Racial Trauma, Resiliency, and Ally Resources

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.

  • 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.  Use these emotions to consider opportunities for 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 be harmful.  Make sure that your media diet includes positive individuals and organizations, and sources of reputable information. 
  • 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.
  • Set boundaries. For Black folks and other people of color, it can be exhausting to educate others about racism and how it impacts their communities.  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. 
  • 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 a 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.

Much of the above content was duplicated from the CSU – East Bay Counseling Centers. SF State Counseling & Psychological Services expresses gratitude for their support.

Voices for Black mental health:

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

Voices for change:

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

Much of the above content was duplicated from the CSU – San Marcos and University of Kentucky Counseling Centers.  SF State Counseling and Psychological Services expresses gratitude to those Centers for their leadership and support.