In March, EFNIKS will be talking about MIND.
Maligned. Stigmatized. Conversations about mental health, even in 2018, too often focus on violence in society, on creating a feeling of alienation for those experiencing pain, and instill fear in those who need help. Despite decades of pop-culture talks, self-help books, talk shows, and repeated calls in the broader discourse for a focus on these issues, much of society exists outside of proper access to mental healthcare. And given what we know about the way social structures and institutions relate to LGBTQ+ people of color, it goes without saying that our communities are left even further outside the conversation and further from access to proper care than the rest of the population.
There are disparities in access. There are differences in our sources of pain and trauma. What we seek out in our communities to deal with and cope with mental health issues are separate from those typically sought by the cis hetero white male group that dictates and dominates the fields of psychotherapy, counseling, and so on. We need to look at these differences and examine how we can turn these structures and institutions into safe and welcoming spaces for our communities.
And we can not talk about mental health without looking at self-care. This, too, is often framed in ways that can leave LGBTQ+ PoC out of the conversation. When you position mental health as access to therapy and counseling, you’re talking about a field that does not make room for us. When you position good mental health as something that can be achieved through buying power, through social freedoms and access to space and geography, you again leave many of our communities stripped of access to what can be critical and life-changing habits and behaviors. This is key to the conversation.
Our communities, as people of color, sometimes falsely claim that mental health is a matter strictly for white people, people with money, or as matters of grit and endurance. And we know this isn’t true at all. We know that if we had conversations that centered us, professionals that represented us, treatment that made consideration for us, and self-care that made space for us, that we would could live in grace, dignity, and whatever emotional comfort we deserve.
Because the truth is, you are not alone.
This, is MIND. And EFNIKS will be taking a look at these issues, all month long, for all of us.