Minority mental health matters.
To say that these last few years have been extremely tough times for minorities in America is an understatement. And this is why focusing on and protecting the mental health needs of minority communities is our prime responsibility.
It is no secret that the inequalities in the American healthcare structure have propagated large-scale discrimination and disparities in terms of access to care. Even though people from minority groups face equal or even higher rates of mental health issues, the struggle to access mental health resources and look after their mental well-being is daunting, to say the least.
National Minority Health Month is marked every year in April to highlight the gross inequalities that people from minority communities face in the healthcare system. National Minority Mental Health Month is an opportunity to encourage access and inclusivity of health resources for people from different racial and ethnic minorities.
While a systematic approach and dedicated efforts are crucial for improving the mental health and well-being of minority communities, there is a lot that minorities can do for themselves.
Self-care is an essential tool for minority communities to take care of their well-being because the hatred in the world continues to be relentlessly transmitted to you through headlines. It is also important to tend to yourself because the stress of living in a country where violence is perpetuated regularly against members of your community can take a massive toll on your physical health.
On that note, this National Minority Health Month, let us have a look at some of the most important and effective mental health tips for minorities.
Self-Care Tips For Minorities
1. Acknowledge your emotions.
At the starting point, just remember that with all the hate and pain in the world, suppressing and minimizing your hurt won’t make the world a safer place for you and your family. It is okay to have an emotional response to all the events taking place around you. Try to accept the feelings of pain, hypersensitivity, vigilance, etc., associated with your emotions. Attend to these feelings with compassion rather than judgment.
2. Stop to check in with yourself.
At the beginning of your day, before reaching out for your phone, tuning into your social media, or opening up yourself to the world – try to check in with yourself. Notice how you are feeling today. We often tend to go along with the motions of the day without ever paying heed to how we are feeling. So allow yourself to have a few moments after waking up.
3. Validate and express your feelings with loved ones.
Once you acknowledge your emotions, it is important to share them. Social support systems are important aspects of recovering from the effects of traumatic events. They can provide a healing outlet in a world that often makes you feel unheard and unseen. Therefore find time to define who your social support systems are and take their help to feel safe and validated.
4. Share your story with the world.
If activism and getting in the front of it all makes you feel better, then do that. Share your story with the world. Stories are a powerful medium to showcase to the world what it means to be minorities in a country that aims to target people on the basis of their racial and ethnic identities. If outlets like journaling or art therapy do not appeal to you, externalizing how you feel this way can help ease the burden.
5. Join safe spaces like group therapies.
Getting together through group therapies is a good way to access the benefits of therapy for people who can’t afford it otherwise. Additionally, spaces with people who have gone through or are going through similar situations can make you feel less alone and give you a sense of belonging.
Read more: Best Online Therapy Platforms
6. Embrace your racial or ethnic identity.
Slurs, derogatory name-calling, and violence around minority identities can push you to hide your identity. However, it is important to accept your identity without judgment. Learn about your historical background and cultural identity through your parents. Read books and learn to take pride in who you are. This way, you can challenge the stereotypical and regressive beliefs attached to your identity.
7. Be actively selfish about your self-care.
Going through repeated incidents of minority identity-related violence and discrimination can take a significant toll on your mental and emotional well-being.
Exercising, spending time with people you love, eating well, and sleeping adequately can all prove to be useful aids during such times. Find activities that suit you and try to incorporate them into your life.
8. Remember that all the burden is not on you.
This minority resistance movement is what you want it to be.
This might seem like the time to educate and make people aware of the importance of diversity, human rights, and much more – however, it is important to know that you don’t owe anyone an answer. More specifically, for the sanity of your mind, you don’t have to be put on a spot and made to define what being from a minority community means and feels like. You have the right to JUST BE where you are, as you are. Just existing at this moment is a revolution, and you are doing enough.
National Minority Health Month is an excellent opportunity to focus on the disparities in our healthcare system that discriminate against minorities. It is also the time to help minorities find the right self-care strategies to cope with the cycle of negative and hurtful events around them. Yes, it is unfortunate that we ever have to talk about managing hatred because you shouldn’t be part of this vicious cycle in the first place. But while we take time to mend our broken world, it is essential to keep fighting your way through. It is important to hold your stance while we make this world a better place, one day at a time.
Apart from National Minority Health Month, there are other significant days that can help highlight the challenges that different communities in America face. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination aims to sharpen our fight against racism. To learn more about the day, click here.
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