New fund will support ‘mental health liberation’ and initiatives to reimagine care systems that celebrate all healing journeys
Healthline Media has expanded its ongoing partnership with the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM) by becoming the premier partner in BEAM’s Black Wellness Innovation Fund with a $100,000 contribution.
In honor of BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month — which BEAM has reframed as “Mental Health Liberation Month” — BEAM is seeking to expand the Black Wellness Innovation Fund to support underserved Black communities in the United States.
In addition to its contribution, Healthline Media is working with BEAM on a series of innovative Black-led wellness programs through the Black Wellness Innovation Fund. These programs are designed to sustainably address unmet mental healthcare needs within Black communities and build a national movement dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of marginalized communities.
“Health equity is a top priority for Healthline Media, which is why we are committed to investing in mental health in the Black community,” said Faye McCray, editor-in-chief of Psych Central, a Healthline Media brand. “We are honored to continue our close work with BEAM to improve mental health literacy and to make education and tools available to every member of our community.”
Specifically, Healthline Media and BEAM are working on the following four programs:
- Black Trans Women’s Wellness & Mental Health Grants: Black trans women currently experience the highest levels of violence and distress of any group and correspondingly high levels of anxiety, depression and suicidality. This project will award grants to Black trans women-led projects that support Black trans women’s mental health.
- Maternal Mental Health: Birthworkers, Doulas and Healing: Black people in the U.S. are 2.5 times more likely than white people to die in childbirth, and twice as likely to experience postpartum depression, according to Medical News Today. This project will support Black families in the South with birth doulas and evaluate the impact on their mental health and care.
- Expanding Community Care: Group Therapy Project: This project attempts to expand access to mental healthcare by incentivizing Black therapists to do bi-weekly group sessions.
- Elder Black Gay Men, HIV & Healing: Many interventions focus on young Black gay men or white gay men. For this project, BEAM will award mini grants to individual organizations to hold mental health and wellness themed events for Black gay men living with HIV who are 45+.
“BEAM believes that our experiences as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and API individuals cannot be lumped together in a way that still centers whiteness and erases our unique experiences and needs,” said Yolo Akili Robinson, Founder and Executive Director of BEAM. “We’re focused on liberating our communities from systems that penalize care and building new care systems that celebrate healing journeys and honor neurodiversity.”
Black communities in the U.S. lack adequate mental health resources
Statistics continue to show that psychological distress in Black communities across the U.S. is high — and rising. According to BEAM:
- More than half of Black young adults ages 18-25 (58%) and a full half of adults ages 26-49 with serious mental illness do not receive treatment.
- The COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic rise in clinically significant symptoms of depression and anxiety, particularly in communities of color.
- Half of the counties in the U.S. have no practicing psychiatrists, more than a third (37%) have no psychologists, and two-thirds (67%) have no psychiatric nurse practitioners.
- Only 4% of American psychologists are Black. This means that Black people are at a significant disadvantage and can feel like outsiders from the start when they seek therapists who share their racial or cultural identity.