Finding Mental Healing during this time is extremely necessary
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Health and Wellness

Finding Mental Healing during this time is extremely necessary

Its a difficult time to be a BIPOC or even POC in the divisive time we are living in. But, with the proper mental health care, it can make it just a bit easier for us to process things in our own lives and eventually, in the public lives.

Finding Mental Healing during this time is extremely necessary

I'm sure if you asked anyone about how 2020 has been for them, each person would have a story to tell. From COVID-19 to discussions about racial injustice to the presidential election- it's been quite a historic year. We all have personal stories to tell and whether good or bad it's healthy to have an outlet to tell these stories and talk about the feelings that come with them or about them. For myself, this pandemic has put my life on pause, or hiatus or just at an unprecedented standstill. Right before maximum quarantine, I had celebrated my 22nd birthday and that weekend I was going to finally take the road trip of my long time best friends and I have been planning for years. I also just sent in my application to study abroad in Italy, which if you can recall had some of the highest numbers in COVID cases and deaths. I was making plans for my future, for the summer, and after completing a prestigious internship the previous summer I was aiming for even bigger this time around. But in that same week, all of these plans I had fallen apart.

It took some time for me to internalize that this was going to be a way of life for a while; even when finishing the rest of my spring semester remotely, it didn't fully register. The realities of the time we are now living in hit on a personal level when one of my cousins suddenly passed away, not COVID related. I still don't know how he passed, but I know it had to do with a big factor of his life, and all of our lives, that was never addressed much in my family- mental illness.

Now more than ever we need some kind of check-in with our mental health and wellbeing, but with how healthcare is privatized and monetized instead of seen as a necessary societal need, it's difficult to access. In my case, my therapy sessions stopped when my father was laid off late last year, and my mother lost her job due to COVID, leaving us without health insurance. There are many people, especially BIPOC (Black Identifying People of Color), who are in the same situation and have been since pre-pandemic. For a while, I had to come to terms with the fact that I've always needed and still do need therapy and I've realized it recently since I've been usually that busy person that barely has time to think or process what's happening around me. The last few weeks of summer have felt long and tiring, and that led to ruminations about past mistakes I've made, what I could've been doing if it weren't for COVID- and just general dissatisfaction with my life at the moment. Though I know it will pass, it can feel like forever, and not having the proper mental health care to assist made the feelings even stronger.

I also have friends, who felt similar but in different situations- they found themselves overworked, having no time to process anything and the pandemic to be concerned about. Both situations are common and completely valid. I struggled to get the motivation to find the resources to help with how I felt, and fortunately, with the help of my best friend, I discovered that there are organizations that are low-cost or completely free, especially for BIPOC individuals. There's BEAM, a directory of black therapists that show who's licensed in what state & occasional free webinars on how to take care of your mental health and even free Facebook groups for those who have been affected by some sort of racial trauma. Colleges also have been adapting to the remote virtual way of life, and many have free or low-cost counseling services available for students as well.

I had wished to get the mental health care that is so vital to one's complete wellbeing and wished my cousin had received it before his passing. Fortunately, we live in an age where we can choose to speak out on topics that have been silenced for decades, or even just ignored. We also have the platforms to do so, to make our voices be heard even more widespread, if not heard in person.

It is a difficult time to be a BIPOC or even POC in the divisive time we are living in. But, with the proper mental health care, it can make it just a bit easier for us to process things in our own lives and eventually, in the public lives.

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