AwareNow: Issue 20: The Kind Edition

Page 89

FEATURE STORY BY CICELY GREEN

HEALING BLACK TRAUMA

THE BIRTH OF CHICAGO BLACK THERAPISTS

Black trauma has been passed down for centuries through enslavement - having been redesigned into inequities, systemic oppression, and racism. As a result, Black communities are disproportionately affected by physical, economic, and emotional health.

Mental health education and treatment has also been traditionally taught and practiced through a colonized lens causing Black communities to be misdiagnosed, over medicated, experimented on, and pathologized. This has led to a stigma and mistrustful perception of the mental health system among Black communities - resulting in over 50% of Black Americans having never received treatment, and only 4% of the mental health workforce identifying as Black. Instead of accessing and acknowledging our mental health needs, Black community’s wounds are covered by the masks of violence, addiction, self loathing, emotional neglect, and abuse. Our wounds are being exploited in a society where we are told our skin is too dark, hair too big and kinky, and bodies are not beautiful. Our culture appropriated. Conditioned to not to trust our fellow brothers and sisters.

I have personal experience in how generational trauma is masked in this way having experienced depression and PTSD for half of my life due to unresolved trauma passed down in my family. Growing up, I did not know the ends and outs of mental health treatment, nor that I could simply talk and feel emotionally safe with anyone until I began studying psychology and sociology, and criminal justice in college. One main reason I chose these majors was to understand myself and my family.

Fortunately, we are entering an era where the Black community is being present for and nourishing their mental health instead of neglecting it. Now more than ever, we are seeking out wellness and mental health treatment, and putting our mental health and self care higher on our priority list. Amidst the George Floyd protests of summer 2020, it became even more necessary for the Black community to access and confide in a mental health professional who has walked in their shoes. This is when Chicago Black Therapists was born.

The time has ended where finding a Black therapist is met with dead ends and endless google searches. The Chicago Black Therapist directory exists to connect clinicians and clients who seek a safe and accepting environment where their cultural, societal, and racial experiences can be validated and celebrated.

We started as a viral Google sheet document of Chicagoland clinicians shared nationwide - into the leading authority and resource for Black mental health in Chicago, Il. We continue to decolonize and de-stigmatize mental health by bridging the gap between the Black community and healing through education, resources, mutually aligned partnerships, and by hosting a directory of Black mental health professionals. Our website receives over 10k Google search impressions per month without any investment in ads. We invite the Awareness Ties community to join us in helping achieve our mission. ∎

Learn more, donate and/or partner with Chicago Black Therapists: www.chicagoblacktherapists.com CICELY GREEN

Founder & CEO of Chicago Black Therapists www.chicagoblacktherapists.com Cicely is an Aerialist, Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Yoga Teacher, Model, and 6x marathoner. She is a practitioner and healer of all things health, wellness, and movement, and has become a thought leader and authority in her community. Cicely has overcome her own struggles to thrive as an entrepreneur through holistic healing, trauma informed care, and by challenging oppressive systems. Through her journey, Cicely has noticed one common theme - the lack of others in wellness spaces whom also identify a Black womxn. This inspired Cicely to utilize her platform and knowledge to create spaces in wellness and movement for Blackidentifying individuals. She is a founder of In Good Wealth, Inc. non profit organization, Chicago Black Therapist Directory, BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest, and contributor to various racial justice and wellness initiatives.

89 AWARENOW / THE KIND EDITION

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