance options.

  • The Loveland Foundation

The Loveland Foundation was established in 2018 by Rachel Cargle. The Foundation’s goal is to bring opportunity and healing to communities of color. Through fellowships, residency programs, listening tours, and more, ultimately their goal is to empower and liberate the communities they serve.

  • Open Path Therapy

Want therapy but don’t have insurance or can’t afford it? Open Path is a nonprofit that serves clients who lack health insurance or whose health insurance doesn’t provide adequate mental health benefits. These clients also cannot afford current market rates for counseling services. They help their members access affordable in-person or online care from a reviewed mental health professional.

  • Pro Bono Therapy 

Pro Bono Counseling (PBC) is a non-profit corporation to connect uninsured and under-insured low-income Marylanders with compassionate and qualified mental health professionals. All the therapists provide care on a volunteer basis at no cost.


3. Unplug from Media

Take a social media break. Research suggests that Black people who have frequent exposure to the violence committed against other black people can have long-term mental health effects. Graphic videos can cause vicarious trauma for people of color. For African Americans, watching violence again someone who looks like them, combined with lived experiences of racism, can create severe psychological problems that can look like post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

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