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  • Writer's pictureErica Peppers

Black History & Mental Health

As I approach writing a blog entry during Black History Month, I am faced with a variety of thoughts and associated feelings: Is what I’m writing meaningful enough to convey the richness of our heritage? Or powerful enough to uphold the value of Black lives and highlight the unrecorded and unpublished contributions of our people? How do I properly acknowledge the ongoing inequality and anti-Black racism in this country? And why are Black people carrying the majority of the labor on reminding the country that it’s Black History Month? Honoring Black history during the shortest month of the year is a disservice to our people. We at TREC DC invite you to resist the limitations of honoring Black history during the shortest month of the year by embracing ongoing learning, honoring, and immersing ourselves in this rich history. Without an understanding of our country’s history of systemic racism, those oppressed by white supremacy are at risk of internalizing messages of being “less than” and unworthy, which can be experienced as symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Learning about Black history promotes health and wellbeing both as individuals and as a community coming together from a variety of racialized and ethnic backgrounds. There are many resources available, one being that helps to fill the gaps in Black history that have been systematically left out of most of our educational experiences. Exclusion is just a small drop of the daily race-based stress and trauma (often abbreviated RBST) experienced by Black people in the United States. The impact of these daily stressors, as well as the impact of intergenerational trauma, leads to unspoken hurt and unacknowledged pain. TREC is proud to offer therapy interventions that were created to address RBST in an effort to aid understanding of the impact of racism and generations of oppression, while allowing a safe space to share unique lived experiences and to celebrate joy and resilience.

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