Black mental health matters: Culturally relevant resources are available in King County

This article was originally published on Public Health’s Zero Youth Detention Blog. Zero Youth Detention (ZYD) is a shared effort and vision to reduce the use of secure detention for youth here in King County and launch the county on the journey to eliminate it.

The direct effects of increased exposure to violence, police brutality, and systemic racism placed on the Black Community, and a pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color here in King County, continues to be a concern for Black Children and Families.

Depression, stress and anxiety impacts adults and children in the Black Community in many ways. Inherited and experienced racial trauma and systemic inequities in healthcare limits an individual’s quality of life and life expectancy.

It is particularly important for parents and caregivers to be mindful of the emotional and mental well-being of children and young adults during this time. Their feelings are real and justified. They need and deserve support.

Acknowledge the systemic racial trauma, stress, anxiety, pain, frustration, and hurt children and young adults are experiencing. Understand how that impacts their emotional state, their thinking, their subsequent actions, their interactions, and the ability to have healthy relationships. Help them find healthy ways to release their pain so they can heal, grow, and free their hearts and minds.

Culturally relevant help is available locally and online. Partners across King County have worked to develop a list of emotional well-being resources below, including events, spaces for community and healing, online resources, and culturally relevant mental health professionals.

Local spaces for community, connection, and healing:

Online resources for mental health and self-care:

Local mental health professionals:

Even with culturally relevant services and support it may take time to find what works for you or your child(ren). Nevertheless, with research and the resources provided, you can get the care that is needed.

Starting therapy with someone new may feel extremely awkward at first for children and their families. Be patient with yourself and your child. It is okay to ask the therapists as many questions as you or your child needs to feel comfortable and supported. If you are not sure what questions are important to ask when looking for a good mental health professional, do not worry. This list will help you start to think about what is important to you and what you should ask.

If you find a therapist you think is a great match, but you don’t have insurance or they don’t take your insurance, ask about what financial options are available. Some therapists offer income-based or sliding scales to help with cost. Here are a few tips for help making therapy accessible and affordable. Also, if you or your child(ren) are currently uninsured or under-insured, Public Health’s Community Health Access Program (CHAP) navigators can help connect you to free or low-cost health insurance options.

  • Washington Counselors of Color Network website specifically lists therapists of color here in King County and Washington state. Contact your insurance company to confirm eligibility of providers.
  • National Association of Mental Illness provides resources and free support groups for individuals and families affected by mental illness. Local chapters, including Seattle, provide groups specifically designed for Black and Indigenous participants.

If you are in crisis, or know someone who is, please seek immediate support. Reach out now. Free resources are available 24/7. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) or send a message to the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741).

Originally published on November 4, 2020.