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Cultural Considerations for BIPOC Mental Health

The reality of racism experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) is deeply embedded in this country, its institutions, and within individuals. Communities of color are resilient and thriving despite the devastating impact of racism.

 

In the midst of this trauma, the wellbeing and mental health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color matter. If you are part of the BIPOC community, it may be helpful to consider the following:

  • Recognize trauma. It can be traumatic to hear about or watch the frequent injustices and harm done to people of color.  Give yourself permission not to be okay. Take time and space to feel horror, fear, sadness, grief, rage. Whatever you are feeling is okay.

  • Take care of yourself every day. Make sure to include physical activity, a nourishing diet, and 7-9 hours of sleep. As Black poet and activist Audre Lorde wrote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” (From A Burst of Light and Other Essays)

  • Seek community. Take time to seek out healthy family and friends, or professional supports as needed. You can reach out to Heritage staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (217) 362-6262 (Dial 1 for a crisis worker).

  • Be aware of what you can control. Set boundaries around when and how often you consume media and which images may be too damaging to view. Choose which friends and colleagues will be provide helpful support to you.

  • Seek balance in the images and information you consume. While we can’t ignore the traumatic realities of injustice, make sure to find joy in the beauty of BIPOC culture, art, music, food, and community. Find ways to daily celebrate your goodness and wholeness.

  • Affirm your resilience. You have likely developed powerful coping strategies for persisting through all kinds of pain and trauma. Remind yourself of these skills and return to them. Check out our Virtual Place of Hope for some additional coping strategies.