In the midst of the uprising and the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color, individuals and organizations are leading initiatives focused on Black mental health. According to Philadelphia Magazine, a Pennsylvania-based therapist raised over $81,000 to provide free therapy for those coping with trauma that stems from racism.
The effort is being led by Saleemah McNeil, a psychotherapist who founded the Jenkintown-based Oshun Family Center. The center—which opened in 2018—was created to eliminate socio-economic barriers and stigmas surrounding seeking help for mental illness within the Black community. Cognizant of the emotional and psychological trauma that can be byproducts of the current state of society, McNeil was determined to ensure the Black community has access to the necessary resources.
Through her initiative, the Oshun Family Center is providing eight free 60-minute sessions for those battling with racial trauma. She is also aligning individuals with culturally competent therapists. McNeil teamed up with Philly Psychology to raise funds for the campaign and has a goal of reaching $100,000 so the Oshun Family Center can continue to provide these services.
“Seeing Black people in my community impacted by the pandemic and the racial epidemic, I knew I wanted to support their mental health through all the recent devastation,” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Racially-concordant care is very important for the Black community. I believe there is power in getting to know the therapist sitting across from you, especially a therapist who understands your experience.”
There have been several efforts to make mental health resources accessible and affordable. In April, actress Taraji P. Henson launched the COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Campaign through her nonprofit organization the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to cover expenses related to mental health services for people who have been significantly impacted by the public health crisis.