Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed continued harm to Black bodies and minds, harm that has been perpetuated for generations via institutions, policies, and laws in every community throughout the United States. The combined impact of police violence, a pandemic disproportionately affecting People of Color, and centuries of systemic racism places undue stress on Black communities.
This stress continues to impact each individual Black person’s emotional well-being uniquely, based on their identity, support systems, and other contexts. Balanced You stands with Black Lives Matter and recognizes the resiliency and strength that lies within the Black community. Balanced You also recognizes that, because you and your community are sacred, caring for your well-being is an act of resistance.
In the event that you are seeking additional support, we have partnered with the King County Black/African Affinity Group and equity partners from across the County to develop the list of emotional well-being resources below, including local spaces for community, connection, and healing; self-care and collective-care tips and resources; and traditional mental health resources.
Local spaces for community, connection, and healing
Partners from the King County Black/African Affinity Group provided the following list of local resources where Black/African employees can find community and engage with others as part of a healing collective:
- Africatown/Umoja PEACE Center: Umoja PEACE Center fulfills the need in Seattle to build job skills, confidence and cultural pride in young people of African descent. The group aims to provide programs to reduce anti-social behavior, juvenile delinquency, crime, and violence.
- Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County: Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County is a grassroots, volunteer-run, social-justice nonprofit organization focused on the empowerment and liberation of Blacks and other people of color through advocacy and direct action.
- Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle: The Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle was organized by immigrants who volunteered to establish a diasporic community that would preserve their cultural heritage. Their effort to build a strong communal landmark continues to enrich the pan-cultural experience in the Pacific Northwest.
- Ethiopian Community of Seattle: The Ethiopian Community of Seattle aims to facilitate a seamless integration of all persons of Ethiopian origin into the American society. ECS contribute to the social, cultural and civic life of the Puget Sound area as well as to assist Ethiopians and Ethiopian-Americans in preserving and sharing their ancient and rich cultural heritage. Programs include cooking classes and senior meals services.
- Seattle and King County NAACP: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People works to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Current programs include virtual book clubs and other online gatherings.
- Somali Community of Seattle: The Somali Community of Seattle works for the success of refugees to undergo a smooth transitional process and attain self-sustainable status in their new country. Programs include youth safety workshops and theater programs and elderly nutrition programs.
- Urban League of Seattle: The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle was established in 1930 to become one of approximately 90 affiliates of the National Urban League. Today, ULMS implements its mission within our Seattle/King County service area through advocacy, direct programming, community outreach, and coalition building. Current offerings include homebuying and credit-building classes.
Featured upcoming online space for connection, community, and healing:
- Juneteenth Week 2020: Attend a week-long online celebration of Black American history and culture with Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and FW Black Collective. The kid-friendly events include a virtual watch party of the 2016 documentary 13th, guided meditations, DJ sets, a food-related event with James Beard Award-winning Chef Edouardo Jordan, raffles, and more. June 15th to 21st.
Self-care and collective-care tips and resources
Self-care is the act of attending to one’s own needs. Collective-care, or community-care, is the act of supporting others in meeting their needs and asking others to support you in meeting yours, building upon the notion that we are stronger together than we are apart. Both are important aspects of reducing stress and increasing resiliency.
- Reaching out to friends and/or family
- Ensuring you are nourished and hydrated
- Attending virtual church, mosque, or temple
- Practicing spirituality
- Meditating alone or with an online group
- Participating in protests, marches, and/or demonstrations
- Speaking with your current mental health providers
- Engaging in physical activity
- Dancing or singing
- Setting boundaries and taking alone time
- Making space for any act that relieves your stress and improves your resiliency
- Liberate Meditation: Liberate Meditation is a free meditation app designed by and for People of Color.
- Therapy for Black Girls: Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. It includes book suggestions, podcast episodes, blog articles, and more.
- Family Care, Community Care, and Self-care Toolkit: This free toolkit from the Community Healing Network and the Association of Black Psychologists guides you through healing in the face of cultural trauma.
Traditional mental health resources
Traditional mental health resources benefit all employees of King County. The following list of mental health resources allow you to filter providers based on identity, background, and experience:
- Making Life Easier (MLE) provides free counseling and other resources for King County employees, beneficiaries, and anyone living at the employee’s address. MLE can match you with a provider based on background (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender identity, LGBTQ status) or provider’s expertise in race or multicultural issues. Visit the Making Life Easier website or call 1-888-874-7290 for more information.
- Washington Counselors of Color Network lists therapists of color in Washington state. Visit the Washington Counselors of Color Network website for more information. Contact your insurance company to confirm eligibility of providers.
- National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) – Washington provides resources and free support groups for individuals and families affected by mental illness. Local NAMI chapters, including NAMI-Seattle, provide groups specifically designed for Black and Indigenous participants. Visit the NAMI-WA website to find your local chapter.
A comprehensive guide to employee and community resources for mental health can be found in the King County Mental Health Resource Guide. Additional resources for Black mental health support can be found here.
As Balanced You moves forward in supporting employee well-being during this difficult time, we commit to continuing to lead with an equity and social justice lens that centers race. If you have other resources you’d like us to promote, or programs you’d like us to consider, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-263-9626.