Cultivating a healthy mind is essential for our entire well-being. Psychologist and theologian Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes joins us For the Love of Black Lives series to help us unpack how the anxiety and trauma carried through generations of Black Americans affects the flourishing of communities of every stripe (and newsflash: the trauma we experience can be passed down through four generations after us). For so long, Black women have been praised as “strong,” and they absolutely are. But when we only view Black women as unshakeable “superwomen,” we take away their right to vulnerability, their right to care for themselves, and their right to be cared for by someone else. And instead, we hand them a standard that’s impossible to achieve—which, as anyone knows who’s tried to achieve something that can’t be attained, causes shame and depression. Dr. Chanequa describes the effects of living in a community where anxiety is normal for everyone. As she says, “I was never taught to think of what I had as anxiety, even though now I realize, on both sides of my family, there’s anxiety.” She explains why it’s vital for Black women and men to have access to Black mental healthcare providers, so clients can feel truly seen and heard, and receive the true care they need. And above all, Dr. Chanequa reminds us that every Black woman, child, and man is worthy of self-care. They are worthy to notice and treat their pain and anxiety, so they can flourish in wholeness.
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